Updated: Jun 28
It was the beginning of 2020. The government had announced a lockdown due to the COVID outbreak and people had to act out of its repercussions.
One of them was a mutual friend of mine who had to travel to his hometown, leaving his rented house and life in Bangalore, behind.
A few months later, he called stating that he’s been asked to vacate his rented house by the owner and we’ll have to shift all his stuff to our place temporarily.
The next moment, I found myself in his apartment, packing all the important things when I suddenly came across a painting that literally stole a piece of my heart.
But then, my friend said something which shattered the same piece into further smaller pieces — “He doesn’t want that painting and wants us to throw it”.
I was devastated but the art lover inside me encouraged me to pull myself together and we together decided to keep the painting.
I still can’t believe my friend’s friend wanted to get rid of it due to space issues.
However, I was happy to have gotten a chance to keep the painting to myself but you know something? There are people out there who aren’t that lucky.
There are avid art lovers who are value-conscious buyers but either find art really expensive or don’t know where to buy it from.
Pinaki Gupta was one among such art lovers. As a joyful soul who enjoys playing tennis, cooking and travelling, Pinaki also had a strong inclination towards art.
“There was a painting I once liked and had to not only break the bank to acquire it but also wait for two years. The buying process also wasn’t very comforting.”
This experience made Pinaki realise that like him, there were many buyers in India who were either first-time buyers or avid art lovers who faced similar issues.
However, Pinaki didn’t act on this realisation until 2019 as just like most, he too was a part of the corporate world.
Brewing Ideas Over Team Lunch
After completing school in Rourkela and MBA from XIM Bhubaneswar, Pinaki began to climb on the corporate ladder.
He began his career with Nagarjuna Fertilizers in Hyderabad. Later, he moved to TIS, Mumbai where he worked for 2 decades and this is where good things were waiting for him.
Yes, at TIS Mumbai, Pinaki met Sachin Torne and had no idea that Sachin would go on to be the missing piece in his puzzle of making art affordable, as his future Co-Founder.
During their Tata days, Sachin and Pinaki one day went out for lunch at a fancy restaurant with lovely décor. As they enjoy both their meal and the décor, they glanced at a painting.
Surprisingly that painting was digital art.
“We felt with the kind of décor the place had, a real handmade painting was worthy to be on the wall.”
This got both of them thinking. As Sachin already knew about Pinaki’s experience of buying his first piece of art everything started to make sense.
They drove back to their office with the same thought in mind — Make art affordable. After this incident, Pinaki’s entrepreneurial rocket was ready to launch, with his wife being major support.
Standing true to every ounce of the saying that behind every successful man, there stands a woman, Pinaki’s wife who’s a banker, stepped up to handle finances while he pursues his dreams.
“My wife’s support gave wings to my dreams and ideas and I started Pisarto.”
With colleagues, Sachin Torne and Kaushal Thakkar coming on board to be part of the founding team, Pinaki was all set to launch Pisarto in 2019.
Pisarto - Pieces of ART Online
Confession time. I enjoy shopping for home décor more than clothing, makeup and accessories.
Call it a part of adulting or whatsoever, I can’t explain the happiness and relaxation I find in collecting aesthetic art and home décor and when I went through Pisarto’s website, I found myself reliving the same kind of feeling.
Creating a beautiful home involves careful consideration of various elements such as architecture, interior design, furniture, decor, and even the intangible essence of ambience and energy and Pisarto takes care of this.
As a home décor and lifestyle brand, it fulfils a common aspiration that every individual or family holds in their hearts: to have a home that radiates beauty, comfort, and personal expression.
It makes this possible by creating a digital ecosystem of artists and promoting artistically designed art, home decor, home utilities and lifestyle products.
“We are a marketplace and aim to popularize local art by giving a larger platform to selected yet talented artists and entrepreneurs to showcase their products.”
What makes Pisarto unique is the fact that its products are curated not only from a quality perspective but also in terms of originality and creativity.
Their catalogue isn’t a mere home decoration product but instead a lifestyle enhancer.
