Would you tell us about Yourself, Your Journey, Initial Struggle?
Hello! I am Shalima Motial, Founder and CEO of Dream Catchers Vision Pvt Ltd, an events company based in Singapore. True to its name Dream Catchers has caught the dreams of many through the niche events held under it! We have given stage and voice to many artists and entrepreneurs. We have organized scores of nationwide contests and events which were all designed to celebrate the talent of artists of all ages, nationalities and from all walks of life. A few of these events have been put together in partnership with leading TV channels such as ZeeTV and aired for millions to view. After basking in the success of the contests and events that we were very blessed to achieve, we decided it was time to venture into Theatre Productions and Short Film productions also alongside the events we do. These new adventures are just as rewarding as our initial ones.
About me, well I am a positive, driven and passionate person. The eldest of 3 siblings, I was always a responsible kid growing up. My father was in the Indian Air force, so I did 13 years of schooling in 8 different schools all over India. This makes one easygoing and more adaptable to situations, places and people in life. I started my journey as a Fashion Coordinator with Vogue Setters right after I completed my Fashion Designing. Soon after I joined Airlines as a "Cabin Crew". I was independent at the age of 20. I did my Post Graduation from Annamalai University. After the flying experience, I joined Perfect Relations and learnt a lot
about handling Media Relations. Post this experience, I got the opportunity to start a placement company "Stepping Stones" and dived into this field without any prior experience in it. I always believed in the "No Harm Trying" slogan for my life. I ran the business successfully for 3 and half years and then moved to Singapore. Meanwhile, I did my Masters degree in English Literature, also did Business Management from NACOLAM.
The initial struggle I faced was to make people understand the concept of Dream Catchers. Like anything new, it takes a lot of energy to explain what we were trying to achieve and provide through our platform. It took a lot of perseverance and hard work to carry on relentlessly on a path that was so new and unchartered. Ensuring that the business was cash-flow positive was a priority and after some trials, I did come across the right combination of events that would drive revenue. On the other side, I forged partnerships that both sides could leverage and save costs while sharing revenue.
How do you stay on top of changes in the process, changes in thought of industries that you are going to look at more now?
You always have to adapt and tweak your approach till you find the right combination that creates audience delight while being profitable. In the beginning, my vision was to create a global online platform, somewhat like an American Idol,
but Online. Over time I realized that spreading too thin with global online events did not hold audience engagement. So I began to focus more on our home country Singapore. We started combing online with onstage engagement and that drove high interest. We began to attract local talent and local sponsors. This helped us put scores of events together, most of which were produced and funded by Dream Catchers. As time moved on I was fortunate to find strong partners who would collaborate to co-produce an event. This allowed us to amplify our reach while sharing the risk and rewards. A recent example of that is “Superstars Singapore” which is co-funded and co-produced by Dream Catchers and Zee TV. This program helped over 200 artists showcase their talent on TV to an audience of over 12 million in 18 countries.
A couple of years ago, we diversified into Theatre productions and ran two successful theatre productions with over sixty artists and crew. When the pandemic hit us, we had to adapt and Dream Catchers began to focus on Short Films. So these were some example of how we’ve been working to stay on top of the changes happening around us all the time.
We were lucky to claim our place in the Singaporean market base thanks to the power and speed of word of mouth. When the world started moving faster we moved just as fast, shifting our marketing strategy to social media. This is what
helped us establish our brand image as it increased our searchability and made it easier to market our artists to a wider audience as well.
What incident had most influenced your career choice?
I am a hobbyist dancer and actor. I live in a condominium in Singapore where several enthusiastic adults would all get together and put up a show once a year. That’s when I realised, there are so many passionate but unfulfilled actors, dancers and singers living their dream of performing on stage through this once a year opportunity. That motivated me to start Dream Catchers and provide a platform to the artist inside of a corporate professional, a homemaker or an Entrepreneur who feel they have missed the boat but still have the fire burning within.
What/Who Inspires Dream Catchers Vision to come up with a unique platform about gathering Musicians in one place?
