Our economy is growing and the exhibitions market has witnessed a significant change and growth over the last decade. The Indian exhibitions market is estimated at Rs 65,000 crore with growth rate of 12% per annum. No two exhibition events are ever the same and so it is one of the most dynamic, interesting and ever-changing domains. Meet Indore based Neetu Agrawal, Homemaker turned award winning Exhibition Organizer and Founder of Expression Lifestyle Events, who, in spite of having no prior experience in this field, has managed to build a successful empire defying all stereotypes.
A B.Sc. graduate with a short stint in IT, Neetu had engrossed herself in the duties of a homemaker for almost two decades after her marriage and birth of her daughter. She continued to pursue her hobbies in art and cooking and took part in various local cooking competitions in Indore. She even won a few and also took part in MasterChef Season 2. Her recipes were also featured in local media. However, a niggling sense of wanting to do something beyond her traditional role as a homemaker was always there. The opportunity came when her daughter enrolled for a graduation course which gave her some bandwidth to spread her wings.
Lot of exhibitions are organized in the city of Indore every year and Neetu used to visit them with her friends. With the contacts developed over the years, Neetu had some friends who were into jewellery business, operated their boutique stores or had their own venture. She contemplated on organizing an exhibition with a small group of exhibitors. Supported by her husband and her family, she took the plunge and organized her first exhibition with around 20 stalls in the club house of her housing society in 2016.
The good response received in her first exhibition boosted her confidence and after organizing 4-5 such smaller exhibitions, Neetu organized her first full scale exhibition at Saket club, Indore, with around 80-90 stalls in 2017. She has never looked back since and has organized over 15 big scale exhibitions till date across multiple venues in Indore. Most of her exhibitions are based around festival or season themes.
It wasn’t an easy ride. Initially, I didn’t even know how to make a layout, how to place requirements with the vendors, etc. However, I got good support from my husband. Though his profession is different, he always supported me whenever I got stuck. I owe my success to him.
Organizing an exhibition asks for in-depth knowledge of logistics in combination with commercial insight. Exhibition Management comes with so many unique challenges, one needs lot of patience to handle the crisis situations. Today, Neetu skilfully handles the entire logistics from the floor plan design down to the very last detail. Encompassing the entire gamut, from marketing and selling exhibition space, booths and presentations, to build and tear down, shipping and storage, A/V and electrical – She guarantees a seamless exhibition for the duration of the event.
I always work on creative innovation to increase the footfalls. My mantra is simple – If my exhibitors earn, then only I will earn.
Almost all of her exhibition stalls are pre-booked and sold out many days in advance. Many of her regular clients pre-book the spaces even before the dates or layout design is finalized. That’s the level of trust she has earned among the exhibitor fraternity. She boasts of big names in the industry like Vaman Hari Pethe Jewellers, Kent RO, Anand Jewellers and several others in her repertoire as sponsors and exhibitors.
My USP is transparency and fairness. We work on reasonable and fixed charges and give same facility to all exhibitors. Other organizers work on flexible / premium pricing. I don’t change the pricing based on clients.
She has been honoured with multiple awards for her achievements in the field of Exhibition Organization. She has received the India Business Award in Bengaluru in 2018, Rangoli WOW Award in 2018 and 94.3 MyFM Award in 2019. She plans to also organize exhibitions in the capital city of Bhopal in the near future and aspires to expand her operations to have a pan-India presence. Breaking the glass ceiling, she has proved that there is a hidden Entrepreneur in every Homemaker.