Penwalas :Sibling team climbing the steep business slope in entrepreneurial India; Fueling your artistic flame without burning a hole in your pockets!


A classical Greek philosophical standpoint suggests that life imitates art much more than art imitates life. The Penwalas have unknowingly contributed to this standpoint; what began as a very essential part of the childhoods of Zaynab and Hussain – a love for stationery and the endless creative possibilities it allows one to explore – eventually culminated in to a special arts and crafts section of their long run family business – ‘Penwalas’.

Art is simply an expression of self, when we create something – art or otherwise – we express not only how we feel about a specific piece but show a glimpse of ourselves in our art. The Penwalas have carefully nurtured this proposition and woven it into their way of work. With the objective of enabling individuals of all ages, all backgrounds, different levels of artistic experience to create something of their own they’ve ensured a wide range of options and products – for beginners and intermediate levels alike – keeping cost efficiency and quality control at the forefront.

This sibling team is a true example of converting your passion into a vision and sharing that vision. Hailing from a family that has run a stationary store for over two decades, they took their experience and observations and immersed themselves into expanding their family business while exploring a special arts category. One of the pioneer small businesses providing epoxy, jesmonite and multiple other special craft materials, they took a strong risk on exploring a fresh market but with their planning, determination and most importantly their ceaseless hard work and passion, they grew their own business while helping countless small artists dabble in new and exciting forms of art.

Any number of gigantic and well established companies have taken a big hit due to the Covid pandemic; one can only imagine the avalachaning effect it has had on the small businesses. The family stationery business in the Penwala household was no exception to this wave of downturn. Times like this is when the most humble and inexperienced minds gather their courage and do something unexpected – just like Zaynab and Hussain did. The sibling team has a humble background; with Zaynab having completed her Bachelors in Science and being employed at a part time job and Hussain still in college while simultaneously lending a hand in the family business since a rather young age of 16. Between them, they perhaps had ¼ of the knowledge not to mention time one should be allowed before setting up a business. However, whatever they lacked with regard to experience and time they more than made up for in sheer courage and determination.

At the starting point of the Penwalas store the products were delivered by hand by Hussain himself, nothing but the cycle he rode with him. Zaynab put herself into the business end of the job – pouring herself into developing an Instagram page showcasing their products. The pressure was high – Covid did not seem to be easing up and the family business had taken a hit – but their spirits were higher. Overtime as their hard work bore fruit they started to reach people across India – covering the East to the West, the remote regions, the small towns and big cities alike.

Steadily the Penwalas have built a strong and loyal customer base with artists from even metropolitan cities still counting on their small store to supply all their art needs! The rule they follow is simple – send out products that they themselves would and do use. Quality control is of major importance at the Penwalas – an absolute non-negotiable. With ensuring the products they send out are immaculate they also understand that price point is a massive deciding point for a lot of people that hinders their artistic endeavors. With an aim to enable even the smallest of artistic flames they ensure their prices are met by the budgets of their customers. A lot of work and time goes into ensuring all the materials are of a high quality and an inversely low price but with the passion Zaynab and Hussain harbour – you’ll never hear them complain.

The product range is rather varied and even more so rare – foreign brand like Sharpie, Sakura, Steadtler and special products like UV Resin, dry pressed flowers, wax, paints, moulds and really, anything you can think of when one says ‘art’. Recognising their role as entrepreneurs in a developing economy as India’s, they never lose sight of their duties towards customers, citizens and the economy alike. Most recently they envisaged this through a fundraiser for full Blood Profile tests for individuals from income groups that were inaccessible to health care. The funds were utilized for standard blood tests including a lipid profile, sugar levels and other blood related extractions and tests while also performing certain dental procedures. Medication, camp set up and basic medical infrastructure was also funded through this crowd funding initiative by the Penwalas.

Heres a small glimpse into the camp-

Plan of Action discussion – Doctors and Penwala team (Zaynab Fakhruddhin Penwala & Hussain Fakhruddhin Penwala)
Zaynab helping out Dr. Chhatriwala during a dental procedure.
Blood extraction for one of the individuals.
Dr. Chhatriwala, Dr. Tanna, Zaynab Penwala, Mrs.Fatema Chhatriwala and team members at the Medical Camp sight.

Currently catering to nearly 30+ orders daily, the Penwalas only aim to keep working at growing their business and reaching each individual out there, enabling to explore art in their own way. The new website launch and addition of a whole new product line is to be followed by a in-house product manufactured line! The sky’s the only limit for the Penwalas – and with their small store bringing out the flamboyant artist in each of us – your art is limited to nothing short of reaching the sky! A prime example of passion, dedication, good business sense accompanied by a strong social sense – the Penwalas serve as an inspiration to all.

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