After living in Singapore for about 8 years, I felt the need to perform on stage. I felt that the one thing this beautiful country needed more of, was a platform for artists to showcase their singing, acting and dancing talents on an ongoing basis. Especially adults. While students still get an opportunity at school and university to perform, but adults who were either working or taking care of the home did not have a forum. With that in mind, I decided to create a platform through Dream Catchers! I hoped for Dream Catchers to act as a stepping stone for artists in their
journey to discovery. Our social media presence enabled us to extend our reach to international artists through our online contests as well. When a job/event is well done and you have the interest of others before your own in mind, it’s bound to be a success. When people talk about how good your platform is and how it changed their life, there is no other gratification that can beat that. This has been our inspiration to keep on going.
As grace would have it, Dream Catchers evolved to empowering not only artists but also women. Through our platforms such as Runway Mom and I Venture we helped scores of women embrace their true inner beauty and ignite entrepreneurship.
What kind of support you needed when you started Dream Catchers Vision?
As with any new business you need a word to spread and grow while staying cash positive. In the beginning, we invested funds to drive traffic and interest. There was a learning curve and over time we learnt that focussed events arrived at the best combination of active participation and funding support from interested sponsors. Eventually, the platform grew bigger with a lot of collaborations with bigger companies and artists started realising the value of Dream Catchers. So hard work and perseverance paid off.
What are your views on today’s industry scenario? What is your strategy to reach new people?
We’re very grateful that the Singaporean Government is doing a fabulous job of containing the spread of COVID-19 on the island. As a part of these precautionary measures a maximum of 8 then 5 and now 2 people are allowed to gather. This puts a pause on events like our own. In my personal opinion, it will be a couple of years before we will have large events with a packed audience. In order to keep adapting and innovating through these times, we have diversified into short films so that we can entertain and get closer to our audiences, from afar! We hoped to connect to our audience and provide a voice to some key and hard topics such as depression and domestic violence to let them know they’re not alone in their struggle.
How does Dream Catchers Vision work on making mankind better? & What can be expected from Dream Catchers Vision in the upcoming years?
We believe happy people make society a happy place to live in. When people feel they are able to live their dreams irrespective of age, they are happy. That, in our own small way, is our contribution to making mankind better. Dream Catchers has provided a platform to local artists by collaborating with companies that brought in big names like Farhan Akhtar, Salim Sulaiman, Harshdeep Kaur, Javed Ali and
many more. Some of these events have been broadcasted on prominent channels such as ZeeTV to audiences in Asia, the Middle East, Canada and the Americas. Our theatre productions such as ‘Timeless Tales’ have also encouraged thespians to embrace their talent for all of Singapore to enjoy.
Through our 5 successful seasons of Runway Mom and Runway Lovers, we have been able to empower women of all backgrounds. Runway Mom is an inclusive platform for women to walk the fashion ramp with their children, husband, family, or even by themselves and make lifetime memories. These events are non-competitive and are welcoming of all women. Similarly, we worked together with Zee TV to co-produce IVenture to empower entrepreneurs of Singapore by connecting them.
We started producing short films with the intent to raise awareness on some key social issues. This is our best example of a direct way in which we are trying to make mankind better.
Dream Catchers is dedicated to providing a platform to all performing artists across age groups through our various “Niche Events” and we will continue to do so. We are always looking for a gap in the market to fulfil so we stay different and unique.
How do you keep up with the latest technology/resources advances?
We adapt and learn and re-learn. I believe in being a student of life. I extensively use social media to advertise any new events and films we have launched. Initially, most of my work was on Facebook. Over the last couple of years, I have been leveraging the power of YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. I attended short film making courses as well as acting courses to hone my skills. This is to help me identify and empathise with the needs of the artists I am trying to support.
How do you evaluate success?
Putting a smile on someone’s face is my measure of success. Several artists have told us that they rekindled their passion thanks to our platform. Similarly, we helped a few individuals kindle their passion to be an entrepreneur and start their venture. What I have learned is that hard work, perseverance, and keeping people’s best interests in mind always helps in the pursuit of success. I believe that when you have your heart in the right place, everything works in our collective interest. Dream Catchers has been the most beautiful manifestation of my pursuit of success and I hope that we will continue on this path for a long time, God willing.