PortraitFlip: A Startup That Supports The Artists By Redefining Handmade Art!

PortraitFlip decided to become the bridge between the heroes of the art universe and the world that hardly knew about their brilliance.

India   |   23 April 2021 5:40 AM GMT / Updated : 2021-04-23T11:18:03+05:30
PortraitFlip: A Startup That Supports The Artists By Redefining Handmade Art!

Image Credits: PortraitFlip

While an entire generation is turning towards a more modernized graphic tablet and stylus, PortraitFlip is trying to hold onto the traditional art of handmade painting.

A college day startup idea that has now become one of Pune's fastest-growing startups with a turnover of 6 crores.

PortraitFlip was born in the dorm room of Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai as a vision of a young boy to support artists and change the experience of gifting.

With a mere Rs. 23,000 to invest, Sunny Kumar ventured on a journey to creating a big-picture for his brainchild.

Wonder how it was for a fourth-year Mechanical student to make his dream come to life?


The Launch

It all began in September of 2017 when Sunny's friend was looking for a handmade painting to give to his girlfriend.

Despite a plethora of artists across the world, he couldn't find a single company that would make a handmade portrait from a photo.

"A retort to this sorry state was the beginning of PortraitFlip. There were so many artists compromising their passion for a 9 to 5 job, and there were so many art enthusiasts who were digging the internet for art", exclaims Sunny.

PortraitFlip decided to become the bridge between the heroes of the art universe and the world that hardly knew about their brilliance.

The thought was to liberate the community and to touch the skies while at it. Within a year of the launch, PortraitFlip yielded a turnover of INR 1.2 Cr.

But there is no business without challenges.


The Snag

A lack always changes you for the better especially when it is a bootstrapped business that faces risk every waking moment.

PortraitFlip had not received a single order for almost three months of launch. It was a difficult period for Sunny while he thought that most of his efforts were going in vain.

One way to learn is to know that you are making failures and experimenting through them. Sunny spent nights reading about it and came up with the idea of Google and Facebook Ads.

But it isn't all that bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Up until one year of smooth progression came the mother of all emergencies, the covid crisis!

Although the crisis did not affect the way it did everybody, it did come with its flavour.

As an e-commerce business, the sales skyrocketed but cross-border restrictions never allowed the delivery of artwork on time.

A dark pit full of customer disappointments and order cancellation.

The start-up had wasted a considerable amount since most of their recruiting and website development plans stood on hold.

But that's when Marissa Mayer got into the picture with her words, "When there is a moment of 'Wow, I am not really sure I can do this, and you push through those moments, that's when you have a breakthrough."

Sunny started heavily indulging in books that pushed him and his entire team towards positive thoughts.

Instead of getting involved in wastefulness, the team decided to work on the marketing strategy for the entire year.

They knew there was no looking back and they had to break through with strength.

It is what it is, but PortraitFlip in the entire process was reaching out to the least talked about the neck of the woods.

The Artist Community


"There are so many artists compromising their passion for a 9 to 5 job, and there were so many art enthusiasts who were digging the internet for art", exclaims Sunny.

PortraitFlip decided to become the bridge between the heroes of the art universe and the world that hardly knew about their brilliance.

What remained constant throughout the course was the idea to liberate the artist community.

The company commenced with a team of 4 artists and shelters a team of more than 190 artists today.

"India also has a jewel of artists, and our vision is to bring their artistry to the forefront. They form the base note of our business," believes Sunny.

We know India is home to sensational artists who want to keep their handmade art alive.

PortraitFlip is giving them a platform to do so. An artist who otherwise would have earned in peanuts is now living a standard life.

Although the covid crisis did see major upheavals, the startup made sure that the artists were given their share of appreciation.

"The key idea is to liberate the local artisans to a world that has bounded itself to graphical art. The globe ought to see the power of hands, especially the power of Indian artisan's graceful work of hand."

With its professional quality and 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, PortraitFlip is targeting to shelter approximately 300 in-house artists by 2022.

The Present Day

"Since the day PortraitFlip has got down to business, it is giving a cut-throat competition to many US-Based companies who are in the same business", says Sunny.

The team of ten renegades, mostly comprising the youth, will work towards yielding 16 crores by the end of this year.

Sunny believes that the youth has the power to change an entire institution for better or worse.

Thereupon PortraitFlip is planning to expand its in-office team of marketing specialists by creating an opportunity for all the potential youth.

"While my core vision remains to create a Happy Business – for my artists, for my customers, for my team. World's happiest team of absolutely creative and passionate lot," said Sunny when asked about his field of vision.

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