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Monisha A. Jain


1st Week

Company Identity 

"Immortalising moments. Imprinting on hearts." - The punch line, rather the motivation which gets me all excited to work on our wooden product designing. We decided upon this idea after a lot of brainstorming and rejections. Following that, I came up with a name for our company, "Pinocchio" considering it has a wooden nose ... But my team mate improvised on it and came up with "Pine-o-Chio" which means Beautiful Wood. That's where our story begins.

Time to work   

Being given the role of a group leader, I consider myself responsible to keep my team together, plan our actions and take decisions with everyones consent in it. 

1) Started off by wandering to Daiso and art friends to get some wood and necessary materials for the prototype.
2) Research on type of woods, the properties of each and the one suitable for our prints.
3) Prototype creation begins - My part was to try out a black and white picture on the wood. So I used the Gel medium (which we forgot to buy earlier and its result being an unsuccessful attempt), to paste it on the wood and left it overnight.
4) Meanwhile, Vaya and I listed numerous wooden manufacturers with their details, Nathaniel and I sent out the emails to each of them and Shweta did the final stage of the work in progress -- where we realised our mistakes in scrubbing off the paper off the wood. Thus, the end product is shown below, first- how its supposed to look and second - how it looked.







MY very own Journey......ALL IN ONE

posted 10 Mar 2017, 07:48 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

Till now you all got an little excerpts from my 5-6 month journey.
BUT, today I'm going to proudly narrate my learning experience from the small joys to big failures. 

It all started out when we presented our Business Proposal for Pine-o-Chio, on the 22nd of October 2016. 
This is going to be a long post as i will take this opportunity to share all the things i haven't been able to. This little feelings which cannot be expressed until now. 

Firstly, Words can't describe how happy I am to be able to successfully lead with my team to this stage. The euphoria and relief is priceless. 
There have been numerous sleepless nights and even if I did sleep at 2-3am, the thing to wake up to a bad news or disappointment was torturous. There were a lot of things I had to deal with, like, coping up with the stress along with my team, always having the be positive and never give up spirit and motivate my team members even if i'm on the low side, manage my time effectively and work out ways we all can smoothly run this business (almost there).We won over a lot of trial and turbulences to get to where I am today.

Scrolling through from the first team post to the most recent one, it brought back a sense of nostalgia and gratefulness. Some of the small yet major for me events were as follows:
1) When I had the right and capability to endorse a business (it was a huge moment for me)



2) I created our own Instagram Account and followed and followed up with all customers here. 
 


3) One of the first ready orders I took a picture of with my DSLR.



4) When we decided the add-ons, I went and bought the perfect sized one along with around 40 scraped wooden pieces all at once, which I had gone back and forth for 4-5 days every morning at the Paya Lebar industrial estate.



5) First set of 17 orders stuck and ready to be scrubbed !!!



6) U-Flea and MAAD



7) Comments and Suggestions through our customers..


 























8) Completed first batch of orders and review.


9) Signed an official agreement and put a step into the zone of Social Entrepreneurship.




10) Finally, FANTASTIC FOUR OF PINE-O-CHIO :)


I am proud to say I can now call myself an entrepreneur. But nevertheless, there is still much to learn and I won't stop.
I would like to thank everyone that have helped us during our hard times and everyone who have contributed. Without you, Pine-o-Chio will never be what it is and I will never be who I am today. Thank you so much.

Till Next Time,
MONISHA A. JAIN 
TEAM PINE-O- CHIO

U-flea and MAAD

posted 21 Feb 2017, 21:11 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ   [ updated 28 Feb 2017, 00:40 ]

Finally the 2 events we all had been waiting for. 
2 most important dates : 9th and 10th of FEB 2017.
The 3 days before the 9th of feb, Shweta and I had been up the whole night just making samples, trying to deliver orders on time, organising the structure of processing orders, trying new techniques, etc..

9th FEB
We all had set up the booth at NTU and were delighted by the number of responses we got in 6 hrs. A lot of people showed interest and curiosity at our booth and expressed their likings by giving us their contact details.
It was a good day, we all learned what customers usually lean towards and printed out discount brochures to attract them.

10th FEB
Well, I had stayed over at NTU for the last 3-4 nights and today Nathaniel and I had to go for the MAAD at the Red Dot Design Museum, which was from 5pm-12am.
Shweta and Vaya were responsible for the U-flea booth that day. We had to close early as the samples needed to be used for MAAD as well.
I went home (at Tanah Merah), got all possible decorations in a big suitcase and headed towards MAAD around 2.30pm as it was first come first serve basis. I had to stand in the line for super long and managed to chope a good place for the exhibit.
Nathaniel at the same time was getting all the samples from NTU to MAAD. And once he reached we both set up and started the experience of it.
Shweta managed to join us also at around 8-9pm and then we all packed up and left.

