This Venture Is Helping Artisans Realize Their Value
‘The House of Artisans’ founder Shineel broke barriers, took risks, challenged the norms and paved her own path to success. In an up close and personal tête-à-tête, we spoke with the young prodigy about her entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about what inspired you to enter the business world?
I have a penchant for exclusivity. I have always wanted to have something that no one else did. I would go looking out for different things and understand where they come from.
I remember, once I wanted a Banarasi sari and I ended up going all the way to Banaras to understand the origin, visited local stores, met people, connected with them, heard their stories and then chose a piece.
For me, somehow it has always been so much more about the origin and the story that gives meaning to the product that just having a product without knowing anything about it.
Also, I have always loved the idea of serving others and to me, that is what business is all about! after launching my first venture at the age of 17, there was no looking back.
Was your family supportive of your business venture?
Let’s just say, they were hesitant. Coming from a corporate background to them working for a reputed brand in a good position was the definition of success. But I guess life had something else in store for me.
How was your experience of living independently and running a business at such a young age?
I have lived in Mumbai for the most part of my life with my family. So when I moved out, it was both exciting and scary at the same time. But, in the initial period when you are building a business, it consumes you to a point when you don’t really have any time, not even to be scared!
(Also Read about this Engineer From Bhilai Is Now Chasing Her Creative Dreams)
How was ‘The House of Artisans’ born?
‘The House of Artisans’ isn’t just a business for me it’s a thought, a way of life, a philosophy that I strongly believe in.
Well, it actually started with an accident. I was looking to make some unique packaging made for my existing business, but since I needed only a few pieces, none of the middlemen were willing to take the effort. And me being me, I wasn’t going to stop. So I found the people who would make it with their hands, this time, without the middlemen.
My interactions with these artisans is what led to the birth of ‘The House of Artisans’
Tell us more about your interaction with the artisans.
I spoke to the artisans from the alleys of the Pink City, Jaipur. I understood their work culture, I realized the challenges they faced and discovered that the creators of the most beautiful products in the world had no idea how much their work was valued in the outside world.
And of course, they were not being paid a fair price for their efforts and hard work.
I felt the need to do something, to do justice to the amazing products and to make the artisan realize the value of his work.
It was not as easy as it sounds though, The Artisans are accustomed to working with the ‘Seth’ (middle man) in their village. Usually, the Seth brings them orders at rock bottom price, but they prefer working with the ‘seth’ as he brings them bulk orders that keep them engaged for the whole month.
We figured out their work preference over time and now we have a smooth interaction with the artisan families.
We visited them regularly, swapped stories, shared ideas and won their trust. This trust is the building block on which a strong foundation for The House of Artisans is built
We started with 2 artisans and today there are 22 artisan families working with THOA. We have a great relationship with them, where we design and they make exclusive handmade masterpieces and we provide them with a deserving financial reward and stable work.
What was the biggest lesson you learned on the way?
There were many, but if I had to name one, I’d say - it is to be more human. People are at their best when they function out of their strengths when they work on things they enjoy and things that come to them naturally. That leads to happiness and happiness is the secret sauce for doing great work!
Treat humans as humans, not employees, customers, artisans, workers or resources.
Can you elaborate on the ethos behind THOA?
We connect the art lovers to the art creators of the world. The House of Artisans offers an array of unique handcrafted products made by artisans across the country. We personally work with artisans for curating extraordinary design elements that emanate craftsmanship.
We believe in being more human, We stand for celebrating the imperfections that come as proof of something being handmade.
Since every THOA product is purely handmade, we don’t promise our buyers a flawless product, but certainly a beautiful one.
Any message for the SHEROES Art, Craft & Photography community?
For artist, artisans, and designers everywhere, I have one piece of advice – Let the world know you for what you create!
To support that, we are coming up with a campaign called ‘Urban Artisans’ where a maker can handcraft their own collection and we’ll take care of everything else. (From photography, warehousing, marketing, delivery product, pricing strategy and sharing their work with the art lovers of the world)
We wholeheartedly welcome urban artisans who are looking for a platform to connect with the right buyers. From artists to potters, to craftsperson and designers the THOA doors are open for creative people from all walks of life.
We have a presence not only in India but the US, Canada, Dubai, and Spain and will soon be adding more names to the list. Our vision, 10 Years, 10000 Artisans.
If you are done reading this article, then you can check out the Story of Two Entrepreneurs Who Are Bringing High-Quality Organic Products.
A*****Hi Kanika, My daughter does handmade paper crafts and has also started small business regarding the same . She needs some tips and marketing ideas. Will THOA help her? . . . Plz visit her page on instagram @hand_made_taufa
N*****Good job Kanikaji. Certainly urban artisans like me need a good platform to market our products. Can you please share the details as to how to connect with you.
U*****Very inspiring thank u kanika ji...pls can u share the contact details of House of Artisans..
S*****Inspiring! Thanks for sharing
S*****Lovely article...Great work Shineel..all the best👍🏽👍🏽
R*****@kanika ji thanks for sharing this article. keep writing, keep inspiring 😊