Success Stories

Bona Dea – Romancing with terracotta jewellery

Ambika: Exquisite handcrafted terracotta jewellery - by Ritu Thapar
Ambika: Exquisitely handcrafted terracotta jewellery – by Ritu Thapar

As consumers, we’re gradually moving into all things handmade, handcrafted and homemade. We’re happy to see that the world is being more receptive to handmade things that connect a direct emotional chord with us.

In spite of the lustrous, shiny and alluring gold, silver and other precious jewellery, here’s one jewellery art form that’s humbly paving its way through the hearts of people – the terracotta handmade jewellery.

In our journey for searching for inspirational entrepreneurial stories, we chanced upon Ritu Thapar, a Delhi-based corporate professional turned mompreneur and the Founder of Bona Dea.

Here’s her journey of how corporate career, motherhood and domesticity brought out the entrepreneur in her. Read on…

The master craftsman & Founder of Bona Dea – Ritu Thapar
The master craftsman & Founder of Bona Dea – Ritu Thapar

When did it all begin?

“I was working with Reliance Communications when I had my daughter; thereafter I worked for about a year, but due to a very hectic schedule, I gave up my job to look after her. I was on a sabbatical for nearly 2.5 years after that. One of my close friends inspired me to go back to working whether it was part-time, work from home or my own venture. I tried very hard to look for a part time job but in India, at that time there was no concept of part time work or work from home way back in 2009,” recalls Ritu.

She remembers seeing some beautiful Terracotta Jewellery at one of the fairs in Delhi and had bought one for the lark of it. While rummaging through her drawers, she saw these Terracotta Earrings and something just struck with her that she wished she could make these and that fleeting thought gave way to her entrepreneurial journey.

At one point in time, while looking for an art teacher for her daughter, Ritu met a lady who had was Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (BFA) and had learnt this art form from her father – in – law. “As luck would have it she agreed immediately to teach me. I used to drive 40 kms to and fro every day to learn from her and spent 6 months learning from her. After that, I started making this jewellery but since it is a lengthy process, I realised that to make it on a mass scale I needed help and hence taught seven more ladies who now work with me,” adds Ritu.

Add a touch of charm with Madhulika - handcrafted by Ritu Thapar
Add a touch of charm with Madhulika – handcrafted by Ritu Thapar

Initial investments made

Ritu started with an initial investment of Rs. 50,000/- and after that, she started approaching websites, shops, boutiques and exporters. With time her work has grown and now it has diversified into wooden jewellery and beaded jewellery also.

“I have named my venture Bona Dea which is the name of a Roman Semi – Goddess; she is the goddess of prosperity and abundance,” smiles Ritu.

Challenges faced

She further adds, “Since my work is very labour intensive, I do face labour related issues with a lot of workers who don’t deliver on time or just not turning up for work. When such a crisis takes place, I have to finish the pending work myself. Substantial time goes in marketing the product, developing new products because production and marketing have to go hand in hand.”

Products available

The different types of jewellery are Terracotta Jewellery, Wooden Jewellery and Glass beaded Jewellery. For Terracotta Jewellery the raw material is clay, for wooden as the name suggests is raw wood and for beaded jewellery, the raw material comes from the wholesale market.

The price range varies depending on the intricacy of the work done on the piece of the jewellery. “Initially I used to give numerical product codes for the jewellery pieces but I could not remember the same hence the unique product names were devised by me so that I could remember the jewellery whenever somebody spoke to me about them,” laughs Ritu.

It is interesting to note that her daughter who in spite of being so small when Ritu launched her business, always appreciated her work and even as a child of 4-years would make a drawing and bring it to her saying, “Look Ma, I made a design for you.”

Marisha - Beauty in Blue & Gold - Handcrafted by Ritu Thapar
Marisha – Beauty in Blue & Gold – Handcrafted by Ritu Thapar

Promotions & exhibitions

Ritu has taken part in some fairs, which deal with handcrafted items like Dastkar, etc. In fact, she’s also a paid member of some B2B portals from which she gets business queries which she further takes it forward. Last but not the least through word of mouth and a lot of customer loyalty, and huge volumes of repeat buyers that have helped her expand her business.

She further adds, “ I made a very positive effort to venture into the international arena as I feel that India has so much to offer in terms arts and crafts. My best efforts are to promote as much of Indian handcrafted jewellery as I can. Apart from four top international e-commerce platforms, some of the domestic platforms that I sell on are Craftisan, Wow Trendy, and I would like to expand my scope of work and take it beyond the shores of our country.”

Signing off Ritu adds, “I would like to mention that it was only because of the undaunted support of my parents who looked after my daughter when I was busy and the constant support of my husband who always motivated me to do something and not be idle at home that I managed to do what I am doing. I could not have done what I am doing if my parents and husband did not support me.”

Mor Pankh Ganeshji - handcrafted by Ritu Thapar
Mor Pankh Ganeshji – handcrafted by Ritu Thapar

Get in touch with Ritu Thapar:


Mobile No: +91-9350835139

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The Lifestyle Portal

Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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