Handmade jewelleries have its own beauty. And, when they are unique the beauty further increases a few times. Every jewellery designer has an intimate relationship with each design that they create. Malini Sen is one such person who loves to express her imaginations through her creative handmade jewelleries. She designs them with paper, beads and clay. Malini hails from Asansol, West Bengal. Before starting Kalakari Boutique, her own brand of handmade jewelleries, she was a Professor of Pharmacology. She had a well-settled career. However, the love for designing jewelleries on her own pushed her forward to pursue her dreams.
Malini Sen considers herself a dreamer. She is also quite confident to make all her dreams come true. Her first step towards realizing those dreams started in 2015 with the launch of Kalakari Boutique. The creative jewellery artist not only designs unique jewellery items but they are also pocket-friendly.
Today, Malini Sen, the talented jewellery artist joins us in this interview session. She shares her story with us and reveals how she is weaving her dreams!
Hi Malini, welcome to our platform conflatingVisions. Please tell us a few lines about you.
Hello, thank you conflatingVisions for this opportunity. I am from Asansol, West Bengal and used to be an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology. I was happy with teaching young minds, doing my research work, publishing some research papers until the beautiful world of handmade jewelleries unveiled in front of me. It had no connection with my previous works and totally out of my comfort zone. But I fell in love with this and never looked back. I am a keen learner, a hard worker and a perfectionist. I am a mother of a 9-month-old boy and loves traveling to new places. And lastly, if I want to describe myself in one line, I will say “I am a dreamer and one day I will make those dreams real.”
Tell us about your venture Kalakari Boutique.
Kalakari Boutique’s mantra is “We design for you”. Here we design unique and beautiful handmade jewellery out of Paper, Beads and Clay. Designing customized jewellery according to our clients’ need is our USP. We started our journey in the mid of June 2014. For the first few months, we spend our time to make ourselves technically sound, done a bit of market research and of course study our competitors. We found that there is a gap between demand and supply of affordable customized jewellery.
They say, you are a true entrepreneur when you solve a problem so we worked to make uniquely designed customized jewellery available at a pocket-friendly price. That’s how the brand was launched in February 2015. From the very beginning, we received immense response from our clients. People just loved our unique jewelleries and that gave us the confidence to try new media, different designs and helped us scale new heights.
What inspired you to start working on handcrafted jewelleries?
It is like a fairy tale. I was planning to give some unique handmade gifts to my relatives and friends for Durga Puja. This led me into making jewelleries out of paper and thus letting me know my real passion. I was just mesmerized by the beauty of these jewelleries. Being a keen learner I soon took up paper, beads, clay as my working medium and I have some world famous artists as my inspiration.
How did you get into this business of handmade jewelleries?
I’m really passionate about what I do. The love I received from my relatives and friends for my creations, somewhere deep in my heart created the urge to bring my creations in front of the entire world and thus the journey began.
In what ways do you try to be creative?
This is an industry where you can practically let your imagination loose and help your thoughts fly. I try to make every creation unique and divergent from the other. For my traditional line of jewellery, I mostly take my inspiration from Bong women. They love sarees and statement jewelleries. While for my trendy handmade jewelleries, there are college girls to inspire me who likes minimal but stylish jewellery pieces.
How do go about deciding on the jewellery designs?
Well, this is the toughest part of all. Sometimes it takes weeks to design a unique piece which is both sturdy and beautiful. Customizing a jewellery piece according to a client’s demand is a brainstorming and a tedious process but it helps me to learn a lot. Many people send me pictures of their sarees or dress and asked to make something to match with the mood and colour. They want jewelleries which will turn heads and they really enjoy when people ask them from where they got that piece. Now you can imagine how difficult it could be to fulfil so many criteria.
Malini, what has been the most satisfying moment for you as an entrepreneur?
Not any specific moment but the whole journey is so satisfying. When my clients rely on me to create unique jewelleries to gift their loved ones on any special occasion, when people send me pictures wearing my creations with a happy and glowing face that makes me happy. Happy clients bring more business and that’s satisfying as I get to design more products and spend some more time in the process which I thoroughly enjoy.
Narrate some of your success stories.
When I started I never thought I can reach here where I’m now. Most of my creations sold out in a few days and some even booked when they are half done. 5-6 clients waiting and requesting same piece of jewellery and some are ready to wait for months to wear my creations, that’s flattering!
I remember when few stay at home moms told me that they also want to become entrepreneurs like me and I am their inspiration that moment was so gratifying.
Who has been your biggest support in your entrepreneurial journey as a jewellery designer?
I will say behind every successful woman there is a man. In my case, my husband is my biggest support. He has more faith in my creativity than I have on me. From day one he not only supported me but encouraged me to take this up seriously. I left my flourishing career and research opportunities to create Kalakari Boutique, people might think that I’m insane but not him. He being an MBA manages the whole finance of Kalakari Boutique. My brother who is an IT engineer also supported in creating an online platform where my creations can reach the target people with ease. My Parents gave me immense support too. They understood me and took care of my baby so that I can work for a long time.
What are the present challenges you are facing? In what ways are you planning to overcome them?
Time management is the biggest challenge. Purchasing the raw materials, designing and creating the products, clicking the pictures, managing our page and online stores, communicating with the clients, taking up orders and shipping products readily so that they can reach our clients on time – this whole process is done by just 3 of us. We are planning to build a team of few dedicated persons who can speed up the process more.
What are your future plans for Kalakari Boutique?
We are planning to launch our website soon. It will be easier for our clients to order from the site and the whole process will be more systematic. We are also planning to arrange some summer workshops.
And one last question of this session Malini, if you have had one wish…
I wish Kalakari Boutique become so successful that it can create more jobs. That would be our way to serve the society.