Sale of Deepavali wares by home entrepreneurs takes centre stage

Ranganayaki A, 82 years old, will be stepping out of her house in Santhome to showcase her intricate bead embroidery work at a Deepavali exhibition-cum-sale.

She would be among 12 other home-based entrepreneurs, who will also display their creations at CP Art Centre, Alwarpet on October 25 and 26 in an event organised by Vanaja Sree Enterprises.

Each of these women have an inspiring story about how they turned their passion into business so that they could be financially-independent and how they made the necessary adaptations to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Ranganayaki A and (below) Vanaja Ramanathan. Photos: Special Arrangement

Ranganayaki A and (below) Vanaja Ramanathan. Photos: Special Arrangement  

To beat loneliness after the death of her husband in 1992, Ranganayaki took to bead embroidery, with the basics of it that she had picked up during an overseas tour. In recent times, she has been honing her skills through tutorials on YouTube and magazines.

“I did not participate in any outdoor exhibitions since the pandemic began last year, instead I kept adding to my collection. Now that I am vaccinated it gives me more confidence to step out,” says the octogenarian who will be showcasing her works that can be worn as choker, bangle and stitched on clothes.

It’s raining exhibitions
  • Women self help groups are selling their festival special products at an exhibition organised by Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women at Annai Teresa's Women complex, Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam
  • The Bengal Weavers Rang Mahal are back in the city with their range of handwoven saris and handloom dress materials. The sale is on till November 1 at CP Art Centre, Alwarpet.
  • At the Odisha Artisans Association’s crafts bazaar, open till the end of the month at Sankara Hall, Alwarpet, more than 30 stalls selling a wide range of textiles, jewellery, paintings and white wooden dolls are on display.
  • Preethi Handicrafts has a range of handicrafts and handlooms from Rajasthan, Orissa and Kashmir. The sale is at North Mada Street, Mylapore.

Recently, Ranganayaki, a member of Inner Wheel Club, took part in Tulip Bazaar that was held online. “There is a different joy in seeing a customer face-to-face and receive their feedback about your work; it gives me more design ideas too,” she says.

For organiser Vanaja Ramanathan, the sale also means contributing a part of the collection to charity. The cuttings for the petticoats and nighties that she sells are done by her, following which it is outsourced to women from the slum clearance board in Ashok Nagar who stitch them.

“I have been doing this for more than 20 years and helping underprivileged women earn some money,” says Vanaja.

Her enterprise has a database of 200 women entrepreneurs and every time Vanaja plans an exhibition she announces it in the group.

“Pandemic was a tough time for us, but many of us have found new ways to do business. We have been setting up stalls at gated communities, the most recent one being at Majestic Park in Virugambakkam,” says Vanaja.

Last year, Jayalakshmi P from KK Nagar took up a space in front of her house to put up a shop selling homemade snacks like vadams and pickles. “I was not lucky as there were two other outlets on my street, so I am pinning my hopes on this sale at the CP Art Centre that has been lucky for me in the past,” says Jayalakshmi. She says her family subsists on her income and for the hardwork she puts in preparing these items people must shop from her. “Athirasam is a Deepavali special and I am selling the batter,” she says.

Jute bags to bedspreads from Karur, each of the stalls show how women are trying hard to find their feet amidst the pandemic.

Educating the girl child

Sowmya Silks is organising a sale of a wide range of saris and salwars at another venue at CP Art Centre through which the enterprise hopes to meet two needs. Sowmya V, who runs the unit, says they are helping the weavers in Kancheepuram who are left with much unsold stock due to the pandemic. “A small part of the proceeds from the sale also goes toward educating the girl child,” says Sowmya. The initiative has been running for 15 years where half-a-dozen girls are chosen to meet their educational expense.

“We started this with our staff’s child and since then we have been increasing the number of beneficiaries who are chosen by word-of-mouth,” says Sowmya.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 3:15:13 PM |

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