Mark Twain said,
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”
In this week’s Friday Feature focusing on Wonder Women, we present the story of a woman who followed her passion rather than going for a profession related to her qualification.
Meet, engineer turned crafter, and the founder of The Craft Gallery, Radhika Redkar. From where did she draw her motivation for crafting and what inspired to give up on pursuing a qualification-related profession? Let’s hear in her own words.
“I was a creative child since my childhood. I loved innovating, experimenting and taking up art in its different forms and possibilities. In the last semester of my Engineering course I made an Explosion Box for a friend of mine. At that time, explosion boxes were trending popularly in the gifting segment. I got a lot of compliments for the creativity I put into making that box. So, another friend told me to make one for him as well. As I was waiting for my Engineering results, I thought of uploading my creations on Facebook and soon after that, I got my first order. Post this, I began to upload on Instagram as well. I even started to record videos of my cards to show different layers, pop up cards, etc to the audience, which led to the making of my Youtube Channel.
I made a few samples and started uploading these on all social media channels possible. That’s how it all started and hence was born The Craft Gallery. I faced many challenges and struggles in my early crafting phase. Since I studied Engineering, my first thought was, “What people will say if I take up crafting as my career”?
This thought haunted me every day during my waking hours and even before I went to sleep. “What if I failed in between my crafting career?”, “Who will help me find another Job?”, these kinds of questions started arising in my mind.
But the smiles, support and the appreciation I got on my work by my clients, made me step forward. As of now these thoughts have stopped as I am very much in my element and confident about my crafts. However, there are other kinds of challenges. The biggest struggle is getting my hands on good art supplies. I stay in Goa, and here we don’t find advanced, trending craft related raw materials.
So, finding those, is takes up quite some time and effort. Then of course there’s also the fear of product damage while shipping since they travel miles and miles, and craft products always ‘handle with care’ types. Even a little shove, throw, push or crush, and the product could get damaged beyond repair. However, with some packaging cautions we have managed to reduce these kinds of risks to almost negligible.
I’m not sure if there was a turning point as such in my career; there were some important decisions, some good calls and some mistakes followed by regret. All of which, today, seem to be a part of my happy journey.As to what keeps me motivated, well, other than appreciation from the clients who ordered and were satisfied with my craft products, I get messages, saying I inspire them or they get motivation from my work. These make me feel no less than a GIRL BOSS. Those happy faces when they see our handmade gifts, the lovely comments, feedbacks and appreciation by our clients, all of these factors combined, whether big or small, make a big difference in keeping me going.
Besides this, those unique ideas, experiments, failures, successful projects, followers count, lovely YouTube comments from strangers, all make me work more and with increased fervour to help people find the trendiest gifts full of love and creativity. Lastly of course, there’s also my family, whose support gave me strength to take up something like this and continue doing it.
The journey began in a very unnatural way, but it never happened overnight. It happened only because of constant efforts, consistency and people’s support. As a kid I used to love anything related to art and craft hence the love for crafting grew from my childhood days. So, this is not an overnight change, it has been a process with constant efforts. For me crafting is happiness, joy and contentment.
We have a lovely family of 20,000 followers on Instagram, 17,000 subscribers on Youtube and thousands of people across India. As for future plans, my next aim is to make my brand ‘Stand Out’ from the rest with all range of trendy gifts, present on all marketplaces and also make it easier for people outside India to buy our products. I also want to expand my team, because in order to grow you need trustworthy people by your side who can help you make that growth.
One thing I learned in my journey is, it’s not possible for me to do every single thing alone. It gets much simpler and sorted if we work in a team. That’s why I decided to expand my team and that was the best decision I made.
Other things I learned slowly were few marketing hacks, interacting with people worldwide. I also taught myself how to edit pictures, make new designer paper designs, etc. in order to save time and money. Being an Engineering student, I was always worried about what society will think about me if I choose to be a crafter. But one thing I learned is that whether you be an Engineer or non-Engineer, the society will anyway snoot you. So, ignore and them and follow your heart because it’s your duty to do what makes you happy.
My advice to everyone would be to,
“Follow your passion, make a career out of it, you’ll enjoy every bit of it”
“Provide quality goods, value their money, implement their feedback and see the customers will always be your side.”
And also, to remember that,
“You are successful only when you use yourself to your full potential.”
To know more about Radhika, or to have a look at some of her beautiful crafts and order one for yourself or your loved ones, follow the links below:
Radhika’s inspiring life-story about following one’s passion, has also been part of a book titled “What About Passion”. You can have a look at it (or buy the book) by following the link below: