Entrepreneur Rimjhim Ray Helps People Become Locals & Build Homes In New Cities
- IWB Post
- January 23, 2019
Doesn’t everything feel alien when one relocates or moves to an altogether new city? There’s this lack of sense of belonging to the place and oh that craving to get a glimpse of something that you can identify with, be it the food, the people, or anything else. Right?
Well, the couple, Jyotirmay Kanthal and Rimjhim Ray, too, felt the same thing when they shifted to Kolkata in 2014, after having lived in various countries around the world. Each time they built a home but the sense of being at home was lost.
Fueled by their own struggles to connect with the local atmosphere and build a home that incorporated the flavor of the surroundings, they started Frapperz. An online interactive community, Frapperz, is not just an interiors company, it’s about the connection to like-minded people and the local community. It gives you the best of the local experiences around you and matches your choices and preferences to encourage a more intuitive way of settling your new home.
Co-founder Rimjhim Ray, tells me that through Frapperz, she wants to keep alive the human interaction lost due to excessive use of technology in our daily lives.
“We want to encourage real-life experiences and conversations between people. The most crucial thing about settling in a new city is to interact with the people around you. We give that platform where you can connect and build a relationship with the local community,” she explains.
Rimjhim is a Graduate in Computer Science and earned her degree in MBA from the prestigious S.P. Jain Institute. Throughout our conversation, we not only talked about the various aspects of Frapperz and how it works, but we also tried to explore the personal relationships of Rimjhim, with her co-founder husband, Jyotirmay, her home, and her entrepreneurial self.
What problems does Frapperz resolve for the people who have relocated to a new city and are looking for a new home?
One, we help you to get acquainted with the new place which is unknown to you. You can post a query and our system makes suitable recommendations. Also, you can connect to the people nearby you and seek their recommendations.
Second, there are so many home listing choices available on the Internet today. But, what makes us different from them is the fact that we narrow down these list based on your preferences, choices and other factors.
Third, we give you a taste of the local community and provide exposure to the locally produced and famous interior products.
Interesting! So, tell us about the research period and what challenges you faced at the time.
We started planning one and a half years ago, and Frapperz has been operational for four months only. As the platform is very technologically heavy, finding the right technical team has been a huge challenge. And, the second biggest issue has been finding the right investors. Of course, now we have the best technical team we could ever wish for and the best of the people backing our start-up, however, initially, it was very difficult to make people believe in our idea and vision for Frapperz. When you are a start-up, all you have is the personal belief and a clear vision, and that’s the only thing that helps in motivating your team.
How can a professional or a home seeker get registered with Frapperz?
Anyone can become a member of Frapperz community. For a customer, there’s no charge and for professionals, too, the basic subscription, is free of cost. However, there are professionals/organizations which are verified by Frapperz and are given priority on the list. To avail these facilities, professionals/organizations can choose from a variety of subscription packages available on the platform.
So, the most common query which we get is food-related. Like if a South Indian is shifting to Punjab or a person from Punjab is moving to Chennai, then they crave for their local food.
Another common question is about the budget interior options. The main focus of Frapperz is to encourage the local artisans and local interiors providers which are also cost-effective for the clients. So, it’s a win-win for both.
You talked about encouraging local artisans, how can this effort bring back the ‘Indian-ness,’ in the interiors as people are more inclined towards western interiors nowadays?
I think the only issue is that the western products are being marketed well and the same opportunity is not given to the indigenous products. They are not marketed well even when their products are unique and one-of-its-kind. Also, you will see that the west is absolutely crazy about Indian handicrafts and interior products. Being said that, I think western trends have now become monotonous and boring and many people are now choosing local products over them. So, we just need to blend in the local flavors according to our personal style and there you go!
Tell us about your esteemed client base of professionals.
We have 5000+ partners which include elite local businesses, Page 3 celeb influencers, local artists, and individual professionals.
Give few tips for a budget interior upgrade.
First, look local and shop local! Second, if you are keen on buying from luxury interior outlets, watch out for their deals and discounts. Third, DIY interior products are a great way to save up and give a personal touch to your home.
Wow, these are some awesome hacks! Frapperz comes from a belief – “Our homes define what we are.” So, how does your home define you?
*laughs* Our home reflects the nomads in us and the nomadic life we are accustomed to. You’ll find a lot of things from around the world in every corner of our home. The open spaces of our home show that our home is the hangout place for our friends. You’ll also find the local flavor in our place that we always cherish and promote to others, too.
Interesting! Share with us your most cherished space in your childhood home.
I grew up in a small town where we had this big house with a huge garden. I used to take a book with me and sit under a tree in our garden, for hours. Butterflies would come and rest on my arm or shoulders. Ahhh, there was this bond with nature which people living in metro cities don’t have.
I could sense the nostalgia in her voice as she recalled her childhood memories of her home back then.
And, which is your favorite corner now?
Ahhh, there’s this corner on my balcony where I often go and stand and just see the world outside. Sometimes, I take with me my one and a half-year-old daughter, too, and together, we both gaze at the sky or look around.
I have had the most supporting partner. I was expecting when we started the research work and many people advised me that it’s not the right move, that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I think if you have a good support system backing you up, everything is possible. We spend as much time as possible with our daughter and when we are not with her, we know that she’s in good hands. Many times a mother feels guilty for leaving her children at home for her career. I think it’s the people who make her feel guilty. I don’t allow that negativity in my life and stay away from negative people.
I believe in living by my own standards and not what others have set for me!
The people who work with us say that we have brilliant chemistry and I think that comes from being 10 years with each other. At the office, I’m managing the marketing product and technology, and he looks over the operations, finance, and Talent Management. And, we share the responsibilty when it comes to business strategy and planning. We have a lot of understanding and respect for each other and at the same time, we do not hesitate to oppose if we have different opinions.
However, there’s also a flip side to working together as a couple, especially, when you are just a start-up. There’s no switch off when you come home. No matter how hard you try to leave all your work in the office, you’ll end up talking about work for long hours even at home. Of course, like others, we try to manage and take a break from all that work-talk at home, but trust me, it’s very difficult!
I can imagine! Tell us one entrepreneurial lesson that you have learned from your marriage.
Diplomacy! I wasn’t diplomatic at all before my marriage, but, you know, how important it is afterward. *giggles*
P.S. If you have moved to a new city or have changed your home, you can let Frapperz be your guide. You may join Frapperz, here.
First published on Nov 9, 2017.