‘Whether through audio, video or text, Slow stands for decency’
A popular story teller on radio, Neelesh Misra, also founder of The Slow Movement, talks about the different verticals of Slow and the larger thought behind it
With an idea that there are many amongst us who are looking to take things ‘Slow’, Neelesh Misra, the Founder of The Slow Movement, has now come up with various verticals to the brand Slow. The first step is towards building a large community of audiences, says Misra.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Misra throws light upon the larger idea behind the movement, the brand and how he plans to sustain it.
What is this new brand ‘Slow’? What is your business model of decency and how did you plan it?
I didn’t need to. I live this brand. This is my life, and this is the way I look at life. It was fairly effortless. To begin with, it is the name of my village home – “Slow”, and has also become a brand that millions of people now reach out to and relate to, because that is the kind of life they also seek.
What are the different verticals of Slow? How do you tie them together under the brand?
So, the brand has several verticals. The larger thought, the larger umbrella is the Slow Movement, which is a way of looking at life. Millions of Indians will relate to it as something they want, they talk about it in their everyday conversations. We are just trying to give it form. The different verticals of the Slow Movement are:
Slow Content that has audio, video and text. Our big product – the Slow App – will be out next month. If you are bothered by violence, bad language and values, and stereotypes shown on TV or OTT, then you already are seeking Slow Content. Whether through audio, video or text, our content stands for decency, which is more meaningful, enriched, rooted, unhurried, uncluttered look at life, where the small things matter, the small emotions matter; the small emotions that are often not documented, not registered in stories.
Then there are Slow Products - currently in the space of healthy, food products. We will be expanding it further with handicrafts, textiles and more. We are opening an entire universe of products created by unknown, invisible artists. There will be purity at that end and a promise of the same values, integrity that we have in our content will reflect in our products. It is about having something healthy, and in the process empowering the person who grew it.
Then we are creating Slow Experiences. As we speak, we are creating a Slow village on the outskirts of Dehradun. My own village home, near Lucknow, will become a homestay. But then we want to tie up with hundreds and thousands of owners of such experiences, who can give similar experiences- they could be homestay owners or could be people who do story-telling, pottery, or dance classes, or city-walk. So, all kinds of experiences, not just buildings but people and places also.
These are all woven together very effortlessly because Slow is not about selling new cookies, not about showing you an interview, nor about having you in a homestay; it is about looking at life in a certain way. It is about taking a pause, taking that breath for a moment, and reflecting on the things that really matter. So, to define Slow I would say, decency is the business model of Slow.
The last decade has seen mushrooming of a lot of start-ups in various sectors - good living, sustainable products etc. How do you see sustained profitability with this concept and what are your plans to translate it into tangible profits?
The first step is that we are trying to build a large community of audiences – consumers, and in the same vein, we are trying to bring together people doing similar things like this. I stand with the person who could not get to the first three pages of Amazon or Tripadvisor – who is making something amazing or has a beautiful homestay but could not market it. His products will never be sold because he is fighting the algorithm. And most importantly, along with increasing their income we want to give them respect and recognition in the market, through our creative platforms and video/audio networks.
What are your plans for raising funds? How have you been sustaining so far, and how do you plan to move to the next pedestal?
Not in a hurry to raise funds right away but we will consider crossing that bridge probably next year. Until now, it has been a journey where I have personally funded everything that we have done. Going forward, there are two revenue streams. One, we want to go into a membership mode where the Slow Movement will have paid membership. I think after we reach a certain amount of demonstrated success, we will seek funding. Not before that.
You are an artiste, a creative celebrity who is also an entrepreneur. How has the experience with entrepreneurship been so far?
Well, our venture Gaon Connection, India’s biggest rural media platform, turned profitable in the last financial year without funding, advertising and membership. That’s a global case-study, not just Indian. Did I make mistakes? Of course I did. Tons. Thank god I did. That’s why I now know how to make far fewer mistakes. And the values and integrity that I hold dear will reflect in our new venture, Slow.
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