Peepul Consulting Founder Srimoyi Bhattacharya On Revolutionising The PR Scene In India

Peepul Consulting Founder Srimoyi Bhattacharya On Revolutionising The PR Scene In India

When it comes to luxury brands and the marketing landscape in India, Srimoyi Bhattacharya's name is easily the first one to come to mind. By pioneering the ‘sourcing and styling’ services in the fashion industry, she has rightly earned the crown. Her boutique agency, Peepul Consulting was the first one in India to offer showroom space to their fashion clients. Part of her magic lies in how she approaches and makes a connection with everyone she comes across. 

“Value every relation and encounter that comes your way, regardless of position and title,” says the Founder and MD of Peepul Consulting. Srimoyi’s warmth and candour are absolutely unmissable, even through the phone. I caught her during her busiest work hours but she graciously answered all my questions.

From building stellar brands to organising grand events, Srimoyi has done it all. Today, her PR career spans across Paris, New York and Mumbai. It all started for Srimoyi at the age of 16 while she was pursuing an internship with Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto in Paris. She was fascinated by what happened backstage. Everything that went into planning events excited her. Another internship at The Times of India and it was clear. She found her calling and knew that it had to be an amalgamation of media, fashion, and brand building. Soon enough, Peepul Consulting was born. With a passion for PR and a knack for innovation, it took Srimoyi just two years to expand operations to India. In 2008, she set up a consulting firm in Mumbai and has been innovating India’s PR industry since then.  

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The pandemic hasn’t changed anything for her. She is constantly exploring business models that prove relevant beyond traditional fashion PR mandates. Peepul Style, or “the jewel in the crown” as she calls it, is a glowing example. A first-of-its-kind agency project in India, it is an in-house showroom that displays some of Peepul’s best clients. The showroom just went digital to accommodate what brands need in the changing business climate amid the pandemic.

Quite evidently in Srimoyi’s world, there are no limits to how much one can dream and aspire. Consequently, she had to be a part of our POPxo Women Who Win series and when we approached her, she happily agreed to talk about her impressive career. Edited excerpts from the interview below:

How do you begin your day? What’s a typical day like for you?

Days now are very different from the pre-pandemic rush of events. I must confess that I cherish my new routine as it has meant more time with family. Days start early with breakfast with my daughter, and then I have about an hour or so to myself before getting on calls. We have been able to recently hold socially-distanced meetings in outdoor areas. I found them to be far more productive than when we sat in a boardroom! Those who work with me or know me well also know that I am highly scheduled and plan my weeks of calls and meetings well in advance. I also like to have a solid work/life balance and I am usually off my desk by around 6 pm. I also plan regular holidays as well as I plan my work week. 

How did you land up your first PR job?

I  was born and brought up in Paris, where I landed my first experience in PR. I realised then that my complicated Bengali name was a deterrent at a few interviews. Luckily, my new bosses would see my multi-cultural background as my biggest asset given the international profile of companies the firm would represent. So after a few months of interning, I joined a pan-European tech PR firm in 1994 which worked with large IT companies and start-ups. I owe a lot of my learnings and best practices in PR to my first job and my mentor there.

What would say was a turning point in your career?

Moving from Paris to New York in 2002 helped me discover new horizons. From absorbing an exciting new PR culture to managing life on my own, it made me grow in many ways. It taught me to assert my identity and my passion for the lifestyle field in the PR domain. I also loved my life in New York, a city where I felt at home in my Indian roots.

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How has your PR experience in New York and Paris helped you shape up your company in India?

The biggest lesson that I learnt while working in France and New York is that management is not something that can be improvised. Management is a profession in itself and you need to learn the tools of management to become a good leader. Of course, gut intuition and strong values form the foundation but to be a true blue professional everything needs to be mastered systematically. I remember being thoroughly coached as a young manager. I headed a team for the first time when I was just 25. I was managing 12 people and the majority of them were much older to me. So that coaching was very helpful in setting up my firm and making sure that we form a culture at Peepul.

What would you say has been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

Building a strong culture at Peepul and navigating this unprecedented pandemic together. It was during this crisis that we realised there is so much we don't know about each other’s personal lives, and the angst, and the mental health issues that people were dealing with. So I asked them to go through this 21-day program which I had signed up for to help with our well being. That was the biggest success that helped us through the pandemic. That’s how you create a culture when you know that you can count on people in times of crisis. 

It is because of this culture that we could pause and think about things that we didn't have a chance to do when we were running and rushing. And during the pandemic, we achieved our biggest accomplishment as a team by setting up the online version of our in-house showroom, Peepul Style. We started India’s very first showroom space along with a PR agency. My big dream was to take this space online and we were able to successfully do that and put our online showroom on Shopify.

Do you swear by a mantra in your professional/personal life?

Value every relation and encounter that comes your way, regardless of position and title. 

What according to you are the key skills or qualities that have helped you succeed?

Being open-minded and adaptable to engender positive conversations. And I do love my work, even after 25 years of tribulations 😊

Do you have any advice for those who are looking to break into the industry?

I chose to merge my personal passions in my work and that has been my recipe for success and happiness. I would say that you need to always feel a sense of accomplishment based on a sense of service, something larger than just yourself.

How do you unwind?

I unwind with short bursts of workout or a movie night with family. What relaxes me most is shuffling things around my home, arranging flowers, re-decorating small nooks and corners. It’s a time that restores and replenishes me.

What are 3 things we’ll always find in your makeup bag?

A rust orange lipstick, a jasmine fragrance (my current favorite is Olène by Dyptique which I alternate with The Perfume Library’s Aphtoori Absolue), Kama Ayurveda’s hand cream. 

And lastly, can you name the top three books that impacted your life?

'The Namesake' by Jhumpa Lahiri, 'Garden of Songs' (or Gitabitan) by Rabindranath Tagore and a recent discovery 'Happy Inside' by Michelle Ogundehin. 

Featured Image Courtesy: Srimoyi Bhattacharya