5-minutes with Aditi Shah, Founder & Creative Director, Butter Me Up
Mumbai-based Aditi Shah doesn’t have a favourite author or a favourite book and has a very good reason for that. “You can never ask a writer who their favourite author or what their favourite book is. In fact, you can never ask anybody that! My favourites change daily. Some days I’m very into biographies and other days I’m diving deep into self-care books, and then there’s days where I’m lapping up trashy novels. So, you see, my favourites change constantly. It’s all very mood-related for me.”
We caught up with Aditi on a sunny day in February to speak to her about her journey as a writer and to shoot her (and her cute pup, Mowgli) for our And Begin Again campaign. A lover of the written word, Aditi has been a writer for as long as she can remember. However, around two years ago, she had a moment when she realised that she wanted to make her sure the words she wrote were true to words her heart spoke. “I was freelancing as a writer for a really long period of time, really working my bum off. I was writing daily, but writing about things that I didn’t care too much for and for companies that weren’t ideal for me. I’d always wanted to be a writer and thought this was the only way to do it. But, after working 15/ 18/ 24 hours a day and being paid peanuts I decided I needed a change. Yes, I love writing and it’s what I’m passionate about, but there needs to be a better way to do this, I thought. That’s how I set up Butter Me Up. Just like that. It was pretty much overnight”, she says.
In its third year now, Butter Me Up is a boutique content creation and marketing agency with a team of four strong women with “extremely diverse personalities”. A quick scroll through the company’s website, however, will reveal a fifth team member; the Chief Cuddle Officer a position happily filled in by Mowgli, a regular on their social media channels.
For Aditi, setting up Butter Me Up was rather personal. “My passion has always been to write. Whenever I would tell someone I want to be a writer, their first response would automatically be, “Okay, that’s good. So, you plan to marry rich. Good luck to you”. Butter Me Up was started with a desire to change this mindset. I wanted to change how people looked at design and content; mainly written content. To create a space for writers and designers to cherish what they do. That said, there’s also a huge void today wherein people don’t understand the need for quality content. I wanted to address and deal with that too.”
Over the years, though, she and her team have adapted the company’s strategy to keep up with the times. A strategy that also serves as solid advice for writers and creative professionals alike. “These days, from a business standpoint you need a range of clients to be able to sustain your passion. It’s great to say everything runs on your passion, but I think its slightly different now. It’s not something I’m always happy about but it is also the need of the hour. We used to be really picky about who we wanted as clients but that’s changed. I say this to my team all the time – there’s a lot of work coming our way and it’s natural to not love everything. You need to tap into the fact that not only are you passionate about something but this is also something that you’ve chosen to do.”
What intrigued us about the company – after figuring out who the Chief Cuddle Officer was, of course – was the name. It’s fun and catchy, but what does it really mean? Aditi explains, “I always wanted it to be something random like Pink Elephant or Cheese & Chalk. Something that didn’t really connect to what I was the doing. I remember talking to my mother about it and she said, “Aditi, your tagline should be ‘It’s not all Greek’!” Anyway, one day after thinking for a while I thought of the phrase Butter Me Up and it just stuck - in terms of the use of the word, the pun behind it, everything. So, I rang my mother and told her I’ve decided on a name. She asked me what it was and I told her and she goes, “but your tagline still has to be ‘It’s not all Greek’”, so I told her I’ll work in it somewhere, and she said “Aditi! It sounds like a porn site, you can’t do this.””, she laughs before adding, “And I said okay, that’s one reason why people will come to us!”
Today Butter Me Up doesn’t have a tagline. But, it has a heavy portfolio of clients including brands like VH1, Adarsh Gill, Bollywood Music Project, OneUpWorks, Camelot and more.
From thinking she’d never be working for herself to coming this far, she and her team have achieved a lot. And while it takes up a lot of her time, leaving barely any time for her to write for herself, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “We’re an all-girls team and each one of us is very different from the other. It’s always been like that; our personalities are poles apart. But, I think that’s what really keeps us going. And to be fair, it’s so much more fun when it’s challenging like that!”, she smiles.