By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Salma, the owner, designer and creative mind behind the brand ‘Made in Craftadise’. I am from Coonoor, The Nilgiris (in Tamil Nadu, South India). I am a blogger and an entrepreneur in the field of Crochet and craft. I am an engineering post graduate following my passion and turning my hobby into a thriving business one step at a time.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
The love and admiration of all things pretty and handmade paved my way towards this stream. I would describe my work as something pure and artistic flown across the magical crochet wand to create wonderful pieces of beauty. I strive to make each handmade product as my own and concentrate on extra detailing and finishing to make it extra special. I take special care on each process of its production, right from yarn selection, extra materials to the finishing and packaging. I aim for perfection and quality with a dash of cuteness and a little Me.
I started crochet and craft, as a hobby from my school days and then my love for it turned it into a business and continued with the same after my studies. I started off slow selling booties and hats and then kept adding more to my store with many other exciting and new products (hair accessories, bags, jewellery, etc.) that can be used anytime and anywhere. I sell my products via Etsy and Facebook and I have a good number of customers in India and overseas.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
Recently I have created gorgeous crochet dresses for babies and toddlers that can be worn in any season along with coordinated accessories and also crochet snowflake coasters. These have been the customer’s favourite for past two months and I have been receiving orders on them quite a lot.
I propose to showcase my most popular sellers – baby booties, messenger bags, and other new products like amigurumi, accessories and a lot more.
Can you describe your work place / space?
My work space is organized, cozy and divine. This is where I spend my day throughout; either working on orders or on my computer researching and collecting details on my supplies, etc. I chose to have a window in front to get fresh air and brightness to fade away my dullness and to create bright and beautiful products. I have the mostly used items on my desk and the others next to the desk arranged colour-wise. I love my workplace and gives me happiness each time while working on something and when the customer sends a happy feedback.
What is a typical day at “Made in Craftadise” like.
Magical, fun, hard-working and colourful.
What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?
My parents are the backbone to my work and business. They inspire me to work hard with ease no matter what the day might bring you and to follow my passion.
I also get various inspirational ideas over the web and I have learnt many using the same. I also find inspiration in the little things I see every day, how it’s used and made and I immediately correlate that with mine to make things better and to create new stuff.
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
I chalk out a plan for each project – ideas, tasks, custom brief.Based on which, I work on my design and organise my supplies. Once everything is in place, I begin to create my products. I keep a log of designs and photo archive all my works. Finally, I dispatch my orders, all neatly packed and arrange for shipment.
The most rewarding part of my creative work is not one but three. First, when someone orders from you (it is something that make every entrepreneur happy), second shopping for yarn (I tend to find more exciting stuff) and third when the customer sends a happy message and a great feedback or personally calls to appreciate my hard work.
What’s the best thing about being a designer?
Freedom. Even a beautiful mistake can fetch you bucks. You can analyse, experiment and do over the project again and again till you reach perfection. There is no stopping you or your mind from being creative except yourself.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Identify your main strength, work on it, identify your customers, value their opinions, understand their brief, well. And take time to also work on projects you love to create. Work hard and keep experimenting. Build your business & brand; remember to smile in this pursuit.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
I am planning to expand my portfolio in terms of newer products and newer designs; a step up towards expansion.
About Chennai; what advice would you give other makers to explore Chennai?
I’ve recently moved into Chennai, but I have visited the city many times before. Chennai has many interesting stores for craft and has so many options which are hard to find elsewhere. I do a detailed browsing on shops or industries selling what I want, log the addresses and visit personally to see the products. I feel happy to do so and knowing this city has a lot to offer, we only have to explore.
How was business for you at the event.
The two days event in Lalit Kala Akademi at By Hand, From The Heart – Artists & Makers Market was really awesome. We had good sales and also had customers coming back to the event on both the days of the event, to buy more products from us. Many had even placed pre-orders for custom requests. We had launched new crochet products at the event such as Chic Sling Bag, Amigurumi along with our regulars and customer favorites and everybody loved our products and purchased them with a smile on their face.
Describe your market experience.
Made in Craftadise had an amazing response. For our first ever Makers Market, we did a good job and we reached beyond our expected goals. It was lovely to see so many visitors, stop by us, getting to know more on crochet and types of yarn, purchase from us, placing pre-orders and more importantly respecting and appreciating the amount of hard work put into the creation of each piece. Few products were sold out and was a total hit at the show. We loved seeing our customers happy after their purchase from us.
More visuals on our Event Coverage Album: http://on.fb.me/1TcWLmF
We would love to thank the organizers of By Hand, From The Heart for the wonderful show and platform they provided us. Their effort in promoting the show and every maker, was what made the show so power packed and full of energy and enthusiasm. We are so grateful and forever thankful that they gave us an opportunity to exhibit our talent and to directly interact with such lovely people. We would definitely love to take part in By Hand, From The Heart upcoming events and to showcase more of our products and varieties.
What was the outcome of your participation.
We gained exposure to a larger audience, diverse people and we knew exactly what people are expecting of us and what products they would like to see more from us. Post the event, we had an increase in sales, most of them who had just stopped by at our stall and understood the products and the maker. We grew a step further by stepping outside and engaged a larger number of audience through the event. It was also a learning experience for a home based entrepreneur as to what and how one should prepare and react to an offline event. We also got to meet and interact with some kind-hearted and super talented Artisans, learnt from them and shared our thoughts and ideas. On the whole, we would say that this was a major step that we dared to take, that turned out fruitful and beautiful.