Pooja Kanth, who lives in Delhi, has been running her business, ‘Pooja Ki Potli’ (Potli of Worship) since 2015. Through her startup, Pooja is providing its customers with beautiful jute and cotton rope handicraft products made from macrame art. Macramé is also called kinari or jhalar ,. Pooja says that this is a textile art, which is not made by weaving threads, but by knotting in thick threads in an artistic way, various things are made. It is a handicraft, which has a long history.
Pooja told The Better India about this art, “In the olden days, sailors who made long journeys on ships used to make macrame in their spare time with jute or cotton ropes. Which he later used for the barter system at the ports as well. This is a very old art and beautiful too. It is in great demand not only in India but also in other countries. With this art, you can create more than one thing for the home decor and garden.
Many people learn this art by taking special training classes. But Pooja learned this art herself and now teaches it to others.
An MBA, Pooja has worked in the corporate sector for many years. But after the birth of his son, in 2012, he left the job so that he could devote maximum time to his child. But it was not easy for Pooja, who was always working, to sit empty at home. So he thought why not use this time to learn something new. During this, Pooja tried her hand in art like sewing-embroidery and weaving. But his search ended on this macrame art.
unique art learned from youtube
Pooja says that she did not do any training or workshop to learn this art. Rather he started learning through YouTube at home. This art is as beautiful to look as it is difficult to do. That’s why Pooja also took one and a half-two years to master it. But during this time he not only worked on his skills but also decided to pursue this art. He decided that he would start his business with this art, through which he could give work to more women.
“We previously lived in Karala, a village near Delhi. There I saw how women had to depend on their husband or family for their petty needs. Even if a woman wants to work, in many families she is not allowed to work outside the home. I felt that if these women are taught this hand job, then they can earn a living sitting at home. So along with doing this art myself, I started teaching this work to women living in rural areas and slums around me,” he said.
In the year 2015, Pooja started her startup, ‘Pooja ki Potli’. He told that by this time he had mastered this art. At the same time, she had also taught this art to some women around her and they were ready to work. Pooja says that while learning this art, she had gathered a good knowledge about the raw materials required to make products in the local markets. So they knew where to get threads or from where to get wooden items to make products. He started his business with an investment of only Rs 5000.
Employment given to 25 women
Pooja says that she started this work with the support of her family. But along the way, he faced many challenges. Like at first it was very difficult for them to connect women with this work. Because even today in many homes, women have to depend on the wishes of the family to go out and work as per their wish. But Pooja wanted to do something for these women. That’s why many times he taught women to work even by going to their homes. Many women still work from their homes.
But as some women joined them and started earning themselves, more women came forward. He said, “I have taught this art to many women till now. Some of whom are still working with me, many have started their own. I never hold back from helping those who started their work. Because the troubles I faced in the beginning, I do not want anyone else to do it.
Pooja took the help of social media for marketing. He told that earlier he shared his products on Facebook. He slowly started getting recognition from Facebook. After this, he got his products listed on e-commerce websites such as Amazon Business Initiative. From here his business got a lot of growth. After coming to Amazon, their orders started increasing. As the work progressed, he enlisted more women. At present, she is giving employment to 25 women.
Rajni didi, who was associated with him, had lost her husband many years ago. After this, he took care of his family by doing sewing work. But for the last few years, he started having health problems. Due to which the doctor advised him to leave sewing work. She says, “Right now the children have grown up in the family and earn. But I always made money. So suddenly it was becoming very difficult for me to ask for money from them. So, I spoke to Pooja. She first taught me this work and then now gives me continuous work. Which I can easily do by sitting or lying on the bed. Also, I earn a decent amount every month that I do not have to ask anyone.
The price of the products ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 5000
Pooja says that with this art she makes things for home and garden decor. Like Mandala, Wall Hanging, Cushion Cover, Table Runner, Hanging Planter etc. They have products ranging from small to six feet. She also uses wooden items in some products. For example, using wood and macrame art for plants, he has made beautiful planters. He said that the price of all the products is different. Their products sell from Rs 100 to Rs 5000.
“Till before the lockdown, we used to get 200-250 orders a week. But the corona pandemic has had an impact on the business. At the moment, we get around 100 orders every week. Apart from his own website, he also has accounts on amazon and etsy. Our products are also reaching abroad through etsy. If hard work is done in the right direction, then you can earn good money from this art. In the beginning, I could only cover my costs and the women’s hard work. But now we are making good profits,” he said.
The reason for the growth of Pooja’s business is the good quality of their products. Raji, who bought the hanging planter from them, says that along with the good quality of the products, their services are also very good. Pooja and her team are always ready to help the customers. Many customers also like their packaging very much. Their products are handmade and eco friendly. Along with this, she also tries to keep her packaging as eco-friendly as possible.
“We very rarely buy new cardboard boxes or plastic ones to pack our products. We always take second hand boxes and the plastic in which the raw material comes packed. That’s what we reuse. This is not only helping the environment but also reducing the cost to us and the customer. We send hand-written notes to customers on the blank remaining sheets of our bill invoices. The only effort is that our business should be not only for the benefit of the people but also in the interest of the environment,” he said.
Helping others to start a business
Apart from manufacturing a variety of products, Pooja also supplies raw materials. He says that there are many women and youth in the country who want to learn this art and move forward in this field. Keeping such people in mind, he started the work of raw material supply. She is providing different raw material to people from novice to professional level. They have also prepared low budget packages for the people so that people can start their work with minimum investment.
She said, “Apart from this, if anyone contacts me for business related information, I also try to help them. I tell them how they can go ahead with their business or how to register, get GST number. Because it is such an art that if you learn it well then you can earn employment sitting at home.
Priyanka, who is buying regular raw material from them, says that she has ordered goods from many different vendors in the past as well. But the kind of quality raw material he got from Pooja, he has never got from any other place. So now she orders all the goods from them. Earlier she used to order online but now she orders everything in bulk from Pooja itself.
In the end, Pooja simply says that if one wants to do his work with minimum investment, then macrame art is a good option. You have to put in time and effort to learn it. But the better you learn the work, the better you will make products and bring them to the market. From which you can earn good money.
If you want to buy products made by Pooja then click here.
Editing – G N Jha
Image Credits: Pooja Kanth
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