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From Shark Tank to global kitchens: P-TAL’s story of reviving India’s artisanal legacy

P-TAL’s journey from a college project to Shark Tank India leverages traditional craftsmanship and makes strategic use of WebEngage for customer retention, setting the stage for future global aspirations.

When P-TAL stepped onto the Shark Tank India stage, it did more than just pitch its business; it ignited a conversation about heritage and innovation. Winning a deal of Rs 1 crore for a 3.2% equity, it not only secured financial backing from all five sharks but also a vote of confidence in its mission to rejuvenate the Thatheras craft of Amritsar, Punjab—a tradition recognised by UNESCO for its cultural significance. This achievement marked a pivotal moment for P-TAL, which started as an ambitious project by SRCC students to blend traditional craftsmanship with contemporary living.

At its heart, P-TAL is not merely a brand; it’s a bridge connecting the rich legacy of brass, copper, and kansa crafts with the modern household. Through a careful balance of traditional techniques and modern aesthetics, P-TAL is making ancient crafts accessible and relevant for today’s consumers.

Story of revival and innovation

P-TAL’s journey from a college project to a brand celebrated on Shark Tank India is a testament to the vision of its founders, Aditya Agrawal (CEO), Kirti Goel (COO), and Gaurav Garg (CPO). Faced with the decline of India’s only UNESCO-listed craft form in Amritsar, the artisans’ struggle against modern metals and fading traditions moved the team.

Reflecting on the brand’s purpose, Agrawal shares with Yourstory, “Seeing the artisans’ declining fortunes, we knew action was essential. Our drive wasn’t just about preserving a craft; it was about enriching lives through sustainable practice and health-conscious living.”

The onset of COVID-19 emphasised health, propelling P-TAL to spotlight the Ayurvedic benefits of its brass, copper, and kansa products. Amidst global uncertainty, the team saw an opportunity to not only save a dying craft but also to cater to a growing demand for health-conscious living. This led to the reinvention of traditional utensils for modern use, aligning ancient wisdom with contemporary aesthetics and health benefits.

A pivotal aspect of P-TAL’s impact is its profound transformation of the artisans’ livelihoods. Working with around 55 artisan families, P-TAL has elevated their earnings from a mere Rs 2,000 a month to an average of Rs 30,000. Remarkably, some artisans now earn up to one and a half lakh rupees monthly, showcasing the significant economic upliftment facilitated by the brand.

Retention-led growth

Building on the transformative journey and impact of P-TAL, Agrawal sheds light on the strategic pivot that has been instrumental in sustaining the brand’s growth: a keen focus on customer retention. In a niche market, where the initial touchpoint often involves a modest purchase, P-TAL has recognised the potential to nurture these initial interactions into more significant engagements.

Agrawal explains, “What we have noticed is that customers often start with a purchase of around Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500. Gaining confidence from their first experience, they tend to make subsequent purchases over Rs 10,000 to 12,000. This underscores the importance of retention in our category, making every customer’s journey with us pivotal.”

This insight has propelled P-TAL to prioritise customer satisfaction and long-term relationships over mere transactional interactions. By ensuring that early purchasers become repeat customers—who come back for more and advocate for the brand—P-TAL leverages word-of-mouth in its most authentic form. With a remarkable repeat customer rate of 32%, the strategy underscores the brand’s commitment to quality and customer experience.

Leveraging WebEngage for P-TAL’s retention strategy

P-TAL’s journey towards mastering retention-led growth found a strong ally in WebEngage’s Startup Program, which played a pivotal role in enhancing its retention marketing efforts. Agrawal lauds the programme’s impact, stating, “WebEngage not only provided us with the tools to experiment and perfect our retention strategies but also offered the invaluable support of a customer success manager to guide us through designing effective marketing funneL.”

This partnership was crucial for a lean startup like P-TAL, where resources are limited, and the expertise in retention marketing might not be readily available in-house.

The programme offered P-TAL more than just a technological solution; it provided exclusive perks, including free access to the WebEngage platform for upto six months, along with dedicated customer success, recognising the budget constraints that startups often face.”This kind of flexibility and support from WebEngage was a game-changer for us, offering a sense of comfort and the ability to save on costs while still investing in top-tier customer retention platforms,” he adds.

P-TAL also emerged as the winner of the WebEngage Startup Demo Day, held in December 2023. A key insight from P-TAL’s collaboration with WebEngage was the importance of WhatsApp as a communication channel, especially given its customer demographic with an average age above 35-40, who prefer WhatsApp over emails or SMS. Agrawal highlights, “Utilising WhatsApp for our retention plans allowed us to customise and segment our communication effectively, making it an attractive feature that influenced our decision to partner with WebEngage.” Beyond communication, WebEngage also facilitated targeted marketing strategies and provided a comprehensive dashboard that streamlines communication across multiple channels.

Way Ahead

As P-TAL gears up for the future, with plans to launch a plethora of new products, the focus sharply turns towards re-engaging with past customers, including those who’ve grown inactive.

Agrawal is optimistic. “Even a 5% to 6% increase in our retention rate could significantly boost our revenues, given that each returning customer potentially brings about Rs 5000 to 6000 in business.”

This ambition extends beyond mere numbers, aiming to cultivate a community deeply connected with the brand’s journey, especially through updates on product launches and business developments.

Looking ahead, P-TAL is not just aiming to solidify its presence within India but also to position itself as a global ambassador of Indian traditions and craftsmanship.

Agrawal envisions a world where international audiences not only savour Indian cuisine but also embrace the traditional utensils that enrich the cooking experience. “Our goal is to transcend borders, promoting the health benefits and unique flavours facilitated by our products on a global stage,” he concludes. This bold vision marks P-TAL’s commitment to bringing the essence of Indian heritage to kitchens worldwide, charting a path of sustainable growth and cultural exchange.

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