Your friendly neighbourhood entrepreneur

From designing jewellery to crafting packaging material to conducting innovative workshops for the neighbourhood’s children, many homemakers run home-based businesses.

Packing lunchboxes, running the kitchen, checking homework, these are but a few tasks for a homemaker. But what if you add to all this, a thriving home business? For creative women like Debika Chowdhury and Meenal Jindal, whose earlier professional avatars were completely different from what they do now, running their businesses from home is also an outlet for their love for art and craft. It also ensures that they have enough time for the family on their hands and are able to give their best in terms of energy and time to both home and work.

Meet the women

L&T South City resident Meenal was interested in art and craft since childhood. I enjoy it, says Meenal, who wanted to do fine arts in college but gave in to family wishes and did engineering instead. After a year of leaving her job to become a full-time mother, Meenal decided that she needed to do something that she enjoyed at least for a short while every day.

Meena Jindal

Meenal Jindal with her craft class students. Courtesy: Meena Jindal

“I have been holding craft classes at home for children in my apartment complex,” adds this Banerghatta Road resident. She is constantly innovating and doing new things in her classes to make them interesting for kids, be it origami or ‘best out of waste,’  paper craft or clay modelling. She also plans to hold ‘Fun with Science’ classes this Dussera holidays.

JP Nagar resident Shanta Lakshman is multi faceted. Name a craft and chances are that she’s an expert in it. Art was a childhood obsession for 52-year-old Shanta, who has been conducting art classes at home for 14 years now and holds exhibitions of her work. Shanta completed a two-year diploma from Kalamandir School of Arts in Basavanagudi. “My areas of expertise include candle making, ceramic painting, rangoli designs, sketching, painting, stained glass painting,” says Shanta, who runs a art and craft class called Jazzy Art Class and also takes orders for special occasions like weddings.

Shanta’s zest for art and craft is matched by Debika Chowdhury, a young homemaker and mother of a five-year-old. Long hours at work compelled this Brigade Millennium resident to quit her job. The former HR recruiter now runs a home business called ‘The Jewel in You’; she paints sarees and does artwork on fabric. She has been in business for three years now. Debika mainly works with cotton, tussar and silk sarees. She also takes classes in painting, drawing, craft and glass painting and holds exhibitions in apartments and IT firms. In an effort to provide her clients something out of the ordinary, Debika also makes bead and silver jewellery that complement her saree creations.

Helping hand

Managing a home along with an enterprise of your own is not easy. Most women Citizen Matters spoke to, have young school-going children. Arranging exhibitions or meetings often means coordinating with the kids’ school timings and holidays. For most it is family support and time management that does the trick. Twenty-eight-year-old mother of two children aged seven and two, Jhumer Agarwal, credits her husband’s support for her successful business. Jhumer sells in silk furnishings from home and started off with the support of her husband who is into silk exports. She deals with silk bedspreads, cushion covers, comforters and draperies. Jhumer feels it’s sheer determination to do something that led her to overcome the challenge of taking care of small children and managing a home business.

Shanta Lakshman

Shanta Lakshman and her creations. Pic: Meera K.

Deepa Nikhila of Vishesha Crafts too credits family support for the success of her speciality packaging business that deals with handmade paper and recycled materials. “I started this packaging business in 2004 as a hobby and also to utilise my spare time for something interesting,” she says, adding that in a while the hobby gradually took the form of a small scale enterprise. It required balancing her time for family with her work timings but five years down the line, Deepa feels she has succeeded.

Another JP Nagar based fashion designer, Ravi Bala, spends around two to three hours a day on work when the kids go to school. She sells her own handmade jewellery and designs western and Indian ethnic clothing for women. She also sells Tupperware products from home. Her motivation factor is meeting and networking with different people. It’s something she enjoys and hopes would be useful for her plans of opening her own boutique.

A Success Story

Poornima S Prasad, residing on Bannerghatta Road, runs Terrabarn which manufactures terracotta jewellery and artifacts. She has been doing this for the last eight years and now has a small unit employing five people. Poornima credits her mother with her interest in art. Initially, she made murals and artifacts but realized the demand for terracotta jewelry was more and started doing mainly that. “Too much diversion can make you lose focus,” she feels. Poornima’s reputation spread word of mouth, she now works on order basis and also supplies to few retail outlets in different cities. ⊕

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