Alpana Parida: From a ‘suit’ in a designer’s world to a startup founder

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Having worked with brand consultancy DY Works for over a decade, Alpana Parida has now moved on from the corporate to start out her own ‘outfit’. She is the co-founder of a startup called Tiivra Ventures, which specializes in creating designer helmets for two-wheelers.

Parida takes the instance of karate — a martial art form where people earn belts of various colours consistent with the amount of experience. “We want to make that sort of offering for two-wheeler riders in India. India has one among the most important markets for two-wheelers. Yet, nobody is catering to them.”

She says that the majority of riding clubs and bike enthusiasts in India focused heavily on the Royal Enfield sort of bikes. “Four-fifths (or 80%) of all the bikes on India’s roads aren’t Royal Enfield bikes, and most of the sports bike cohort are largely underserved in India.”

According to Parida, there are two sorts of riders — cruisers (who own bikes and dream of riding to Leh), and commuters (who use their bikes to commute to and fro office, college, etc.).

“Another thing we noticed is that when it involves messaging, the pictures are still largely restricted to the old codes of masculinity that see men during a hunter-gatherer light. We aim to speak to men without feminising them, backing positive masculinity.”

Before donning the hat of a startup founder, Parida was MD at DY Works. In 2015, Santosh Desai, the then director and CEO of brand name management consultancy Future Brands, picked up a 30 percent stake in DY Works in his personal capacity.

Parida credits her stint at DY Works for teaching her about the nuances of design, and the way it can play an important role in habit formation and creating an impact during a customer’s mind.

“I moved to Bombay from Bangalore to figure at DY Works, and felt sort of ‘suit’ that had stumbled into the planet of design accidentally,” she confesses. However, she also credits her time at DY Works with teaching her the way to believe a brand comprehensively, from start to end.

“When a client wants to make a brand, they could specialise in what product they need to make and for whom. Other details of branding, visual identity, etc., come later. I learned to believe design as integral to the brand’s identity from the word go,” Parida says, adding that this was helpful to her when it came to making her own brand.

Apart from Desai’s personal stake in DY Works, Future Brands continues to have 60 percent majority stake within the consultancy, and Parida owns 10 percent stake, even after moving out of the agency.

“As women, it’s a continuing struggle, when at your reception, you are feeling guilty for neglecting work and at work, you are feeling guilty for neglecting your family,” she says, claiming that this was her experience over almost 20 years of working.

Parida studied a PGDM in Marketing from IIM Ahmedabad, and her first stint within the world of advertising and marketing were with Rediffusion Y&R in 1985. She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.

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