Thursday, December 23, 2010

Candle Stall at Sandoz

Hello everyone,

Yesterday (23rd Dec) was the last of the corporate stalls we had planned. The days prior to the stall, the ladies had worked entire day to make two cartons of wonderful candles to be sold and our volunteers had meticulously packed them. 

On the day of the stall, Rupesh, Tamanna, Priyanka, Binjal and I met in the centre and were dropped to Sandoz by our senior volunteer's, Mrs. Chakraborty's, car. We were again allocated space near the canteen area to get maximum crowd. We all got busy setting up the stall anticipating huge rush around the lunch area. Tamanna made a wonderful poster which she colored by sketch pens which got everyone’s attention. All the employees smiled at us as we prodded them to come to the stall but preferred to eat their lunch before they see the candles. We managed to get some people to see the candles first and our first customer itself bought candles worth Rs.160.:)

Just as everyone finished their lunches, there was a continuous stream of people around the stall. But unlike in Reliance, we found it very easy to convince people here about the cause and most of those who visited the counter bought candles.  We were soon getting much interest by the employees and some even were interested to volunteer for us. The next two hours flew by and we were all on our feet, talking, convincing and handling the queries. 

Sandoz management had informed us that after the lunch time, there will hardly be any one present in the canteen and soon enough by 3, we had the entire canteen to ourselves. We thought we will wait till 4 since we had told few ladies that we will be here till 4:30 and many had selected the candles and offered to pay later since they didn’t have cash then. We all needed a break and so were sat and relaxed for a while. The cash register showed Rs. 5710 till then and even though it was a huge amount collected in just 2 hours, I was hoping to go with more than Rs.6000. And soon the ladies who had promised to come back, arrived and brought friends along. They brought many candles and we were rejoicing for their return. The cash register at the end of the day was whopping Rs.6560!! Three cheers for the amazing employees of Sandoz who listened and wanted to support the cause.
We returned with lighter boxes and bigger smiles from this stall.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Candle Stall at Reliance

Hello everyone,

Today was the second stall for the candles at Reliance communications, Koparkhairne. With a good response for our previous stall all of us ( Rupesh, Tamanna, Paraag, Kailash and I) got ready for a busy day . But unlike the Patni stall where they was a continous inflow of people, we were disappointed in Reliance since there was hardly any interest shown by the handful people we managed to stop near the stall.

We thought that today is going to be a slow day as there was still no one till 12:30 or so...but we were informed by the manager of the canteen that around 3000-4000 employees come to the canteen on an average day. Soon around 1:00 there were hordes of people coming in the canteen and many of them looked at the stall but no one stopped and bought any, some of them promised that they will buy while coming back after lunch. Some of them did. Most of them didn't. By this time, we were definitely worried. However there was a group who wanted candles and soon many. Finally there were so many that we had our hands full. Again the flowers sold like hot cakes. Even the mohenjadaro candle was well received. Tamanna was pushing for the Shell candle (rs.150) "her personal favorite" and "tuti fruity one". Rupesh was speaking to one gentleman and by talking and convincing he managed to get him by 400 worth of candles and he left with a thank you to us. We sold many high priced items which helped us bring ourselves back on track. Of course with some help from Tamanna's cousin who bought many candles (read expensive ones) and brought his friends along who bought many more. 

So by then, we were again feeling good and to our surprise, a rough estimate brought us near Rs.5000 mark which had dismissed in the morning. The post tea session was also very good for us and we ended by making around Rs.6490 which was even more than the Patni Stall. Surprising and Satisfying day again for us.

We met really diverse kind of people from our stalls, some who are cynical, some indifferent. But those who really listen and understand what we are doing and aim to do, are impressed and want to help us. There were girls who were managing the stores in the canteen who saw us and wanted to help us on Sundays, the only day they have off. Truly amazing what we can do if all of us have the will.

Thanks for reading,
Swagata.

Do tell me if i need to shorten my reports ;)

Candle Stall at Reliance

Hello everyone,

Today was the second stall for the candles at Reliance communications, Koparkhairne. With a good response for our previous stall all of us ( Rupesh, Tamanna, Paraag, Kailash and I) got ready for a busy day . But unlike the Patni stall where they was a continous inflow of people, we were disappointed in Reliance since there was hardly any interest shown by the handful people we managed to stop near the stall.

