The current times are said to be the best times for those who want to leave the rut of routine life and not be stuck in a corporate job (oh, I have nothing against corporate jobs. Given a choice I would get myself one asap). It is a well known fact that India is bustling with over qualified women who were once working, but put their careers on the back seat because of various personal issues. The above two trends crossing paths has given rise to a new race of entrepreneurs who in the modern nomenclature known as – Mompreneurs, Solopreneurs, Homepreneurs etc.
Starting this September, every week on my blog , I will be featuring one woman entrepreneur who is carving her identity amidst holding various caps and balancing them while traversing through all the madness of life. So here’s raising a toast to all these amazing ladies, who put their heart to everything they do and the more surprising part is that they do everything equally amazingly.
Akhila Shekhar Ramaganesh At Ira Hand Creations
Akhila is a management graduate and set her priorities in her family once she gave birth to her son Advait. She is a mother of two and her daughter Poorna became the inspiration for her to explore her creative self. Let’s hear it from here about her venture Ira Hand Creations. Ira Hand Creations is a home based venture where Akhila makes handmade customized hair accessories.
Akhila is wonderful with what she is creating and if you want to have a look at the magic she creates with a piece of ribbon and some threads maybe, you must visit her page Ira Hand Creations on facebook. Whenever I go through her updates on her latest creations, I feel so so jealous of not having one girl child for whom I could order these accessories. Yes they are that tempting !
You are a management graduate. How did Ira Hand Creations happen?
It was my decision to be a stay at home mother once my son Advait was born. I was content being a mother until the first birthday of my daughter Poorna. It was on her birthday that I started fishing for ideas for handmade return favors. A friend of mine who was herself into art & craft suggested me a youtube link where I could find ideas for handmade crafts.
Once I watched that video, one link led to another and sooner than I realised I was smitten by the art of handmade accessories for girls. I purchased some raw material and set myself up for the job of creating hairbands and clips. Once the birthday party was over, I was still sitting on a heap of raw material that I had bought in bulk. So I decided to make more stuff and put it for display on my facebook profile. And that is how it all began.
Who were your first buyers? And how did you expand on your idea?
My first customers were friends who saw my updates on facebook and placed their orders. Thereafter, I was a part of a mothers’ facebook community, where one of the moderators let me promote my products on the page. She herself ordered hairbands and then referred me to her friends. That particular facebook community really helped me shape up my aspiration to go commercial with my creations.
Has online/social media promotions helped you extend your reach? Your tips for aspiring homepreneurs
To be very frank, I have never been a marketing kind of a person. Branding and promotions aren’t my thing at all. Yet on my friends’ insistence who were my initial buyers, I joined a couple of facebook groups that facilitated home based mom entrepreneurs to promote their stuff. I am very thankful to these groups, because else I would never have been able to reach out to larger audience with my products.
Testimonials and feedback go a long way in adding value to your brand. I being me, have never reached out to my customers to provide testimonials, but the ones who are really happy with my products and are satisfied, always do the needful. It is very gratifying that without physically running around, one could actually now ship their creations to far off lands.
Creativity is often said to come interminently. How do you keep your creativity flowing?
That’s very true. There are phases when I can’t think of one single idea to execute. Or even to sit at my work table is a huge task. Motivation isn’t a linear or a constant function. But then if you are passionate enough, you find ways to get yourself to work.
New designs really challenge me to up my skill. So whenever I feel I am getting stagnant, I make it a point to spend time on Pinterest or Instagram for fresh ideas. There are times, when I come across a particular design or style that intrigues me and this sets me rolling.
But then, I also make it a point to not let this passion of mine not stress me. I do stuff at my own pace. I have learnt to not get overwhelmed by slow pace of my work, or less orders. The very idea was to do something, while not compromising to the least with my family and kids’ time. As long as my priorities are set right, I do not get restless. I limit my orders and adjust my work time accordingly.
What has been the most memorable moment in your journey?
One of my friends’ from school came from the US and called me that she needed matching accessories for her daughter and placed multiple orders. I was overjoyed that even without meeting for over 15 years, she looked up my work online and placed her order.
Apart from this, every satisfied customer is a memory for me. When mothers receive the stuff made by me, and they tell me that they loved the finish, that the finish is as good as any big store’s, I savor the appreciation and go to sleep a happy person.
What is your one advice to aspiring Homepreneurs?
When I started, I bought ribbons worth a lot. Then I realised that I could not use the same ribbons for too many accessories. A lot of it was wasted. My first logo was a handmade logo. I just did a quick job to be able to set up a facebook page. But eventually I learnt the skill of picking up the right kind of ribbons in the right quantity. Wherever I visit my eyes keep fishing for new and different types of ribbons. This helps me create different and unique accessories than those that are available in the market. And I graduated to getting the logo designed professionally too.
The bottom line is that you ought to begin somewhere and then you follow the learning curve and find your niche.
If you are a woman entrepreneur and want to be featured on our blog, please write to us through the contact page.