A Buddhist proverb goes,
“In each loss there is a gain, as in every gain there is a loss. and with each new ending comes a new beginning.”
In our #MondayMotivation blog focusing on the #WonderWomen segment, we bring to you a woman who refused to back down after a personal loss and realized that the only one who could do something about the situation was herself. Meet, Kriti Jindal, the founder of a successful home décor and accessories venture, Kari by Kriti. What kind of loss did she go through and how did that become a turning point leading to Kriti being selected as one of finalists for the Global Etsy awards? Let’s find out in her own words.
“I grew up in the small, green town of Dehra Dun surrounded by flowers, fruit trees and my mother’s love for sarees. My mother is a passionate collector of sarees so various hand work/ weaving techniques were never really alien to me. I can say that in some way, textiles has always been in my blood. It was only much later that I realized my own passion for design, color and handmade.
I studied apparel management at Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi and worked as a merchandiser for over 7 years with a leading French retailer and later with an American buying house dealing with one of America’s most loved Homewares brands. In 2012, my husband and I moved to Sydney, Australia where I worked as a Sourcing manager.
While in Australia, I met with an accident that resulted in an ankle injury. It required surgery and about 6 months of very restricted movement. As a result, I had to quit my job and stay homebound. During this time, after a lot of complaining about my situation, I realized that the only one who could do something about it was me! With a lot of encouragement from my husband, I started a blog, Handmade Talks where I shared stories about my love for textiles and interviewed passionate, creative entrepreneurs.
Inspired by these stories of men and women turning their passion into a creative outlet, I created my blueprint for Kari by Kriti. We returned to India in 2013 and settled in Hyderabad. I decided to turn my blueprint into reality and created two hand block printed baby quilts in pure cotton with the help of a printer in Jaipur. I listed those two quilts on Etsy, a US based marketplace for everything handmade. The two quilts sold within a few days of listing them on my Etsy shop and I started to receive emails about creating similar designs for adults as well. This gave me a lot of confidence in my work and I developed my first collection with 12 baby quilts.
From then on, there was no looking back! Since then, I have made over 500 sales on Etsy and created custom collections for a number of homeware stores and boutiques all over the world. My biggest challenge was to deal with the negativity and self doubt that came from people asking me when I plan to go back to a ‘real job’. I had a hard time convincing people around me, that this wasn’t a hobby or a placeholder for me while I raised my son, but is what I really want to do.
I started laying the foundation for Kari by Kriti even before my son was born, but invariably people felt that this was a great thing to ‘keep myself busy’. This attitude was often demotivating and frustrating.
I follow a Buddhist philosophy that teaches us to believe that instead of blaming the environment, it is important to make oneself a capable individual. It took a lot of resilience and patience and I was able to slowly build and grow my business from scratch without any outside funding. My success spoke for itself and I was able to prove my mettle. This Buddhist way of life is my biggest motivation. Dr Daisaku Ikeda, President, Soka Gakkai International is my mentor and role model. Dr Ikeda has worked tirelessly to spread World Peace through dialogue and a fundamental transformation of self called the ‘Human Revolution’ based on the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism. The philosophy has taught me to believe in my own potential and work hard to expand my life to be able to reach my goals and to also help others around me realize their highest potential. This transformation in one’s own life becomes an inspiration for countless others in their family, country and the world thus becoming a movement for Peace and happiness. A customer once sent me a message where she said, “Your products make me very happy and help to keep my mood sunny!” It is probably the best compliment that I have ever received, and this assures me that I am correctly following my mentor’s path in spreading joy, happiness and peace though my work. This becomes my biggest motivation to continue doing what I do.
The journey so far has been nothing less than gratifying. A huge milestone for me came in 2019 when I was selected as a Global Etsy awards finalist. My shop was one among 175 finalists and one among 29 finalists in my category. This was a real boost to my confidence. In the future, I plan to launch my website (which as we speak has already happened, the website went live at noon today i.e. 16th March, 20202) I also aim to hopefully set up a manufacturing unit of my own.
Launching this website is something I am very excited for! Initially when I started Kari by Kriti, sales were mainly via Etsy.com. Over the years Kari by Kriti has become a much-loved brand and I will be launching the website for my customers in India.
I work with a local NGO, here in Hyderabad – that helps economically challenged women find meaningful livelihood. The NGO trains the women to stitch and then provides them employment at centers in their local urban villages. This way they are able to work much closer to work, without even leaving the village and still earn a living for themselves. I support these women by working with them for my stitching requirements.
Here is what I often tell myself:
“Above anything else, be passionate about your work. “
“Businesses evolve and it is important to go with the flow without losing our own passion. It is very important to create a business plan, however simple, to keep you on track. “
“Don’t be afraid of challenges and don’t give up!”
To drop in a message to Kriti, check out her amazing home décor and accessories, or to order one or more of these products for yourself, follow the links below:
- Kari by Kriti website
- Kari by Kriti Instagram page
- Kari by Kriti Facebook page
- Kari by Kriti Esty page
- Kari by Kriti Pinterest page
- Kari by Kriti products on House of Ekam
Other professional handles
Kriti’s work and lifestory has been featured on multiple blogs and well-known newspaper/media portals over the years. You can have a look at these through links below: