Helen Frankenthaler said,
“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.”
In our #MondayMotivation blog focusing on the #WonderWomen segment we bring to you two women, who similarly ignored the conventional rules and a breakthrough followed. Meet, Shweta Saha and Dimple Saha, who started a venture to help out people, in their own creative way, during this global health crisis. While Shweta works as a full-time graphic designer in a advertising agency,
Dimple is pursuing her 3rd year degree of Garment Technology.
So, what kind of venture did these two creative siblings start and how do they manage do it while doing a job and alongside pursuing academic studies? Let’s find out in their own words.
“I’m Shweta Saha and I graduated as an Applied Artist from Goa College of Art, last year. I’m currently working as a full-time Graphic designer in an advertising agency. My younger sister Dimple is studying in the 3rd year of Garment Technology.
When the Covid-19 news spread across India, people started buying masks in bulk. It didn’t take long for the greedy business folk to start selling these masks at exorbitant prices to reap profits out of this sudden bulk requirement. Even the medical stores started selling these masks at a very expensive rate. In fact, when I myself went to buy a mask, they didn’t have it in stock. As they say, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ we couldn’t wait around and so I asked my sister Dimple to stitch masks for me and everyone at home.
Being the kind-hearted soul that she is, Dimple went an extra mile and stitched three extra masks to help the needy around us. This led to a seed being implanted in my mind. You see, I’m an artist and Dimple is a fashion designer. So, I thought, why not get together with her to create offbeat, quirky and creative masks; she would stitch them I could paint, and we would sell them at an affordable price, for which people wouldn’t have to burn a pocket in their holes at a time like this.
The problem after this idea generation and implementation though, was how to sell these masks? I mean, how would people know that we’re selling these masks at prices as low as 50 INR per piece, and how would we be able to make these masks reach the interested people; there were so many questions in our minds that it felt disheartening and discouraging.
But, when I myself started using this mask, I had posted a photo of this hand painted mask on my WhatsApp stories. Looking at that, a person from my contact list messaged me saying he would like to order 10 such masks for his general store. Thus, we got our very first order as we started making masks for him on a regular basis. Later, many of our friends dropped in messages inquiring about the price and then ordering in small and big quantities. In a matter of weeks, our little business started growing.
The initial struggle besides tapping into the market, was that of the creation and making of the masks. We had to find the proper fabric for the masks, and once we had the fabric, we needed to source other materials. Later the challenge was to increase our customer base, but social media came in as a blessing and helped us overcome this hurdle too. Currently, the challenge for both of us is to manage this business and our other tasks, me with my job and Dimple her studies.
Currently, my schedule consists of going to work during the day, and after returning from work, have my evening cup of tea, then get to the task of painting the masks. Dimple already has the masks stitched and ready for painting everyday before I reach home. That way, a new batch is ready for me to paint every day by the time I reach home.
Managing time between office, this business and my personal work is a little difficult, but with each other’s support, we are able to get by slowly and effectively.
Another big challenge we have recently started to face is of timely delivery during this rainy season. But I am sure we will be able to overcome that too. The turning point for both of us was when just by looking at our WhatsApp and Instagram stories, people in our network not only gave a good feedback but even started ordering from us. This is what boosted our morale and we realized we were doing a good job, because not only were we doing something which was a need of the hour, but our USP is our affordable price range because of which people from varied strata of the society are able to buy our masks.
Our customization and creativity, combined with our affordability factor have made our masks a hit! In fact, we are popular among the kids too, because we have been able to provide designs of their favorite cartoon characters on masks. In fact, we have also done customized masks for couples!
Even Mr. Conrad Stephen , the Managing Director of Purple Crest Advertising, where I work as a fulltime Graphic Designer, placed an order of 100 masks with us to be donated to a HIV children’s home here in Goa. This became another turning point for our home-grown business.
The journey so far has been a good one. We faced many new challenges and have been able to overcome them all successfully too. Up until now we have delivered our masks only in Goa but now are planning to courier them out of Goa as well. Many of our friends have inquired and placed orders from places as far as Kerala, Hyderabad and even Delhi.
Our plan is to make our masks available to all those in need of them, irrespective of their age and location.
Our biggest learning has been to be able to adapt to changing times. Also, my sister and I have never worked together before, so this business has helped us understand each other better, especially on the professional front. We are doing something new together for the first time and learning all the new big and small things about it together too. We learnt how to take orders, how to talk to customers, how to do teamwork in a serious manner; but most importantly we have learnt how to encourage and support each other.
Working with each other has given us some of the best moments of our lives and we have both come to realize that
“Nothing is impossible until and unless you try it.”
To drop in a message to Shweta or Dimple, check out their creative, quirky and customized masks, to inquire about its prices or to order them for yourself and others, follow the links below:
Other personal and professional social media handles: