Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Evocative first impressions
Bhavna Jasra was five months pregnant with her daughter Tia, when her husband inadvertently gave her another gift - the gift of a hobby that became a lucrative and creative profession. He took her on a holiday to London and that's where she got smitten - by a pair of tiny feet.
Though Bhavna wasn't on the look out for a business opportunity, but the two little mounted feet at a friend's home in London, had her hooked. She forced her friend to take her to the studio, where she had got the impressions made. There she got the typical English stiff upperlip behaviour - they gave her some brochures to look at and told her to come back, when her baby was born.
But Bhavna wanted to know more and she persevered. She waited in the studio for five whole days, to the point where Mrs Ferguson almost called the cops because she thought Bhavna was a stalker! But on the sixth day, Bhavna was invited in for a precisely five-minute audience with the lady, who made these impressions.
Mrs Ferguson soon allowed Bhavna to use her art, after she charged her a stiff fee for the franchise - enough as Bhavna says to "buy a house in London." So, after first getting her daughter's impressions made, very soon the marketing consultant in her took over. She says that the franchise fee was high, but she has more than made up for the initial investment. On the first day, she made over 150 impressions of newborns.
Today, she can demand her price and get it because she offers that kind of quality. Her impressions can come in diverse finishes, such as gold, silver, copper, bronze and pearl finish. Also the dimensions of the limbs matter as well as the frame, that it is mounted into. So she offers a choice of frames, like wood, wrought iron, one-piece glass bubble frames, (which is when the impressions are enclosed in a glass bubble and the only way to get them out is to break the glass). So keeping all this in mind - her price can begin at Rs 15,000 and go up to a couple of lakhs.
She's done so many celebrity impressions but she finds Bal Thackeray's the most fascinating one because as she puts it, she has always been a Mumbai girl and there's never a day, when he hasn't made news. She recalls that when she held his hands and immersed them in clay, her own hands were quite cold and he had wittily remarked to calm her down a bit, that "few have held the tiger by his paws!" She also cherishes the memory of doing impressions of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his mother's hands.
Acclaimed filmmaker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali told CNBC-TV18, "When I see this (impressions of his mother's hands), it's all there - the lines that have come out on her hands, all that she's lived through is all there. It's primarily less of my hand and I think it is a wonderful gift that she's given to us."
Today, Bhavna is also a marketing consultant to some companies like Citibank and ICICI Bank. With no degree in marketing, she says it comes naturally to her because she could even sell a product in her sleep. While Bhavna is very satisfied with both her marketing assignments and First Impression, it's never done at the cost of time with the family.
Written for www.moneycontrol.com