Art & craft, like any other child, was simply a part of school for me as well. Drawing was never my forte & cutting was dreadful! Creativity was back then a dormant talent of mine till I stepped into college where I came across a campaign promoting environmental causes & I became a part of it. Creating banners & posters was all I did & somewhere along I decided that this was what I wanted to do all my life – do my bit for the environment. I’m thankful to my mother too who always pushed me to utilize the holidays to learn something that interests me. That lead me to take up plenty hobby classes in the arts & crafts. A short stint of studying different arts at the Nirmala Niketan institute drew me more towards being creative. And since then there’s been no looking back.
I believe knowledge & skill can be preserved only when shared & hence I took up teaching art & craft to small children, friends, etc. in my free time during college. Gradually the number of students started increasing and I used this opportunity to create awareness about the environment too. At the workshops we started the concept of best out of waste. Post marriage I continued with the workshops but since I had moved base it took a while to let people know about my work. My husband suggested that I take up a job and taste a bit of corporate life too. My market research job was a simple 9 to 5 desk job which allowed me to pursue my workshop over the weekends. Doing a job opened up a lot of networking doors for me and also taught me organizational & managerial skills alongwith different social interaction. About 3 years later the creative me couldn’t continue with the monotony, apart from the fact that I started conducting more workshops as well. One fine day I quit my job and decided to focus & expand on the workshops 24×7. Today I run a bag making enterprise, art & craft workshops for children and art therapy workshops for adults.
A chance encounter with a fair trade organization promoting the use of upcycled & organic cloth bags got my interest in upcycling cloth. One visit to the local tailors to enquire about their fabric waste lead me to upcycle these unused fabrics by them and turn them into utility products like handbags or home products. Showcasing these products to friends & family was a good start as they loved the concept and the products. Through word of mouth and showcasing at flea markets or events I realized people responded amazingly well at handmade and upcycled products. A dozen events, e-commerce & retail selling and establishing private clients, its been a great 5 year journey & I hope to continue spreading the message of fashion with a cause to more people.
Although the journey has been steady, it hasn’t been a completely smooth ride. Quitting your job & hoping things will work out is no easy road, but I knew what I was getting into is a sustainable model. Your family firstly must be aware in detail of what you are doing as without their support it’s a half won battle. The time when I started there was no strong presence of social media and so you had to rely on your friends, family & word of mouth to advertise and market your brand. It took time but I knew I had to be patient. With the arrival of e-commerce, facebook, twitter and such media things to started picking up at a fast pace. But this also meant the big brands with financial support for advertising & marketing always had an advantage to reach out more. It only drove me to grab every opportunity that came my way to create awareness about my brand. But I always knew that my concept and the products will do the talking.
As an entrepreneur, designer, teacher and looking after your family & home it’s a 24×7 job. I make a schedule for the entire week and ensure I don’t take up more work than I can manage. But I’m thankful to my husband and my family without whose support I wouldn’t live my cause daily.
I strongly believe that everything we do has a purpose, sooner or later we do find out. And that destiny does not mean to wait around for things to happen but go out there and make them happen.
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