We thought that today is going to be a slow day as there was still no one till 12:30 or so...but we were informed by the manager of the canteen that around 3000-4000 employees come to the canteen on an average day. Soon around 1:00 there were hordes of people coming in the canteen and many of them looked at the stall but no one stopped and bought any, some of them promised that they will buy while coming back after lunch. Some of them did. Most of them didn't. By this time, we were definitely worried. However there was a group who wanted candles and soon many. Finally there were so many that we had our hands full. Again the flowers sold like hot cakes. Even the mohenjadaro candle was well received. Tamanna was pushing for the Shell candle (rs.150) "her personal favorite" and "tuti fruity one". Rupesh was speaking to one gentleman and by talking and convincing he managed to get him by 400 worth of candles and he left with a thank you to us. We sold many high priced items which helped us bring ourselves back on track. Of course with some help from Tamanna's cousin who bought many candles (read expensive ones) and brought his friends along who bought many more. 

So by then, we were again feeling good and to our surprise, a rough estimate brought us near Rs.5000 mark which had dismissed in the morning. The post tea session was also very good for us and we ended by making around Rs.6490 which was even more than the Patni Stall. Surprising and Satisfying day again for us.

We met really diverse kind of people from our stalls, some who are cynical, some indifferent. But those who really listen and understand what we are doing and aim to do, are impressed and want to help us. There were girls who were managing the stores in the canteen who saw us and wanted to help us on Sundays, the only day they have off. Truly amazing what we can do if all of us have the will.

Thanks for reading,
Swagata.

Do tell me if i need to shorten my reports ;)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Candle Stall at Patni conducted on 17th Dec 2010

As part of the initiative to empower women, Lead had trained the community women in making candles and we had planned to have stalls at various corporates to sell these. The money collected will be given to the ladies so that they can take care of their families in a better way.

Our interns from SIES Paraag and Jo had been closely working on this project, buying the materials and packing all the candles. The pricing had also done by them.

17th December:
I met Priyanka and Binjal in the centre and were soon joined by Paraag. Karta madam had brought her neighbour along who was kind enough to give us a ride till Patni. We reached Patni by 10. After completing the formalities of the entry we reached the section where we were given the stall.
The stall was not at the location, it was last year ie near the canteen. In fact it was in the ground floor near the parking and we feared no one we would venture this far. Fortunately Rupesh had come by 11 and convinced the Patni people to relocate us to the position we were in, last year.

Once there, we set up the tables once again and arranged the candles. We just hoped we will not mix up the prices. Soon Patni employees were coming to our stall and all of us ( Rupesh, Paraag, Jo, Priyanka, Binjal and I ) got to work. We explained them about the NGO, about who made the candles and the intention behind it.

As priyanka had expected (she had earlier managed two stalls for LEAD) there was lot of crowd between 12-2 and we were continuously working. Everyone was impressed seeing that the candles were scented, the flower candles were a huge success and the rose ones got over within 2 hours. Since our stall was on a Friday, the employees were in a relaxed mood and the crowd near our stall was constant.

Around 2:30 when we took a lunch break, we were pretty happy with how things were going, plenty of people had shown interest in our cause, registered, many more had appreciated our work and brought candles to show their support. The sale picked up once again around the tea break and we realized that all the 25 rupees candles are almost sold out and we need to get the bigger ones going. Soon we put the bigger ones in the front and too our surprise Rs. 150 worth candle was bought in the next five minutes. :) Many other bigger candles were bought and we were pretty excited.

Rupesh and I waited till 6:30 as we knew many bought the candles even while leaving and rightly so, there were people who just picked up the candles and paid the money. We earned more than Rs. 800 in the last hours itself. Finally when the employees were leaving, we decided to pack up and leave.

Total earnings at the end of the day - Rs. 6100 :D and satisfaction!!

Observations from the stall:
The flower candles are super hit and we need more of these.
People like choices so give them as many colors as possible.
Women are the real customers, they see, ask questions, buy many varieties. Men don't buy that much. Men buy faster, women linger, take time choosing the colors. (we already knew these.)
We need to gauge the interest of the customer about the cause, if they are more interested in the candles, then just let them buy. if they show interest tell them more about lead and the activities.
We need to keep a mix of expensive and non expensive candles in the front.
Let those interested in the cause note down their contact details so that we call them even if they forget ;)
In short, it was a lovely experience for me personally to manage the stalls. Another skill which LEAD taught me :)

Swagata