Some of their products range across categories like Home, Wall and Table Décor, Lighting, Tableware, Kitchen and Dining, Home Utilities and Storage, Furnishings and even Fashion accessories.
Currently, Pisarto has more than 3500 SKUs and targets to have 5000 SKUs by the end of the next quarter.
Born Out of Online Art Gallery
Speaking of initial days, Pinaki told me that Pisarto came to life in mid-2019 as an online art gallery, focussing on value-conscious art lovers.
Pinaki started Pisarto with a determination to address the needs of value-conscious consumers by making an aspirational category like painting, accessible.
“Most were first-time buyers, who always felt that paintings were very expensive and didn’t know where to buy them from with assurance.”
By the end of 2021, Pisarto started getting recognized as one of the top 3 online art galleries and with that came crucial customer feedback which helped Pisarto scale.
While customers were happy and satisfied with Pisarto’s experience, they didn’t know what to buy next after a painting.
As one can’t keep buying paintings beyond a point, the Pisarto team thought, “What next?”.
Since Pisarto was already evaluating how to grow, the inputs from customers proved to be a blessing and played a key role in scaling Pisarto.
This is when Pisarto took a decision to venture into the Home Décor segment, which very much aligned with its original vision of democratizing art.
Say Hi to Pisarto.com!
Pisarto launched its Home Décor, Home Utilities, and Lifestyle collection in September 2022, targeting the fast-growing Home Décor segment, which is currently over 30,000 crore, and expected to grow at 4-5% for the next 5 years.
Through its products, Pisarto today bring a blend of uniqueness and artistic nature. Their promise is to
Bring unique art and artistically designed products to the doorstep of art lovers at attractive prices
Encourage entrepreneurship and nurture emerging & established local talent
Motivate the buyers by simplifying the art purchase process
With a small but strong core team, Pisarto continues to turn the above promise into reality with a target to increase the traffic twofold from the current 15k odd visits as well as increase AOV.
However, with anyone with a roof over their head being Pisarto’s target market, Pinaki believes that Metro, Tier 1 and 2 cities will help them achieve the above goal.
Mindset Shift - A Challenge
While Pinaki came across plenty of challenges starting up, he remembers trying to change the mindset of artists and buyers as the most difficult one.
“Artists and painters are mostly comfortable showcasing their work in a physical gallery. Getting them to list their art online took a lot of convincing.”
Pinkai recalls interacting with painters exhibiting at Nehru Centre Art Gallery or Jehangir Art Gallery and selling them the idea of an online gallery and how they would benefit from listing their work.
Now that’s some dedication worth noting! On the customer side, most were first-time buyers while some couldn’t visualize how the paintings would look in their house.
This inspired Pinaki and the team to build an experiential feature of ‘Art on Your Wall’, which helped aesthetes and art collectors visualize the painting in their actual home environment.
Rapid Fire With Pinaki
1. Why the brand name Pisarto? When we were starting, we considered options like “Artmart” and “Pick-a-Art”. Then we settled for Pisarto, which we felt was easy to remember and recollect. Pisarto stood for Pieces of ART Online.
2. Who inspired you to start up? There was no inspiration as such. It was a self-calling and Sachin coming on board gave me the confidence to start Pisarto.
3. Which is your best-selling product? Our current top-selling products are Handmade Paintings, Digital Art, Decorative Wall plates and Serveware. Broadly, that makes it Wall Décor and Kitchen & Dining category.
4. How would you sell it in one sentence? Reimagine your home and life with Art! Our products bring beauty into your living space.
5. What’s your brand’s future vision? To be the first choice for artistic living. The vision is to make art an integral part of our daily life!
6. What’s one message you’d like to give to other entrepreneurs starting up?
One needs to have an idea along with tons of patience and conviction. There will be challenges and setbacks along the way. But you along with a co-founder and a core team believing in the idea can fulfil your dreams.
As someone who came from a middle-class, financially conservative and career risk-averse Bengali family where no one was from a business background, starting a business didn’t come naturally to Pinaki.
However, with a strong belief in his idea, sheer dedication to executing it and the right support, Pinaki made Pisarto what it is today. Quite an inspiring journey, right?