Spare time or vacations can run the risk of endless television watching and inadvertently turning us into couch potatoes. But for 25-year-old Vaishnavi Siddharth a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering proved otherwise.
Inspired by some handmade jewellery by a cousin she took to designing some of her own before joining work that planted the idea of started her own handmade fashion jewellery line called Maaya.
Her designs and fashion jewellery are ideal for gifting a sister for Raksha Bandhan and are a sure hit among school and college girls who don’t have to shell out a fortune to sport vibrant and funky jewellery. The Lifestyle Portal liked the simple, neat and clean designs which can easily be complimented with western and Indian outfits both at work and home.
How did it all begin?
She decided to pass her time by making jewellery from stones and beads and selling them to family and friends, which further helped her to buy more raw materials.
“Slowly, it evolved as a part time business and I ventured into making earrings, neckpieces, bracelets, bangles and anklets and it has continued since then,” recalls Vaishnavi
Even though she’s had no formal training in this art form, Vaishnavi learnt the basics from her relative and then completely relied on self-learning. Now having completed more than four years in this hobby art, she feels pretty confident about her work.
She started her hobby based venture with an initial investment of around INR 300. “The basic raw materials were gifted by my sister. I had good reviews for the first few products that I created and hence I reinvested the returns for buying new raw materials,” adds Vaishnavi.
But with the help from her family, she has been able to balance it all so far.
What makes Maaya so unique?
Vaishnavi feels, “I make just one piece of each design as I prefer quality over quantity. So, whenever I design a piece until I am completely satisfied and like it, I will not sell it. Unless I like the article, I would never be able to convince others. Sometimes designing a piece may take a lot of time, especially the paper jewellery where a single pair of earrings might take an hour or so, but that’ s when hard work pays and you get some lovely designs,”
Types of Handcrafted Jewellery
You can find earrings, neckpieces, bracelets and anklets from various materials like crystals, beads, pearls, glass beads and studded stones. She also uses quilled paper and wooden beads to make earrings and neckpieces.
“I buy most of my raw materials from an art and craft store near my house in Chennai. The quality of the materials bought from this shop is very good and hence I have never had the need to look at other shops,” adds Vaishnavi.
The marketing started with word of mouth by friends and relatives and now she has decided to take this to the next level and start an e-shop.
Vaishnavi has created a Facebook page and also registered with online marketing platforms to sell her products online.
Vaishnavi provides some tips on maintaining the jewellery bought from her. One should ensure that the jewellery does not get exposed to water. The pieces should be kept carefully secured in boxes. Also, depending on the type of material, each requires special care.
“For example, paper jewellery have been varnished by me to make them water resistant but they are not waterproof, so one must be very careful to not spoil them and when you take the case of stone jewellery, you should store it in a box with a cloth or cotton underneath to prevent damage,” explains Vaishnavi.
“I currently live in a township near Chennai where we have had a fest for showcasing/selling our handicraft and food items last year. I had put up a stall to sell my handmade jewellery and received a tremendous response for it,” beams Vaishnavi.
Now that she has decided to start an e-shop, she plans on making it a successful venture. She also hopes to increase her client base and ensure complete customer satisfaction.
She concludes, “With respect to jewellery making, I would like experiment with other kinds of beads and try my hand in terracotta jewellery as well!”
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