“When you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you”
— The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.
Dreams are made to be followed and life is meant to be lived. Young Santiago had set off with dreams in his eyes to living his life to the fullest and his encounter with an Alchemist gave him a new meaning of life. Quite likely from the pages of the book, Jeet De, a young man from Coochbehar, West-Bengal when voyaged midst the vastness, came across faces, not one but many who redirected his life graph towards new directions and made him a successful entrepreneur of today who solely believes in teamwork. His brainchild Crudoimage is a unique business concept dealing with refurbished cameras, lenses, and more is running successfully since 2015. Come let’s see how a photographer turned into an independent entrepreneur.
“Jodi tor daak shune keu naa ashe tobe akla cholo re”— If no one responds to your call, then go your way alone.
The year 2015, August Jeet was 19 then. The young photographer had thoughts gushing in his mind, concepts peeping through, the concept of incorporating photography in the business. He grew up in a family that nurtured business. He wanted to sail his ship, wanted to be the master of his sea.
But, little did he know that the furious waves might drown his sail. So like every other Bengali household, his father wanted to keep him safe from the grudges of the sea and keep Jeet in the lands instead, wanted him to secure a government job, and settle down… But, the mind of the sailor was dormant, not dead.
Jeet finally came to Kolkata to pursue graduation in fishery science at Ashutosh College. He dreamt to secure a government job and settle down. But unknowingly he traversed a step close to the sea.
The photographer started exploring Kolkata, the vintage metropolitan more and more, and learned about the “second hand” market, which did not exist in Coochbehar. He sold his old camera and add additional funds from his Didi and her husband to buy a second-hand high-end DSLR. The photographer climbed another stair. He used the camera without hassle for a year or so.
While mixing chemicals in the lab, the concepts of photography and business mixed and gave birth to his brainchild Crudoimage. He intended to create a market using refurbished products, where one can buy or rent quality second-hand products at a comparatively low price, with features like new cameras like 1-year warranty and maintenance, 3 Days return policy.
Thus, Crudoimage was formed with the motto of assisting the photographer community with equipment that was less accessible in non-metropolitan cities.
“Jodi keu kotha na koi, jodi sobai thake mukh firaye sobai koreb hoi, tobe poran khule o tui mukh fute tor moner kotha ekla bolo re” — If no one speaks to you, if everyone turns away and if everyone fears, then with an open heart without hesitation, speak your mind alone.
A year passed Crudoimage was a newborn toddler then. It started in Coochbehar primarily. Jeet came across his well-wisher Apratim Saha, who made him understand the basics of business. He came across Santa Bhattacharya who lent him capital for business.
His childhood friends, his school juniors of Jenkins School, the photographer community of Coochbehar, Sutirtha Basu, and his college buddies stood beside him firmly when the storms passed by. They believed in Jeet, they believed in his idea. His friends, juniors, and wellwishers became pillars of his establishment. Crudoimage was growing.
But, what about Jeet’s family? No, they were scared. When a little bird tries to fly, the parent birds try to curl him up, what if a strong gust of wind hurt the little one! But the bird needs to fly and the parents need to trust instincts. His parents were hesitant too. But they had to set him free after a free elf cannot be sabotaged. The phase of denial and struggle began.
The business was gradually growing with the support and faith of the near and dear ones of Jeet. Soon the business started penetrating the market of Kolkata. The city was new to Jeet. Initially creating a market of a lesser-known concept was difficult. He had Sutirtha Basu’s guidance, his friends, had his college juniors and seniors by his side.
His business soon got a bunch of heads who became his pilot customer base in Kolkata. His business terms and ethics soon made them a loyal customer base. Like guardian angel they became his non-paid business promoters in Kolkata. In no time the business grew more and more. People talked about refurbished products. Some were hesitant too. Are “second hand” products worthy of investment? Making them buy was a revolutionary step indeed. High-end photographers of Kolkata started to take the lenses for rent. The business was indeed growing!
“Jodi gohon pothe jabar kale keu fire naa chai, tobe pother k ata o tui rokto makha chorontole ekla dolo re”— If everyone turns their back on you when you choose an unpredictable path, then with blood-soaked feet, you stride the thorns of your path alone.
In the year 2018, the growth curve of Crudoimage was linear and the life curve of Jeet was ascertained. Jeet lost his father. There was a phase when Jeet wanted to quit from Crudoimage, But his cousin Nishant Sarkar played a major role to make him understand the potentiality of Crudoimage, how it can be a scalable and profitable business model in the near future.
While he was left alone to ponder how to hold on with life, his father’s last few words rang in his head constantly – “invest in yourself”.
Jeet soon evaluated the meaning of the phrase- self-cultivation, the potion to rejuvenate his business.
June 2018, he joined the six months course on Leadership funnel by Vivek Bindra. The course turned his business outlook upside down. The former self-centric business model was renovated into a team-centric business model.
Jeet believes in education. Learning to him has no hard and fast boundaries. Apart from the books, theories, and lab works, Jeet learned from every little experience that came in his way. To him, degrees were secondary, quality education is more important.
Jeet concentrated on building a quality team. During that period Bijoy Roy and Jeet’s childhood friends helped him tremendously to set up the office in Kolkata. Aditya, Sourav, Dipesh, and Bishal took the responsibility of the backend and frontend operations respectively.
With a backup of his quality team and Sayak Roy, he took a step ahead and tossed his luck successfully to tie hands with Mr. Sanjay Kathuria, one of the finest financial advisors in India.Mr.Sanjay Kathuria guided Jeet vividly on the financial aspects of the company. Soon Crudoimage earned the suffix of a private limited company on 11th October 2019. Aditya Nag and Jeet become the directors of the company. The growth becomes exponential.
In the year 2020, when the whole world is engulfed by toxic Coronavirus, Crudoimage is not sitting idle. Crudoimage is working on its expansion into two wings – Crudoimage franchise Model and Crudoimage Digital. While the crudoimage franchise model will expand the company into a multi-tier model, Crudoimage Digital is focusing on the digital aspect of the business. In the post corona aspect when social distancing will be more, online business platforms in the form of websites and mobile apps will facilitate the business model.
Deepashree Chattoraj deals with Crudoimage Digital and is a new team member of Crudoimage.
Jeet and his team are driven by a dynamic spirit. They run, walk, fall down and stand up again, but they never stop. When young blood like Jeet is crushed under IT cells, when every night they kill their dreams with their own hands to be at pace in the rat race, men like Jeet inspire them to rethink and relive their dreams.
Jeet acknowledges the contribution that everyone left in his life to mould him into what he is. They are the true alchemists in his life who turned extraordinarily ordinary metal into gold. Jeet truly believes that if the people didn’t help him from the nascent stage of the Journey, he can’t set up the business and so he is thankful to everyone who helped him.