Weaving magic with her hands is our entrepreneur for today , Vijaya Rani. Based in the metropolitan city of Chennai, Vijaya Rani loves crochet and has been successful in turning her love for this art into a commercial venture.
A work that lets her remain close to what she loves, earn a good income and gain satisfaction, here is a successful work from home woman who has been able to add wings to her dreams, and move forward successfully in her chosen path.
In conversation with Vijaya Rani is Vandana Rajesh, from team Indusladies.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and brought up in the town of Tuticorin, Tamilnadu. I am the fifth child of my parents and I had to discontinue college as I got married at the age of 18. My husband, Muthu Krishnan, is a noted entrepreneur in the hospitality industry. I am a mother of three children. I completed my graduation through correspondence, and have been working as a successful freelance web content writer, with clients from India and abroad.
When did the love for crochet set it?
I was interested in art and craft even during my school days, and this led me to learning crochet at the age of 13. It was a cousin of mine who taught me this craft, and back then I tried making a few table mats, and almost forgot about it. After marriage my kids kept me busy initially, however, once they started schooling, I realized that I had enough free time on hand, and went on to learn hand embroidery and other crafts.
When and how did you decide to take up crochet commercially?
Until recently, the idea of doing crochet for others didn’t strike me. I wanted to do something with my life, so tried so many formal things to establish myself. One day my daughter introduced me to Facebook groups, which were selling products. It struck me to take up crochet again. The initial response was awesome, and that is when I decided to take this up seriously.
How does it feel completing a project and hearing from a satisfied client?
I am thrilled and feel so intrigued and inspired to see a satisfied client. When I see kids wearing my caps or dresses, the feeling is indescribable. Even while working on the project, I feel so happy and elated to see the work progress in my hands.
Can you tell us a bit about crochet, the basic materials needed and some of the basic stitches?
Crochet is an ancient craft, and this was taken as a hobby by ladies during their leisure time. It is a form of lacework, which is done using the crochet needle and thread. The threads used might vary, and you can crochet from ordinary threads, to jute and even strips of cloth, or old tee shirts. Generally, crochet cotton threads are used and the cheaper version of this would be the normal woolen thread, which is used in knitting. As for the stitches, crochet is worked with only four to five commonly used stitches, like the chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet, treble slipstitch etc.
Books and online material are very useful in learning crochet. Anyone can learn and do crochet. Like in all other crafts, practice is what can bring perfection to the work.
What kind of an investment should one look at to start a home business of the kind?
No big investment is needed, as you need just few threads and needles. You must have a plan, regarding the type of products you wish to market. You can make baby items, doilies, home furnishing, garments, and so many other things, in crochet.
Have samples ready, so that you can either post them online, or share with your clients, to get orders. Make out a price list (take into account the cost of the materials, and man hours spent on the project).
Crochet being a labor intensive form of craftwork, how many hours in a day do you actually spend with your work?
Other than my house work and family time, I spend almost 90% of my time in crochet. When there are orders, I finish them, and during other times, I try to learn new ideas from the internet and try new designs.
Has networking been able to help you to take your business further? What other means of promotion do you generally use?
The power of the internet is incredible. This is what has helped me to establish my home based online crochet boutique. Social media is of great help. Facebook pages and groups help to showcase my products. People from all over the world can view my work and order. Apart from this, there are web portals through which you can sell. As for me I am just use Facebook for my crochet right now. I am planning to set up a unit with underprivileged women soon, and this is when I will go in for extensive marketing.
What advice do you have for our visitors here who would like to start a business of a similar kind?
Firstly, make sure that you have the time to get involved in this commercially. Sticking to the deadline, using quality material for your project, having samples ready for your products and a proper plan is of utmost importance.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I wish to export my products to other countries in five years from now. I will be setting up an art and craft unit in my home town, and work with local women to increase their income and skills. Rather than go with the conventional crochet, I wish to design and introduce new fashion based products for both Indians and westerners.
Vijaya, the Indusladies team wishes you the very best in all your future endeavours.