There was a time when hawkers on Mumbai’s many streets and bylanes made a quick buck by selling posters of Bollywood stars or cricket heroes. While a Sachin Tendulkar poster might still be in vogue among the city’s youth, finding as many hawkers who still sell it, may be a little difficult, thanks to the civic authorities’ efforts to clear up our choked roads. But that’s no reason to crush your craving to own a life-sized image of the Joker or an Angry Birds poster for your living room. The last year has seen Indian portals setting up virtual shops to help bring that kitsch-chic wall art home.
“In 2011, when we entered our final year at IIT Kanpur, my roommate and I were looking to buy posters online. After searching for hours, I said to him, ‘let’s launch a website for customised posters’. Within three days, we launched www.bluegape.com,” says Sahil Baghla, co-founder, Blue Gape. They delivered more than 2,000 posters in the next 15 days. Inspired, the company received funding in January this year and launched more customised products in March. “In customisation, people go for family posters, posters of their heroes and motivational ones as well,” says Baghla, adding that they offer three sizes – A3, A2 and A1 – for Rs. 100, Rs. 300 and Rs. 500
Rahul Rao of www.oyebazaar.com, which was launched in December 2011, too admits that the popularity of posters has increased. He says, “We have grown by 30 per cent every month since we launched.” The site has a wide range of posters, including music, movies and sports people, along with artists like Picasso, Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt.
“Classics like The Godfather, Scarface and Charlie Chaplin remain etched in people’s minds and regularly fly off our shelves,” adds Rao. Their bestsellers, among posters sourced locally, cost Rs. 249 and Rs. 349, while for the imported and licensed art reprints, the cost starts from Rs. 1,800.
The latest entrant in the poster-selling circuit is postergully.com. Launched two months ago, the site offers over 1,000 products. “Posters on international sites cost roughly $20. If they are created in India, they cost around $4 to $6. However, there are several copyright and licensing issues when it comes to international artwork. So, we have to source stuff from some of the world’s biggest poster makers,” says Bharat Sethi, founder, Poster Gully.
The website has also started to employ crowd-sourcing, i.e getting local artists to create artwork, to keep the costs down.
They admit there aren’t enough takers for posters of Indian sportspersons and movie stars. “However, we are trying to bring them back in vogue by introducing categories like minimal and new-age art to increase their popularity them,” says Sethi.
Did you know?
* Some of the more popular works in the art category belong to Leonetto Cappiello and Van Gogh.
* People in the age group of 16-35 are the main customers.
* Patrons who order online don’t purchase just a single poster. They buy at least two or three at one go. The average revenue per order is Rs. 700.
* Call Of Duty, Halo and Angry Birds are popular gaming posters and are more in demand in South India.
* Regular purchasers have now started opting for 3D posters, which are in vogue these days.
* Music bands like Pink Floyd and Beatles are still popular
* Surprisingly, posters of Bollywood stars and cricketers are not in demand.