Lucius Annaeus Seneca, said,
“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”
In our #MondayMotivation blog focusing on the #WonderWomen segment we bring to you a woman who believes in gifts being exclusive and personalized, and that’s what makes them special. Meet, Kavya Dandekery, who works as a full-time lecturer, and is also a creative entrepreneur. She is the founder of a Gifting e-store by the name of Giftz N Artis, via which she undertakes perosnalized and handmade gifting orders as well as workshops. What made her choose to be in these two varied yet challenging fields and how does she manage between a day job as well as a passion? Let’s find out in her words.
“Hi, I’m Kavya Dandekery. I’m a creator by passion, through being the founder and owner of a Handmade Gifting e-store, Giftz N Artis. I’m also a lecturer by profession. So I’m a teacher as well as an artist.
I have been crafting right from my childhood. I never threw any used items like tea powder boxes, invitation cards, empty ink bottles etc. Instead, I’d keep looking at that item waiting for my mind to pop up with some idea (those days I didn’t have a mobile to browse for ideas). Upcycling discarded items has always been my favorite activity. I used to craft all the time and seeing how much I loved doing it, a few of my friends motivated me to start an Instagram page for the same. That’s how the entrepreneurial journey began.
The biggest challenge for me is the balancing between my two professions. Initially, I struggled a lot between academics and business. I had started this page just a month before my post graduate classes commenced. M.Sc was all about self-studying and it was a medical subject which I wasn’t very familiar with. So, self-studying an unfamiliar subject was a big task in itself plus, solely handling a business was a whole different challenge. My final semester project literally left me with no free time at all. That’s when I skipped sleep to complete orders. An even bigger struggle was convincing my parents that I could manage both academics and business.
Just like any other parent, they wanted me to excel in academics. Nevertheless, they supported me in it, but never considered this as my future. My brother has always taken my side and was always proud of my work. Giftz N Artis was always worth all the struggles because the happiness I get by crafting made me forget all the other troubles and tesnions. It continues having the same positive impact on my mind even today, which is why I guess I have stuck to it.
Right now, I’m working full time as a lecturer from 9am-5pm, go hunting for raw materials from 7-8pm, come back home loaded with those tools and then sit down to craft. Getting a peaceful 8-hour sleep has become a luxury. But that’s a small compromise I choose to make and am willing to continue making because of the happiness it brings along.
I had started this page as a platform for customised accessories but then, silk jewellery became a trend, and everyone started making them. I am someone who believes that – if it’s not exclusive, then it’s not worth the time and effort. So, I took the decision to make it diverse by getting into personalized handmade gifting. To begin with, I made a one-layer explosion box for a client. Soon after that I got an order for a 3 layered explosion box. I put my heart and soul into it. It was a hit!
There has been no looking back ever since. I stopped making accessories (I rarely do it now!!) and turned the page into a Gifting e- store, where I make sure every gift is completely customised so that it makes it personal and exclusive.
There have been days when I didn’t feel like working; when I was too tired of handling two things simultaneously and didn’t want to push myself to do it. But I myself push do it anyway because a little sacrifice on my comfort would bring a smile on someone’s face tomorrow. And that’s what has kept me going.
“A busy life is a bliss. Life is too short to waste time on just dreaming big.”
I’ve kept a separate piggy bank in which I drop a small part of money from every order I get. And the best part is to open it a week before the yearly anniversary of my page. I celebrate my yearly anniversaries with the underprivileged kids with that money and I put some extra cash from my pocket if required. I have vowed to myself to continue doing this for as long as this page lives and I will try to make it bigger every time. My future plans include creating better employment opportunities for all the underprivileged creative people out there, who feel that such work won’t fill their tummy.
The biggest milestone I achieved was when people across the seven seas started trusting my work and gave me orders for their loved ones in India. I’ve dealt with USA, Canada, Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Australian and many more NRI clients. I’ve also conducted an explosion box workshop for a UK-based client who had come to Mangalore for a vacation. Another milestones was when I completed an order for 88 favour gifts in just 3 days! That was a huge task. I have hosted 2 stalls in Mangalore based exhibition- Mangalore flea market and Pop-up market Mangalore. The response I received during both these exhibitions was also quite motivating.
My life is not just restricted to the 2 jobs. I tend to spend my weekends with the underprivileged kids tutoring them and playing with them. I have always loved dancing and recently started learning violin from Sai Musical Academy. Wasting time is just not in my genes.
My biggest learning has been that one should,
Never wait for permission to get started. Get started in whatever way you can.
Right from accepting orders, searching for the raw materials, making the products and then the delivery of these products, I’ve been handling it alone because this is my passion and I cannot expect someone else to do it with the same enthusiasm. So, I’ve learnt to be independent (in a hard way though). No matter where you reach, always stay humble. Bond well with people. Make great connections. They’ll surprise you in different ways. Giftz N Artis has helped me become a patient person which is a quality I used to lack before. I have to sit in one place for hours and experiment on something new. Sometimes it goes wrong, but I try it once again rather than giving up.
I’ve also learnt to
Act like a lady with clients. But always think like a boss. Be fearless to anything that sets your soul on fire.
I’ve been criticised before when I was proud of my 0-investment business. They do not know my struggles so they cannot put me down either.
Self-confidence is a superpower. Never display the weak and vulnerable side of oneself.
Always fuel your passion.
Be consistent with work and keep trying new things.
To get in touch with Kavya, check out her gorgeous handmade gifting products, or to place an order for a special upcoming occasion via her, follow the links below:
Kavya’s handmade gifts work through Giftz N Artis has been featured on several online platforms. Have a look at some of these through the links provided below:
Other personal and professional social media handles: