Vandana Katoch launches her own agency ‘Clayground’ in Delhi !

Vandana Katoch, former Creative Director of DDB Mudra, recently launched her own agency ‘Clayground’. She quit DDB Mudra in April 2012 to start her own Delhi based venture. She works with a team presently comprising of four people and is looking at expanding this number soon. Her first client is the Jaypee Group with whom she has been associated for quite a while now. She is looking forward to doing their projects across different verticals.
According to her she came up with the unique name for her agency because of her belief that creativity which is an insight should be enjoyed. Hence her philosophy that though creation maybe playful, at the heart of it one finds  substance.
Adgully caught up with Vandana to learn more about her new venture, her philosophy on life, hobbies etc. This is what she had to say:
Vandana spoke about her creative agency and how she came to name it ‘Clayground’. She explained that the name is a toss up between the words ‘clay’ and ‘playground’. Clay denotes substance and playground denotes fun. So in other words it means the combination of these two words whereby substance is mixed with fun.  “The name is a toss-up between the words ‘clay’ and ‘playground’ – in other words, substance mixed with fun. We’d like to build Clayground as a place where the process of creation is playful, while at the heart of it is something solid. For me, creativity begins with a truth or an insight and then one plays with it and enjoys the process. If either is missing, the work doesn’t tick,” said Vandana.
Her views on creativity are diverse. She said that it may sound like a cliché but she believes that everyone is creative it is just that they are not aware of their creative nature. She says, “The housewife who arranges the steel bowls in a perfect pyramid in her kitchen, the executive who invents convincing excuses every day for coming in late to office, the hawker who creates a musical call to sell his wares… they’re all creative. Creativity for me is that special quality that you bring to whatever you do. What is it that is uniquely and refreshingly yours? That is what makes you creative.” Her principle is that more observant you are of life around you, the more creative you become.
Vandana Katoch started her own enterprise to become an entrepreneur and gave up her high profile job. The reason for this she said, “Even after spending so many years in the industry I was still enjoying every bit of it. The idea of starting something of my own was brewing in my head for a while, but in an I’ll-do-it-one-day kind of way. Then an opportunity presented itself and I decided to take the plunge.”
When asked to share her philosophy on life she said, “I’m a little wary of big words like ‘philosophy’ since they tend to define things and set boundaries. I like to free-flow. I trust life. I try not to judge people or put them in boxes of good and bad. I believe in the power of nature and try to make time for it even in the big city life.” She prefers to go for a morning walk in the park than spend time on a treadmill in the gym. She also thinks that it is important to befriend oneself and spend some time alone. She went on to say, “I could go on and on and start sounding all flouncy and self-help book like! You could say I have an Osho-esqe outlook towards life.” She also believes that life is a big teacher and one learns and unlearns from one’s various experiences in life.
Vandana’s experience of 15 years in the industry has been a long journey and has paved the way for her. When asked how this experience would help to establish herself as an entrepreneur she said, “Well, experience counts a fair deal but only to a point. Entrepreneurship, as I am discovering, is a lot about new learning. Of course, a 15-year experience gives you a more holistic understanding of the objectives at hand it. It helps hone your skills. You have a sharper eye for picking out the good ideas. You’ve built strong professional relationships. All that is great and will hold you in good stead.” But according to her the truth is, when you turn entrepreneur it’s not like starting a new chapter. It is starting a whole new book! And there is so much to learn. She finds that insanely exciting and at times overwhelming! “Of course you dig into your resources of experience but you have to be honest enough to admit that you’re a newbie once again.” she said.
With regard to future plans for her agency she said that she lives for the present so while there is a broad plan for the future. She said that expanding services, building teams etc are on the agenda but the focus at the moment is on giving their all to the jobs at hand. It’s a huge opportunity and they would like to build on what they have today.
She is not into any particular genre of books but she does enjoy reading ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ as much as ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ as much as ‘Life’s Truths’. Where  hobbies and leisure time is concerned she spends her time with her two growing boys so leisure time means playing with them in them in the park. Dancing too relaxes her and she considers it her favourite form of expression. It could be in a dance class, a pub or her bedroom. She is comfortable dancing in any surroundings. Vandana says, “Of late I’ve got hooked on to Sudoku. I’m not very fast yet, but it’s terribly addictive!”
Did she have any mentors who she can look upto even today who shaped her life and career. To this she said, “There have been many along the way from whom I have learnt some priceless things. Mrs Syeda Imam charmingly showed that it is possible to balance work and family.” From Umesh Srikhande, a man with quiet confidence, she learnt the importance of focusing one’s energies on building rather than battling. She also remembers Nandu Narsimhan as a person who was fantastic at selling right-brain ideas by backing them with left-brain logic. “And there have been others from whom I have picked up nuggets along the way.” said Vandana Katoch.
Interview Credit :
Posted with permission from Vandana Katoch by 

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