The 2 days were a good experience overall. But few times it was just too much pressure and things to handle at the same time. I usually took the lead in dividing the work and delegating it to all my friends keeping in mind their schedules as well.
But, there used to be some times, when i would feel not acknowledged at all. 
My belief was that however busy we are with the rest of our things we HAVE to manage and spare some time everyday for this business we started together. 

Contd......

posted 12 Feb 2017, 21:37 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

It was almost the last week of the 1st month in 2017.
Time was running too fast.

We had signed up for 2 upcoming events:
1) U-Flea at NTU on the 9th and 10th Feb 2017, 11am - 5pm .
2) MAAD - Market Of Artists and Designers at the Red Dot Design Museum on the 10th Feb, 5pm - 12 am.

So, we needed brilliant samples for all of this, and thats when i took the l;had in deciding the samples with my partners and came to conclusion of speeding up sampling as we were running out of time and wood.
CNY period was the most stressed out period as all our orders were on hold as our inventory stocked out. Then we had to order the wood.

At the very same time, I had to go find places where they could scrap the wood for us as we had to recover the wasted wood used for unsuccessful samples/orders. On the 21st of Jan, my DAD and I went to several wood manufacturing places in Paya Lebar and finally found one Uncle who was willing to get the wood scrapped but only after 6th of Feb. Along with that since we wanted to reduce our cost, I asked the price of ordering the same kind of wood from this guy and he quoted me a price of 230$ (a reduce of 220$ from our original, but with a slight change in wood). 

But due to our mismatch in timing and our unplanned organisations we suffered those 2 weeks. 
Finally deiced to order from the first manufacture itself, Mr. Ang, and we were hell-bent on reducing our cost and thus bargained to the best of out capabilities. Finally the initial quotation was 55 pieced of wood in 450$ and what we finally received was 110 pieces of wood at 700$, which was a good trade off as he was willing to deliver it in the CNY period.

Along this period, we as a team had a lot of misunderstandings and differences which we sorted out by talking to each other and making sure that every one realise it is a real business not a any random course.

Rollercoaster ride of 3 weeks !!!

posted 12 Feb 2017, 21:19 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

The story till now is only until the Photoshoot day .....
After which, a LOT had happened and I, personally have grown as an individual.

1) 3rd week of Jan - Struggles to create our very own website, despite any of us being from an IT field. Nathaniel and I were in charge of the handling of the website. I had very less knowledge about this so i decided to go for a 380$ basic coding workshop at the Techcove for 2 days.
Well, I did learn quite a few things but wasn't such a success when needed to apply it in shopify. Nathaniel worked and learned the coding step by step for shopify and I joined in to execute it a bit more smoothly after he explained to me what he had accomplished.

Those days were the most stressing days as we were under pressure from everyone for a working "website".... 
BUT, we asked one of out dorm buddy friends to help us out with a few things and FINALLY we had our own website and domain as well, www.pineochio.com .....
ONE OF THE MILESTONES WITHOUT A DOUBT.

2) Next, came to precessing of orders, mastering out technique, ideas on how to package our product,etc etc.
We all used the original Gel medium method always but it seemed not so feasible as it takes a long time and there are more chances of it getting over scrubbed. 
We "planned" and divided the work. I always was the IC of printing all the orders and sometimes sticking them as well.
I thought i wasn't good at the scrubbing until one day i replied the gel i had been using was slightly different from the rest (definitely a face palm moment).
Hence, i started scrubbing as well and gained confidence in that as well.

Next, was trying out various other techniques to quicken the process.
Shweta and I had seen atleast 50 videos on the different ways of doing so. Both of us tried finding "freezer paper" and "wax paper" almost everywhere and enquired over phone in so many shops but were always turned down. We got super frustrated that time as we had a order delivery the very next day whoosh had gotten spoiled.
We even tried an Iron-on transfer technique which worked to an extent only.
We somehow managed to deliver the urgent order, but finally we found a special "Mod-podge transfer medium technique", which made our life so much easier with the scrubbing. 
We all were so relieved until we realised that this technique doesn't give out the message of our company. It was just like sticking paper on wood..... 
THUS, back to square 1, to the gel method which was the most beautiful along with being the most tedious one.

