Mrs B Bhuvaneswari started her business with her husband, Krishnamoorthy, who was a social worker before he ventured out. They are for sure, “enjoying this experience”. She shares with Shree Lahiri, how the whole started, the challenges faced, opportunities and more….Without any hesitation, she endorses that “the person who is working enthusiastically, is the one who gets all the sweetness at the end”!
- How did you start this business?
We started in 2012, in the handicrafts sector. Our beginning
started through the NGO – Rural Education for Action and Change at Tirupati,
Andhra Pradesh. We were organizing skill upgradation training for different
artisans on products like terracotta pottery, banjara embroidery, kalamkari
paintings, appliqué work, bamboo items and so on. We were promoting small
production efforts at the village level. We also started a showroom at Tirupati
and also went on to participate in exhibitions.
The first four years, we concentrated on village artisans to create production centres. Today we have six production centres set up.
- Where did the funding come from?
For upgradation, we took funds from the Ministry of Textiles
and from the district level government funds – District level Rural Development
In Tirupati, there is a “shilparamam”, like Dilli Haat in Delhi, where the state government allots stalls at concssetional rates and we took one stall and put our products for sale.
- What were some challenges you faced?
Our day-to-day customers want new designs and innovative level of products. At the village level, this really tough. Then there is the competition between plastic goods and machine made goods. Machine made goods are made in bulk and cost less than hand made products, where the cost is high.
- What about any training you conducted?
When training new artisans, it is impossible for them to learn. If they are from a family of artisans, it is easy, otherwise training unemployed youth is a waste!
- Are you selling online?
There are a lot of problems selling online. One person may order, but the payment is made on receiving. Tracking the sale is difficult. Some may bargain or say it is not ok, after receiving the goods. So it’s not clear whether they will pay or not!
- How big is your team and how do you stay inspired?
We are four members – me and my husband, and two other people. We have got our day-to-day sales increased. This is encouraging. But competition is very much there. Customers are interested in buying hand-made products, and we have to work hard to push ahead.
- Would you need any further training to improve?
Yes, definitely, we will welcome that.
- Where do see your business three years later?
Currently our monthly business is reasonably good. We hope to double our sales, in the next three years!