Punam Flutes – The Story of How a Maestro Became a Master Craftsman



This article is part of the CitySparks series sponsored by Verisign

When a hobby turns into a profession, a professional expects to be able to find the superior tools of the trade, and if they are not up to the mark, they might complain, despair, or seek more expensive and difficult alternatives. to find. . However, Subhash Thakur, a flautist by profession, did not succumb to any of these measures.

When he couldn’t get the kind of high-quality flute he needed, he did what few others would, which was to make his own. What started out as a solution to a personal need slowly morphed into the Punam Flutes saga. Today, Thakur’s flutes are used by several artists, including the legendary Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, in India and abroad.

Thakur, who has an illustrious career playing a baansuri (Hindustan for flute), began learning under the tutelage of Ustad Fahimullah Khan in 1988, and then graduated with a master’s degree in music. After that, he began to play professionally, which earned him the status of a ranked artist in Akashvani, Patna. “I then moved to Delhi and started a government job as a flute player with a monthly salary of Rs. 7,000,” he says, adding: “It was around this time that I realized that good flutes were hard to find. They were either very expensive or had to be imported. This is what prompted me to try to make my own flute.

This attempt was only the beginning of Punam Flutes. Many of his current guru’s followers, Pt. Amarnathji, wanted him to make flutes for them as well. In just a few months, Thakur realized that it was more lucrative to make flutes, as his income as a flute maker began to exceed what he earned as an artist.

Thakur takes great pride in the way he personalizes each creation, which sets his work apart from mass-produced instruments. “I don’t just make just any flute and ask people to buy it. For professionals and demanding artists, I study their style and build an instrument according to the range they want.

The first days of struggle

Thakur explains, “Making flutes is as serious and painstaking a process as making any other musical instrument. First of all, you need to get good quality bamboo which is only available in North East India. Then it should be seasoned for about three months. Then it must be carefully designed, as the position and diameter of the holes are very important for correct adjustment.

Subhash Thakur with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

At first he struggled every step of the way in the production process. The tools for making the holes were not easy to find. He had to look for them everywhere, and in the days before the Internet, it was a difficult task. He then had to import them from the United States and other countries, after paying a huge amount of money. He also needed a tuner to help him make the flute properly.

It was only in the last few years that the technology became readily available, which allowed him to buy good quality tools and make his own tools for making flutes.

Going online was the next logical step

Once you have a great product, the next step is to market it and sell it. When it seemed like the whole world was turning to the web to boost sales, it was Pt. Amarnathji’s son who advised him to expand his business online. He helped Thakur register a domain name and build a website in 2004. Another friend, also a professional flautist, helped design the site and now maintains it.

“If you are a manufacturing company, it makes sense to go online to increase the reach of your business. A .com domain name is the obvious solution if you want to expand your reach internationally, ”says Thakur.

Punam Flutes also has a good social media presence. His wife Punam, who gave the company its name, takes care of this aspect. The social media page and website also feature posts to and from artists who use his flutes, including Prem Joshua and Naveen Kumar, known for their publicity jingles and the film’s haunting theme. Bombay.

“About 50% of our sales come from people who know me personally, artists and students, as well as people who have heard of my reputation. The rest comes from purely online sales, nearly 25 percent of which come from foreign countries, ”he explains, adding that he receives quite a few people from the United States and the United Kingdom who approach him for personalized flutes.

Deeply focused on making high quality flutes available to passionate artists, Thakur never thought that selling online would help the business the way it did. He finds the change in the Indian mindset quite remarkable: “Indians have adapted very well to e-commerce. Lately a lot of my sales have been down to my website and being on platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.

Thakur’s advice to anyone who wants to start a business and get it online is to focus on the fundamentals: “You need to understand everything in depth about your area of ​​business and know all aspects of production and sales. . Only then will your business flourish.

Punam Flutes continues to grow with .com. And you? Go .com, go big!

Register your .com on www.gobigwith.com

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