Story of this ride will continue in the consequent post :P 

7th JAN - Photoshoot of our samples

posted 17 Jan 2017, 06:24 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

The big day where we had almost 10-12 good samples and it was ready to get clicked for our website.
The story behind this is interesting. Like every week our whole team meets twice and discusses the issues and thing we have to further do. Well, once we had samples in hand we needed a professional photographer for it but we were hesitant to pay since a lot of our capital had been used up. Then finally we decided to ask our friends in those fields.

Luckily the very next day, the first and last person i asked agreed to do it since she was my close friend. So Shweta and Nathaniel came over to my house on the 7th Jan 2017. 

There was scrubbing , spraying , pasting and designing going on at the same time. My friend used her creativity to the best and helped us to take beautiful high quality pictures as we wanted nothing but the BEST. We all spent the whole day doing that and came out with about 250 photos. 
That was definitely a day to remember.
Some of the samples of our photoshoot are as shown below.

  


THAT WAS A WRAP FOR THE DAY !!!!

 

Month Of Dec 2016!!!

posted 1 Jan 2017, 22:53 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

Writing a blog after almost a month !!!!
Definitely a reason for it...

Well, we felt the real struggle at this point in time as a group, due to the 4 of us in 4 different locations abroad and the delivery of our wood.
A heavy payoff was made finally with our desired wood in our hands.
WE GOT THE ORDER in the 2nd week of December.
But, 2 of our international team mates were back in their home countries, so Nathaniel and I took charge over the wood.
I, myself was travelling within a few days of the order and failed to do justice to my samples.

BUT, we all planned our roles and things we had to get together as it is high time we start our PINE-O-CHIO.
So, we edited various pics, and narrowed down our options based on our discussions with our mentors.
I have currently finished 6 sample pictures with 4 of them turning out pretty well.
Will post the pictured of the final samples on the team blog very soon !!
Our website, social sites, picture of samples, the dilemma of keeping a stand for out pieces, etc etc is all on HOLD.
The day we kick start with a zoom is the one we are waiting and planning for.
Soon everything is going to come into action.
But for now, we mainly focus on our background works because if thats good, then no doubt that our work shown up will be worth it.

After 3 weeks !!!!

posted 3 Dec 2016, 01:16 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

Well, its been a while I blogged my company's current progress and happenings.
Despite the double pressure of final exams and maintaining the company work, we were ready to give in our best and make firm decisions.
The story so far goes till the response of the 2 wooden manufacturers......

Then 2 of our partners went to the second factory all the way in admiralty. The wood we found there was the one we desired to use for our product, but the sales manager responsible for communicating with us, was so busy that he wasn't replying to any of our follow ups.
Moreover, he's the only sales person in that factory. Then, some small conflicts, as I really wanted to get this done and thought we can proceed with the Chen Sing one instead, but we know we couldn't risk the quality of our wood, so we had to wait and wait.
Initially following some business etiquettes, we contacted him once in a while.
Once it was high time, we called him and messaged him again and again repeatedly until we got a reply.
Now today os the day of the reply and its time for us to order our main ingredient for our beautiful dish. 
So we decided upon how much we are willing to pay for the quantity of the Birch wood.
Hoping at least be december we can kick start.

4th Week : Registration week ...

posted 5 Nov 2016, 20:25 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

After the meeting with the second wooden manufacturer... It was decision time.
But this took the longest and is still on-going, exactly why i'm updating my 4th week after more than a week's time.
 

Firstly, I got a sample wood from Chen Sing Pte Ltd as shown, to get a similar feel and look of our products soon.
So this is close to the colour of the wood we liked and enquired more about it.

Once we saw the quality, pricing and colour of our desired wood form both the wooden manufacturers, we now had to decide the pros and cons of each and go with one of the them depending on their quotations mostly.

Most importantly both of them were offering a minimum size of 4'x8' plywoods, and thus we had to calculate the quantity we of each size of our product offerings as cutting services are charged separately.





Then, we had a Skype meeting and I calculated the exact quantities considering maximisation of the wood - 48 pieces of 5"x7", 15 pieces of 8"x10" and 11 pieces of 11"x14".
Then decided to send out emails to both the manufacturers to send us a final quotation so we can start out our work.

Well, one challenge for us is the time, as the Maxcon enterprises, Mr. Ang takes a long time to revert back to us as he's a very busy man.
So, meanwhile we decided to create more sample using our editing techniques and we were given positive feedbacks and suggestions on our idea.
We were willing to try out new methods and less time consuming techniques and thus I tried out a new method using the transfer paper and an Iron.
Well, the transfer paper is of different quality and material - its glossy and smooth in feel and for the transfer I had print the picture in that paper using a inkjet printer only.
Sadly, when I printed it the colour looked all smudged and wet, so i just waited for it to dry but it didn't work. 


