Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Need Advice - Urgently!

One of the things I am putting a lot of energy and time into, is the spread of braille enabled cards as a concept in India. Out here, very few people are aware that their cards should be braille enabled. Even those who are aware, do not know where to get it done. Its easy to understand that part - there is no agency in India that does this.

Last year, I hit upon this idea as a sustainable source of income for the blind. I found a way by which a blind person can braille enable the cards on his/her own, given a single sample. A simple time and motion study proved that this could provide enough employment for a blind person, if there are enough orders.

People who saw and used Braille enabled cards loved them immediately. It cost so little and meant so much to people who got them done.. those stories, though several, are all heartwarming.

Fixed the price of the service at a paltry sum of INR 1 per card, or INR 100 for a set of 100 cards - thats just about $2.5 to get a whole set of 100 cards braille enabled.

Over this last year, a lot of people have read about the concept and volunteered to help, have done their bit to spread awareness, get orders etc. I have always insisted on the low price bcs we do not want it to degenerate into pseudo-charity - people paying extra money just because they want to donate, and we do not accept charity for the blind. We demand self reliance and economic freedom. And I believe fiercely that the blind deserve it.

Today, one of the prime volunteers on this project suggested that we should raise this price to INR 2 for the large corporates. His logic was that the hard work required to do these cards, and the fact that they are done, not by a machine, but by a blind person, should give the client enough satisfaction, and people anyway pay obscenely high prices for hand done things, so why not for this? Besides, most of these organisations anyway have budgets for being more socially responsible and paying INR 2 instead of INR 1 will not hurt them. In fact, they will not even notice.

I am now confused.. we are meeting a client soon.. perhaps as early as tomorrow, and I really need advice.

What do you think? Or, let me rephrase.. would you pay INR 200 to get a set of 100 cards braille enabled? This would mean that for the next 3 months(most of us use the pack of 100 visiting cards for that long, if not longer), you will get your supply of braille enabled cards, for 200 rupees, or $ 5.. sounds good?

19 comments:

Nabeel said...

hmmm .. i think it's a great idea .. hope no one steals it .. so copyright it if you can ..

secondly .. hmm the blind in India live a poor life, unfortunately .. they don't have that much money .. not many even know how to read braille .. so your card sales might not be very high .. i am sure most of the blinds (the unfortunate ones) turn into beggars or just stay home. However .. the other class of blind men and women (middle or higher class) .. might choose your cards or might be given your cards by others .. but still how much sale are u looking for with this service?

do u think many know how to read braille? If you do come up with this business .. make sure that you take international orders too .. because let's say from US and UK .. u will get a lot of orders .. if you market it properly.

Twisted DNA said...

What you are doing is a noble thing, helping the people who need help.

I checked the prices of business cards in the US. A good quality, color cards are $5 for 100. That means, cheaper quality and if you buy them in bulk, they will be much cheaper, say $4.

So asking people to pay $5 to braille enable them probably not very attractive to people. But if you think about it, the people who would want them to braille enable them, are probably not looking for business reason but do it to help the blind people or for the "cool factor".

But here is the real deal. There is not much money to be made on the individuals buying 100 cards or so. To get some real money, you need to convince some companies to braille enable their cards as a bulk. The corporations may not see any business value in braille enabling the cards. Especially if the cost is going double, they may not want to do it.

I don't want to sound discouraging, with the plan as it is, there is not much money in it.

I am hoping there are other jobs the blind can do, such as working in fabs.

Once again, don't be discouraged. What you are doing is a great social service!

V N said...

Seems to be a wonderful thing that u r into! Way to go!
:)

Chiya said...

My suggestion is to increase the price.
Because
1.The new price is not exorbitant.

2.For those who have the sensitivity to understand the issue for them proce will not be a detterent.

3.For those who are not sensitive enough and will be buying the card only for showoff the LOW price will be a detterent.

Hope this will bring some clarity.

Oh one more thing...
ok leave it we will talk when we will meet.

The Phosgene Kid said...

We have Braille on everything, even the number plates for rooms. Along with the cards you should think of some kind of training for the blind that don’t know Braille.

Di said...

I would go for it at 200...more so coz it gives me the satisfaction that..if ever(though the chances are remote)...a visually challenged person needs to read my card,he will not have to ask someone else...thats a joy enuf...

Has to be me said...

Whoa! What a noble cause! Well done girl!

mojindro said...

increase the price...
its a good cause and today soperateworld is taking so much interest in social cause as for more publicity and goodwill..
why only visiting cards..make sure if you get enough orders for them make it for other occasions also..
every one like to help but then they dont find the correct way as today corruption is on its peak...

hey but hadnt tell where these cards can be available...

mojindro said...

sorry for mistake..
its *corporate world

Dreamer said...

Hey HDWK,

I understand that there are blind associations in india (GOs and NGOs), whom you can work with. It is indeed a good idea and the associations who work for the Disabled friendly environments would love to join hands.

It is high time that the other public facilities became disabled friendly too.

I would say 200 is not a bad price.

best of luck. Reach out to me if I can be of any help.

mathew said...

nice idea and I cant help but appreciate your cause..Most companies do charity only for publicity sake..Hope some for companies sincerely try to support the cause..I guess you can offer it 5$..You dont put premium on the value of the card..but on the cause..

itchingtowrite said...

idea is good & the cause is noble. what's the objective of your busines-s social service or making profits? if it's profits then what is the market size? how many blind people in the top rung ie how many people to him getting this card may matter. u r proposing a hike of 100% ?? since usually visiting cards cost Rs 100 per pack or so?? will this be attractive. let's say a decision maker says - 100% hike & our clients are not even blind? i would rather donate thru other channels? don/t wnat to discourage you- ur idea is very good - explore the international market if u can

adi said...

hmmm
interesting idea, tell me why wud any firm b interested in making their cards braille enabled... m not talking here to discourage the idea, thing is not many wud appreciate it in india...other countries, they are a diff piece of cake.
best of luck
and do reply

The Phosgene Kid said...

How's the bumpy road to Braille going?

Z said...

I didn't comment before, because I read it a couple of days after you wrote so I thought it would be too late.

Awareness of disabilities is rising all the time in this country, particularly with the increasingly demanding Disability Discrimination and Health and Safety laws.

I have never seen a Braille enabled business card, but I think it's a wonderful idea, not least for raising awareness. I think that a company that had Braille lettering on the cards would have a real advantage over its rivals, because it would demonstrate its positive attitude to disability and also have a distinctive and noticeable feel to it - quite apart, of course, from the practical use to blind people.

Pointing this out to companies - which, as you say, budget for socially responsible purchases- would be a useful selling point. It is quite possible that it might be put down as a charitable purchase and so be tax-deductable. This sounds cynical, but one has to be practical.

I don't know enough about business costs to comment upon the prices you quote. But to your question, "would you pay INR 200 to get a set of 100 cards braille enabled?", the answer is yes.

Wriju said...

I think you should raise the price of the card only if you feel the effort deserves a higher price.
Not because the corporates can pay much more ...

(Ni)mo.Ni said...

omg that ideas brilliant.
agree with nabeel on the intl orders thing.

iamnasra said...

I think what nabeel had said is so good...it should be informed about it out side...India..great job..

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