For Shisir Jena, an SCMS Cochin alumnus of the batch of 2008, the year 2013 started with a bang. On the 1st of January, he started his ambitious venture, Art Godaam. According to Shisir, it stemmed from his love for arts and craft, and the need to find a viable market place for talented artists all over the country. More over being born in a family full of artists and being trained in Pattachitra (traditional paintings of Orissa) from Guru Kalamani Rabindranath Sahoo, a well know Pattachitra artist of Odisha, Shisir could not say “no” to his heart calling. Clearly, here is a business venture that has its heart in the right place and it has taken great strides already in the short time since its inception.
Talking about the start-up, Shisir says, “I was always interested in arts and craft. My brother and I would keep collecting these items for our home and also keep designing and recreating things. I would come across many artists who would have fantastic creations, but didn’t have the right market place for them. Hence I decided to create a market place to help promote and develop art.” And that’s how Art Godaam, with its catchy name, was formed. “Our house literally looked like a godaam with everything we had collected, so we chose the name for our venture,” he explains with a chuckle.
Although the life of an entrepreneur seems to have come naturally to Shisir, he claims that it was never on the agenda. After finishing his studies at SCMS Cochin, he bagged a campus placement with the reputed ICICI Prudential Life Insurance in Mumbai. But within a year, he realized that it wasn’t his true calling. Over time, Shisir moved back home to Bhubaneshwar, where he started a joint venture; wealth index financial services. Only now does he believe that he has finally found his goal with Art Godaam.
Talking about his journey as an entrepreneur, today Shisir says philosophically, “Things have to take their own course. I always believed in working at the grass-root level, and understanding the process associated with every aspect of the business before taking the plunge.”
The smart and rooted attitude seems to have worked for Shisir as he finds himself on stable ground with his company today. However, he is quick to point out that the platform for him was laid out at SCMS Cochin. “A professional course like the PGDM gives you all the strength you need to pursue your dreams. Once you are equipped with the knowledge and technology, you can execute your ideas to perfection,” he elaborates.
Shisir then rattles off the major take-aways from his time at SCMS that have shaped him today: “Discipline, time management, the behavioural aspect of interacting with people, aiming and achieving, and the importance of hard work and persistence in order to excel.” Shisir’s entrepreneurial skills were honed and built around these qualities, and that has resulted in a venture like Art Godaam.
Talking about his brain-child, this CSAC State Award winner-entrepreneur come artist says, “We are working with various artists in Odisha to develop some amazing products. ‘Use of art in our daily life’ is our motto and we create products from home decor to lifestyle accessories. We aim to sell products in exhibitions and online, promoting amongst people the habit of using hand-made products.” Art Godaam also conducts workshops in schools, colleges and private halls to promote traditional art forms that are almost getting extinct today. “The idea is to help craftspeople find their identity through these workshops,” says Shisir.
While it’s easy to find professionals who settle down in their cushy jobs, it’s rare to find job makers like Shisir who make a difference to the lives of many. But the man himself plays it down by saying, “I am just a part of the cycle.” He also acknowledges the importance of ethical, community-oriented, leadership programmes at SCMS when he says, “They gave me the confidence to become an entrepreneur. The faculty, learning culture and different initiatives started by SCMS have all contributed to what I am doing today.” And what he is doing today is definitely noteworthy and should make his institute proud.