But I still tried to iron on a piece of wood to see if the ink can be transferred or not. And when i followed the technique step by step it resulted into this .

 

So considering the picture i used, the output was really good. 
So now we had to research on the the type of transfer paper and which paper we should use so that it wont get smudged.

Side by side, my group mates and I were learning how to edit pictures  online and how to use photoshop so we can make the pictures given to us look good and suitable for the wood.
And then, one of the important things was to register our company at the ACRA site, which was quite problematic considering whose address to use for the business or if we should use a virtual address for which we had to pay around 5-20$ per month.
Since we are already low on the capital side, I decided to use my home address as my business address as well.
So for that I had to apply at the URA - Urban Redevelopment Authority.
But to complete the procedure there, we had to successfully register at ACRA as a LLP. 
Quite many complications followed as we had foreign students in our group as well. 
Thus, current status - Applied for ACRA , I am yet to endorse as I am waiting for my SingPass ID. And then I have to confirm the address.
And considering the wood order, we are waiting for Mr.Ang's reply as he is on reservist so that might take a while. If we don't get a reply anytime soon, we are willingly going to forward with Chen Sing ASAP.
  




3rd week - The Sleepless one!!!

posted 25 Oct 2016, 01:15 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

The Sleepless one indeed....
Continuing the story.....
Starting from the meeting scheduled with Mr. Ang - Sales and Marketing IC of Maxcon Enterprises which had been postponed to the 20th Oct at 1pm.

- My 2 friends and I had reached Queenstown - for the meeting 30 mins early and were waiting, when Mr. Ang messages to postpone the meeting to 3pm instead due to unavoidable circumstances. Sadly, I had an exam at 3.30pm at NTU so i had to leave but my friends were ready and they did complete a successful meeting with our first manufacturer.
  • Now we had a clearer insight  on the type and price of the wood we wanted and could afford to use to maintain our quality and achieve out competitive pricing.
  • We narrowed down to 3 types of wood - SPF, Pine and plywood 
  • And based on the minimum quantity of 4'x8' - I calculated the number of pieces we could make to maximise the utilisation of the wood.
- Now, that very night we all were in a Skype meeting to complete our Business Plan report, which was due the next day 12pm.
Things we did that SKYPE call :
  1. Started off by discussing on issues we weren't sure of and once decided we filled the incomplete spaces. Most importantly we decided our company LOGO.
  2. I was analysing the survey results and keying in the correct figures. My friends were completing the Executive Summary and the Exit Strategy. 
  3. Then, came the finances part which one of our team mates was responsible for. He did the income statement and left since he had a super hectic schedule the next day.
  4. That was around 1am. Then the 3 of us left were finishing up the last touches, alignment and error checking WHEN we read the requirements of a Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Profit and Loss Statement and a Breakeven Analysis.
  5. So i took up that role as i knew the basics of accounting and started making financial statements..... Till 3am I was somehow managing but nothing made sense and was confusing all the accounting principles i knew.
  6. That's when all 3 of us TRIED , GOOGLED, searched for NOTES and managed to come up with numbers. But that was not the end, none of out numbers tallied.
  7. We struggled the whole night and came up with a sensible income statement and cash flow statement, making assumptions suiting our values but the balance sheet still never balanced.
  8. We were all brain dead and exhausted but still we didn't give up. It was 5.57am when our team mate had woken up and came to the rescue.
  9. He explained us the few concepts and then despite no sleep and time we managed to create the necessary financial statements.
  10. The last thing was when i was calculating the Breakeven in sales, in units, the margin of safety, etc etc it was 11.55am and we had to submit by 12pm. I have never been so fast in using a calculator and thats when we all compiled and saved successfully and I emailed our tutor the completed Business plan.
14 HOUR SKYPE MEETING - LONGEST I EVER HAD 

- We all had like some time to rest until we had another Skype meeting to deicide on our presentation the very next day, 22nd Oct. We all designed our blog and finalised our parts unanimously.

22nd Oct - THE BIG DAY
The moment had come !!!
We presented with full confidence and faith in our business and our detailed research was the proof behind all.
We were applauded, and got some very good suggestions and criticisms from our friends and mentors, which widened the scope of our product.
"Your business has a lot of potential. So don't screw it up" - exact words by our tutors. 
After all the effort, it did pay off in a positive way considering our stand compared to all the other businesses were looking good.

