How did the idea for Twaksati come about?
Twaksati has been in my mind for quite some time, my professional assignments gave me ample opportunity to visit the remotest corners of our country and witness its vivid cultural and creative diversity through amazing forms of handicrafts. Interestingly, many of them are still unexplored. I met Dr. Ashok Khosla, the famous environmentalist and saw his amazing work on creating sustainable livelihoods, my wish to create Twaksati grew stronger. He always used to say ” banao nehi banwayo”(Don’t just make but empower others to make). The other part of creating Twaksati was the recognition and rendition of the beautiful art and crafts that I have seen in many household, my mother made such excellent designer dresses for us, seen my aunt creating those beautiful Kanthas and the new generation who quickly create such beautiful stuff of utility in no time. Fusion art is equally enticing, people like them but don’t value them neither there is a strong platform to showcase these art forms and artists. They are not reaching out to the right art enthusiasts.
Twaksati, in Sanskrit means beautiful creations by hand. We maintain anything and everything made by hands. Handmade art has its own charm. We are trying hard to give the handmade experience to the customer. right from the product till it reaches them. The packaging , labeling, papers, bags everything tends to be handmade. We personally write on the labels and tags avoiding print. We also reuse and recycle the packaging material converting them to beautiful art objects itself. Twaksati aspires to bridge the gap between art and its true connoisseurs and thus bring forth the mystique craftsmen in India’s hinterland.
What marketing strategy are you employing to attract more customers to
Since Twaksati (www.twaksati.com) is a venture for the people and showcasing their creations, we decided to go slow on the investment for marketing and get more resources for a solid research on the old and new art forms. We at Twaksati vouch by everything Handmade. Hence our marketing strategy goes round the message which a strong social media presence, news, events and participating in selective exhibitions. Once we create a consumer base for our initiative we would start getting into visual adverts.
How is Twaksati different from its competitors in market?
Twaksati is different from competition in two major aspects, one bringing the old and new together from the artists and artisans, secondly creating unique products all Handmade, one or two peices only and credit to the artist for creating the same. We offer an exclusive personalised experience to the customers who appreciate creative art. Twaksati’ USP is beautiful products with a story of its own creation, different, unique and choisable.
Twaksati’s business model is creating products, creating platforms and creating a beautiful experience. Research, documentation and showcasing of the art and artist is the backdrop of the business model.
How would you describe your entrepreneurship journey so far? What ups and downs have you faced?
When there is an idea, there are ways that open up. One road takes you to the other and a new one is created in every step. Once the idea takes its shape to reality then we know that it’s not that easy. There is enough hype about the Start ups but didn’t see much happening on ground level. We have decided to go slow but steady, small steps at a time. I invested time to reach the interesting art forms and people. We created small self help groups to prepare the products. They seemed interested, as this meant extra income for the handwork they love to do. I started with my home where these ladies are so excited to take up the Kantha stitch on the apparels and doing the paper mache work. It feels great to see them enjoying their work and the extra perk.
I also met some amazing Artists during my research for Twaksati. Many of them left their lucrative jobs to peruse their passion for art and many of them create amazing products in their pass time. There are many youngsters as well who have some great ideas and creative work. Meeting these artists assured me that I am on the right track. We need to showcase the beautiful unexplored world of art.
There are definitely the downs, the project needs to be scaled up and need more resources in terms of outreach. Funds will play an important role here and generating the same without any support from the outside founders seems a tough job
You have a research team who collect information and document various art forms. Could you elaborate?
Yes, we are leading a team of young interns and volunteers who collect information from the e media, internet and field visits. We have divided our work accordingly. Once the information is collected, it is reviewed , rechecked and then documented. Based on this we take the next step of the product procurement or if needed design it further for improvisation. We document the stories of the artists and artisans whom we meet. Rupsa Halder-co founder, looks after the design and quality of the products while we have more than a dozen Artists and designers attached to us for creative work. The best thing is that we have started getting response when people perceive that our intentions are honest and we are not here to make money but promote their artistic creations. Winning that faith for authenticity and credibility takes time as there are so many other people in this field who approach them for business.
What message would you like to convey to the aspiring Women Entrepreneurs?What are your future plans?
My message to all women entrepreneurs is that be honest to yourself and the people you are doing business with. You might take a longer time to success but that will make you stay longer in this world of fierce competition.
My future plans are setting up chain of Twaksati stores in India and Abroad and taking Indian creativity to the International audience.