Lollypop’s identity is Revamped. We had a new outlook, new logo and new website!! New team members too.. So much so that our current office did not have enough room for us to work. They say ‘Necessity is the mother of Invention’.
Although for us it was not really the same, our necessity simply needed a newer, bigger office!! Here we all agreed especially me and our new Sales Manager Surya as we were the ones working without a workstation since the team could not spare any more space. We decided to get a new space.
So why write this article? Because I want to share our experience and costs with others who are sailing in the same start up boat like us. To give them an idea of what are the hurdles and costs involved in making a new office.
This is when Project Lollypop New Office officially took shape… Things that mattered were jotted down
Once we finalised on the criteria for the new office, we started looking. Hunting here, hunting there and everywhere. And finally we got to know that just about 1 km from our existing office was a bare 2300 sq ft commercial space ready to be let out. It looked perfect to us and we were getting excited until the expected rent was quoted to us. But we did not loose hope. You see Gujaratis are pretty good at negotiating, I have heard. Be it for a kilogram of vegetables or a house or a rental deal.. you name it and they can bring down the numbers. And me being a Gujju by birth, the art of negotiation is like an inborn talent for me. And before we knew it, the deal was cracked and we had convinced the landlord at a rate we wanted, that is Rs. 60,000 pm.
Now that we have the space, we needed someone to do it up for us…
Welcoming and introducing our Interior Designer Kavita Sastry. So how did we get introduced to this lady with a good 15 years of experience in the world of interiors and architecture. It’s very simple. People always make fun of how girls and their girly gossips and chats are not so amusing!! But hey, little did one know that these things can lead to building a great rapport and getting to know people from different walks of life. And that is what led me to Kavita. She is my gym and aerobics buddy.. Yeah we are always been told off that Do we really go to work out? Or do we go to gossip it out? Either way it worked out for me for sure!!
Now that the place was decided and the rent fixed, the next thing was to start the interiors.
Our first meeting with Kavita was a brainstorming session about our needs. Listing down how many workstations and what kind of cabins were required:
This time we also thought of having recreation areas for our team. Drawings were sketched, edited, re-edited and finally we had a design ready for the new studio.
Contractors, electricians, painters, the A/c fellows, everyone came under one roof to see the scope of work and give quotations. We had contractors coming through references, through Kavita and so on. And we finally decided to go with the one coming through our references.
In 45 days we had to get everything ready and move in. Those 45 days were the busiest days in the life of Lollypop. Each one of us had some work allocated and each of us had a contribution to make. If I had to split the work into phases, there were 3 phases:
Phase I – Gypsum Partitions is what we opted for. The reason – because Gyp board is light, durable and well within the budget we had. For the doors and rooms we decided to go for toughened glass, although it is slightly on the expensive side because we thought it would look fantastic. Our contractor did do a decent job in getting the partition, but delayed while setting the glasses. It was getting a little frustrating to follow up with the contractor Naresh everyday and it did get to a point where we were fed up with him but we somehow endured it. But as they say, “Patience Bears Fruits” After all this, the work was finally done. The total amount that we finally paid Naresh for gyp partitions and toughened glass was Rs 2,00,000.
And for the chairs and workstations, we wanted our brand colours to be evident and strongly emanate the playful seriousness that Lollypop stands for. Workstations had to be simple which would enable the wires to be hidden in them. We did not want the wires to be seen around the stations. Benjamin was our fellow for the chairs and stations, again from reference. These were thankfully taken care of and delivered on time. When you bring in people through reference, there are a few advantages that come from it. Firstly, you know it would be a reliable source and secondly and most importantly, costs can be negotiated. So we got a total of 16 chairs and 4 workstations and the cost for that was Rs. 1,38,000.
Phase II – Again a friend, Karthik who was Anil’s childhood friend was without a doubt our choice for the remaining furniture as we knew he would give us a quotation which would fit our budget.
Kavita and us did have a slight difference of opinion while the design of the dining area was taking shape, she gave an idea of a restaurant set up. While the idea was good, there were 2 things that we were not happy about : Firstly,would we be able to use it like a restaurant as we were clearly a design studio and not an eating joint. Secondly the costs went really high with that design. We had gone back and forth with this and finally we decided to go ahead with the American Style canteen benches in simple Pine wood. This turned out to be cost effective and definitely looked great. To complement this, the wall(partition) behind the bench was made into a black board for ideas and figments of our imagination to flow on it. Believe me when the whole thing was done, it looked amazing and all were very ecstatic about it.
So here is what Karthik provided us:
The total cost of this came upto Rs. 2,00,000
This time round everything came on time and the design of the studio was starting to take shape. All was falling in place. However we did feel it was looking very clinical and white. But Kavita was pretty confident that it will all look good once the whole office is set. So we kept faith in her confidence and got prepared for Phase III.
Kudos to Rajesh, our Executive admin who was always on top to make sure everything went as planned. He made the new office almost like his second home and even stayed back a few instances to get the work done. Moving in on time would not have been possible without the high-spirited effort of Rajesh!! Three Cheers to him!!
Phase III – Now it was time for the Big Move. But before we did this, we had to take care of a few smaller things which could easily be missed.
Checklisted items included:
Box packing was something that was handled by the experienced… The ladies of our office with their homely skills…
We have iMacs which were the most fragile things that needed the most care while handling. The idea was very clear “Each one carry one” So we packed up and moved. It took 2 XUV’s and 2 other cars and 3 two wheelers doing a couple of rounds to and fro to complete the move. This obviously did not include the tables and chairs which were had to be taken from the old office as we did not find a truck that day, the only one we found was way out of our budget. This was one of the longest Fridays in Lollypop. We were all tired. And we knew we all deserved a drink after all that hard work. So Friday nights became Drink Nights with some Pizza’s too..
And this was it!! Sunday, we inaugurated the new place and Monday we were ready to begin a new beginning.
Now here is how the studio looks. And the total costs I have broken down for easy reference.
Partitions and Glass – Rs. 2,00,000
Workstations and Chairs- Rs. 1,38,000
Pantry & Dining/ Furniture – Rs. 2,00,000
Lights- Rs. 40,000
Painting- Rs. 50,000
Miscellaneous- Rs. 1,00,000
This is how we did it! Thanks to Team Lollypop for their support and humor during the ‘Movin In’ process. And also for changing their job profile from designers to packers and movers as when needed. An experience to be remembered in the life of Lollypop.