My Mother’s Struggles Made Me Realise The Need To Appreciate Art
Where It All Began
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who had a very talented mother. The mother was a wonderful designer, seamstress, cook, musician and much much more. She would spend most of her leisure time at her sewing machine, making dresses for her children.
The little girl loved her mother's efforts but would crave for the glossier clothes displayed in shops. She would often refuse to wear frocks that her mother made, saying that they were 'not smart' like the other children's clothes. She wanted to 'fit in', not stand out, like a sore thumb.
Then she grew up, flew away from the nest and made her own home. She began to realise what a privileged childhood she had had, and how frivolously she had rejected her mother's labours of love.
She also began to understand the other valuable lesson that her mother had tried to instil in her that,
Fashion is not about wearing what everyone else is wearing. It is about being your own unique, wonderful, creative self.
One day, she went to a craft exhibition where she saw the same shoddy treatment being meted out to artisans and weavers by buyers, as her mother had received from her. They were saying, “This is too crude. Why are you charging so much for it?” They were simply unable to grasp the effort and love that was going into the making of these lovely articles.
That little girl was me, of course, and that is where the GiftPiper journey began.
What Is GiftPiper?
GiftPiper is a crusade to promote handmade Indian products. Our products are all handpicked, are of great quality and made by skilled artisans from various nooks and corners of India. We celebrate India’s tremendous heritage and help in supporting a number of weaver and artisan communities.
We try to make our customers aware of the history and the workmanship behind every product for them to know and understand that they are not only buying something beautiful and elegant, but also something that is a piece of our heritage.
No Fun Without Challenges
I am an engineer and an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and was working as a brand strategy consultant before I started my business. I had no background or training in fashion, except growing up watching my mother in action. What’s more? I had no experience in retail. All of which means getting started was quite a challenge.
Also, I wanted to run the business as a pilot project with as low an investment as possible, so initially I did everything myself - right from sourcing products, to making my website, to product photography, to order packing and dispatching. It was quite arduous but every moment was all about tremendous learning and joy.
The smile we bring to people’s faces when they receive a beautiful GiftPiper product, and the support we are able to give to artisan communities is the reward which makes me jump out of bed every morning.
The complete and unquestioning support from my entire family keeps me steaming ahead.
Where Do We Stand Today
We have moved far ahead from the one person show GiftPiper was. Our operations are managed by a team of passionate young women. The 3 senior-most members are from a village in West Bengal - girls who broke the shackles of a limited education and restricting environs to come into their own, with GiftPiper. This awesome team manages the entire process from clicking product pics, to publishing them online, to packing orders, to handling customer queries.
GiftPiper is much more than a crusade to promote handmade products. It is about finding myself and going back to my roots.
And it is an effort to reach out to all the kindred souls out there - women for whom fashion is about being authentic and not about fitting in, but about expressing their uniqueness. So here’s a shout out to all such women - waiting to hear from you.
This personal narrative is written by Richa Pandey, Founder of GiftPiper. Her story is a part of our ‘Women Entrepreneurs’ series. Richa was our guest moderator for the Fashion & Lifestyle community wherein she helped answer the questions by community members, shared her experiences and her inspiring journey. Come, be a part of the SHEROES community and connect with like-minded women.