Hobbistry.com is a new friendly online store where you can shop for craft-related hobby kits for both start up and advanced levels

A year ago, three friends, decided to start an online shopping site for hobby kits, in an effort to pull the youngsters away from the digital world of ipods and ipads. The idea took birth when Annie Leovalan, Physics graduate and a lover of crafts, went to the United States of America to meet her friend Sara Samuel who ran a store of polymer clay-based jewellery. The hand-made products inspired Annie to think about an online shopping site for craft-related hobby kits. Once she returned to Chennai, she shared her idea with Josephine Ramya who had just quit her job as a Human Resource professional in an IT company to look after her baby girl.

After a series of phone calls and skyping sessions between Sara, Annie and Josephine, Hobbistry.com, an online shopping portal came into being on November 14. “Our main aim was to make children understand the pleasure of creativity. We have kits for all age groups. There are kits for the basic and advanced level,” says Ramya.

Baking utensils, jewellery, book marks, sewing & embroidery materials, minakari beads, wooden buttons, terracotta bells, multi-coloured pom poms, satin ribbons, scrap books...the site provides you with hobby kits for a wide range of interests. Each kit consists of an instruction manual and components to create the desired product. “For instance, the baking kit carries an instruction manual, nozzle, icing bags, moulds and recipes,” says Josephine, who handles the creative side of the website.

With Josephine and Annie in Chennai and Sara settled in the U.S., distance is always an issue. Sara says, “Coordination is a huge challenge. We either hold meeting through conference calls or skype.” This is one main reason why they chose an online venture, instead of a retail store. “An online platform will help us work from our homes and coordinate better. Moreover, it gives us a wider customer base,” says Ramya, who handles sales and marketing functions of Hobbistry.

Sara who is a scientist and college professor, and who also handles the creative side of the site, says, “In the U.S, you have shops that are dedicated to craft-related materials. In India, however, the market of craft is scattered. So the idea was to bring them all under one roof.”

The balancing act of being a mother, a home-maker and entrepreneur is not easy. However, Sara, who is a mother of triplets, says “As mothers, we sub-consciously have an intuition and skill to multi-task.” For Annie, her teenage daughter is her inspiration to go ahead with Hobbistry. “My daughter, like me, is passionate about craft. Her work and suggestions help me with new ideas.” Josephine, unlike the other two, does not belong to the world of craft. “Being a sportsperson in college, arts & crafts were of least interest. But, being a mother of a child who loves painting and various types of craft, I was all for supporting Annie and Sara in Hobbistry.”

Their husbands helped them putting the site up. “My husband works in the field of marketing, and Ramya’s husband works in the online marketing field. Annie’s husband is a software engineer. They give us the necessary inputs and helped out with the technological and online marketing part of the business,” says Sara.

Although their base is Chennai, they have a good number of clientele in Bangalore, Odisha, and Delhi. Their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Hobbistry, has over 14, 000 likes. The three say that in future, they may think about a physical store.