Graphic novels, limited edition comics, manga and literature are not just difficult to source but also expensive books to buy. A lending library with all this within the city is any fans dream come true. Add to that a bright sunny café with friendly service and a homely feel, and you’ve got yourself reader’s heaven..
Revealing the faceless founders of Leaping Windows, Cafe and Comic Library! It took total commitment and almost 3 years for Utsa and Bidisha to realize their dream of a Café and Comic Library in Mumbai, but they did it!
Leaping Windows, a first of its kind café in Mumbai which houses more than 4000 comics, graphic novels and art classics, opened its doors in Versova this week to hungry crowds seeking more than coffee and sandwiches. The online library version of Leaping Windows was launched by the couple in June 2010.
I spoke to Utsa just after the launch of the Cafe this week and what was really heartwarming how the chat was interrupted every few minutes and he’d say, “Sorry, please can you hang on, I need to take an order”. Startups that are labors of love and passion have this little extra that franchises and retail chains lac – attention to the customer, not PR or Marketing.
Just like the idea the name is fresh too! “Why Leaping Windows” I asked. “Well, Bidisha’s young nephew who is a huge comic fan, donned a cape one day and kept leaping off the windows..It was the ground floor and he was safe. But that’s when it struck me that reading anything, especially comics, is just like leaping from one window of imagination to the other. We liked it; It just had to be the name of our library.”
What inspired you to give up the comfort of a steady income after 12 years of practicing as a lawyer to opt for a challenging start as an entrepreneur?
We love comics, so it had to be done! Also I think working for oneself teaches you a lot about things that you wouldn’t have otherwise known, especially when you are tight on cash. We had limited budgets and we stayed up every night for months planning each detail of the café ourselves, trying to make every rupee count. This experience has made us believe in Leaping Windows and what we are doing even more!
What’s the best advice you received when starting Leaping Windows?
A friend said, “Don’t listen to anyone, not even me when I’m saying this. Go with your instincts.” And that’s just what I did.
What’s the one advice you are glad you did not take?
Borrow lots of money from banks or friends – I’m glad we restricted ourselves to limited resources because it has made us more enterprising as people who need to run a business. It has also brought us together as a team.
What are the biggest challenges you faced when starting Leaping Windows?
The biggest challenge was definitely the finance. In Mumbai where real estate prices are sky rocketing, I couldn’t find an affordable place in a location of my choice. Since we live in Bandra we wanted a café in Bandra, but the cost was inhibitive. Versova is just as vibrant with a youthful crowd that’s open to new ideas!
What is your biggest fear?
Honestly, I have no fears right now. Just work hard and that’s it.
How do you see Leaping Windows evolving in the future? What more can customers expect?
We have just launched the café and physical library, so firstly we hope to do what we really started out to do, that is promote comics and reading among people. Hope people enjoy the café. We plan to increase the number of books we can offer and start hosting workshops and events around comics soon.
Spiderman Image Courtesy: http://badends.blogspot.in/
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