India is home to 12 million visually impaired people of which 56 lakh are literate. The number of newspapers and magazines published out of Mumbai were only about 60 till May this year until former PR professional Upasana Makati launched White Print, there wasn’t a single English magazine in Braille.
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White Print is India’s first lifestyle magazine for the visually challenged and is priced at just Rs 30 which is a fraction of what a regular lifestyle magazine costs. Upasana doesn’t want to stop here. She is already thinking of another offering in this niche space. Here is what inspired this 24-years-old to start-up.
Upasana Makati, 24, quit her public relations job after just a year to better her relations with the world of niche publishing. Launched in May this year, White Print is a 64-page Braille magazine that includes stories on politics, art and culture from across the globe, reviews of audio books, gadgets, travel and food.
Upasana tied up with the National Association for Blind in Mumbai to print the magazine but she is clear, this is not a charity venture. White Print has adopted a subscription based model but Upasana says she is banking on advertising to generate a bulk of the revenues even though it has been a challenge to get corporates to sign up.
Upasana Makati says "Braille advertising is something that has not been tried before in our country and for the first time we are reaching out to companies to advertise with us in Braille.
There have been a lot of doubts whether there will be images, whether they will be coloured, whether there will be a particular language that we could change text in and that has been a major concern. This is because advertising till today has been all about graphics and elabourate images and very fancy colours that have been used but with White Print and Braille that is not the thing. So that is the main challenge we face while approaching to any company for advertising with us."
The distinctiveness of the idea has attracted regular contributions from journalists like Barkha Dutt, freelance columnists and even friends at absolutely no cost.
Working with the team of seven, Upasana has already chopped up plans to launch another niche magazine in five years.
"With White Print we would like to reach out to the maximum number of people. There are 56 lakh visually impaired people in the country who are literate, they know Braille. So our first aim in the next coming years would be to reach out to maximum number of people. Once that is set, we would love to come up with a magazine once again maybe with a different topic or different area of interest that we would like to explore," Makati adds.