- Next step, 24th Oct : Meeting with Mr. Dave, Chen Sing Pte Ltd.
 Venue : And Mo Kio Industrial area 
 My friend and I attended the meeting. 
  • Firstly, it was very hard to locate this place since it was in an industrial region.
  • Once we started on, we found all useful pieces of information and saw the various quality woods suitable for our product.
  • Meeting had been good and we requested for quotations of the woods we had selected.
Now, it is the time to decide with which manufacturer are going to work with depending on their respective quotations sent to us.
This week definitely has given me the feel and effort of becoming an entrepreneur though I know its just the beginning.
I am definitely looking forward for more of this excitement.

2nd Week

posted 18 Oct 2016, 00:43 by JAIN MONISHA ANANDRAJ

Well, this week is indeed heading to be a fruitful as well as hectic one.

The Story so far, was all around unsuccessful prototyping. Looking at the failed attempts, my team and I had lost a bit of hope and were disappointed considering the initial excitement with what we started off.
But, by encouraging and motivating each other we managed to keep trying all sorts of possibilities to widen out our knowledge of expected failures/successes. And thats when we realised the importance of team effort. We had a whole list of things to be done and thats how we all started up hitting different areas - prototyping, emailing, buying of raw materials, following up with the manufacturers to get a convenient date for site visit , updating team blogs , writing our business plan and report, learning how to make a website,etc.

Throughout the week we got all the below mentioned done in order of occurrence :

1) Shweta and Vaya were back at experimening with the prototype making sure this time we don't repeat the same mistake and carefully scrub off the paper with patience and technique.
2) The Following day we got 2 good news :
  • YES !!! We finally managed to get a successful imprint on wood. 
  • Out of the 18-20 emails sent out, we got 5 replies, out of which 3 were in our favour and wanted to continue the talk. HURRAYYY !!!
FINALLY WE SAW A RAY OF HOPE !!!!

3) Then I decided to plan a meeting, on 15th Oct (Saturday,9.30am). I had prepared a list of the plan of actions for the day and following week to come.
  • Deciding the Final Presentation Order and Scheme - Work in Progress
  • Our company logo and Website (since we have no tech person in our group-we had to find out way to learn and do it ourselves) - Using online platforms
  • Confirm meetings with 2 of the manufacturers - Wednesday, 19th Oct confirmed with Maxcon Enterprises and Monday, 24th Oct confirmed with Chengsing.
  • Fixed one person per week for team blog update to avoid confusions.
  • Prepared a Spreadsheet for noting down all our accounts since day 1.
  • Go through the website for the grants given to start-ups and see the whole procedure and time needed.
  • MAIN OBJECTIVE - We started scripting our detailed business plan with research and findings.  
4) After the long work during the weekend, now we all are writing out business report and getting ready for our presentation on 22nd Oct.
5) Meanwhile, we also had to make sure of all the possible pictures (colour/black and white/text/backgrounds/etc) which can be printed on our wood and how it will look after the finishing.
So, I printed my own family picture with a colourful background and text to test it on the wood on both sides.

After discussion with my team, i put in almost my entire day scrubbing off the paper, with my fingers gently and patiently using lots of water. Then, to give it a final look, we had options - PVA glue,Mod Podge, Matt Varnish and Glossy Varnish solutions. I used the 1st 3 on one picture to see the difference... Shown Below.

    
PVA GLUE - MOD PODGE - MATT FINISH in 3 vertical strips.
As  shown, we all saw not much difference in look but I found the difference in feel. Mod lodge gave a slightly rough feel and Matt Finish came out more smooth and neat. That's when we realised that the text had been flipped horizontally... HAHAHA... Thus, to be kept in mind that we shut print the text flipped such that it will appear in correct orientation on the wood.
Well, that was one side of wood I showed. The opposite side of the same wood had the the same high quality laser printed picture stuck on it. I decided to try scrubbing off he paper with a sponge this time to see the end result. And surprisingly I was don't in like 5 minutes and it was much faster but some parts were over scrubbed revealing the wood below, which needs to be handled with care in future. The End result with Matt Varnish only is shown below.


MATT FINISH ONLY 
That was the success of my own prototyping experience and experimenting.
6) At the same time, I was in constant touch with an employee of Spring Singapore talking about the details of getting a $ 5000 grant for our business.

Well, everything is happening at once and we all are coping up with the amount of work and responsibility given because we want Pine-o-Chio to flourish !!!!


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