The very beautiful Art by Susmitha – II


Hi there again! How have you been since you read about the gorgeous jewelry created by Susmitha? Done any online shopping ;-)? If someone had told me 10 years ago that I, in India, would be sitting in my bedroom ordering diamonds online or food, or my curve ID jeans, I’d have believed the food and jeans, but not the diamonds. But that’s precisely where we are today – with just about ANYthing, and I mean ANYthing, not just anything!, available off of the net.

Distance selling was, and is, believed to be impersonal. But online shopping experiences that give you a one-on-one connect have changed that game. Stores like Etsy put you directly in touch with the seller, who is no longer an anonymous byte lurking somewhere behind layers of data! And Facebook pages have brought the private profile to the customer.

So obviously my next questions for Sus were around this phenomenon. And she sure does put things in perspective. Read on!

The power of the internet and of course, global shipping 🙂 has helped you immensely in operating from your studio where you create, and connecting with your customers worldwide. How has the concept of the business-on-the-internet helped you grow?

It is hard for me to imagine my business without the internet. My first sales were on the internet. (Ebay is where it all began. 🙂 And then I graduated to Etsy). I have tried consigning at local boutiques and the experiences have been alright I guess, but nothing has matched the convenience of being able to sell online. For me, the fact that my creations are safely at home with me makes the effort of packing and shipping worth it. Besides, I truly enjoy interacting with my customers! When I get feedback after a package has reached someone, it’s almost as good as seeing the expression on their faces when they opened that package. I often go through the feedback pages at my Etsy stores just to feel good. 🙂 My Facebook pages have been great for this as well! It’s so awesome to read people’s comments about my creations and it’s great to share my excitement with the ‘fans’ when a new tool arrives or when I’ve created something new. I’ve made so many new friends, all over the world, thanks to selling online! Kindered spirits whom I’ve never met in person but have been friends with for years! This means so much more to me than the selling itself!

artbysusmitha_elena

Without the internet would you have considered marketing your work?

If online selling didn’t exist, I suppose I would have tried marketing my creations offline, but I doubt if it would have been as much fun. So I feel truly blessed to have discovered “business-on-the-internet” as you put it. 🙂

artbysusmitha_azura

E-biz has spurred so many businesses online. How do you rate your competition? Or don’t you consider it such :)?

I know a wise business person would keep track of the competition but I’m not one of them. Hehe. Besides, I barely even consider my business a business. It is only technically that because I happen to sell what I create. But really, the business aspect is just a side effect of the creating. I’d be just as happy keeping everything I make to myself, but there’s only so much a person can do that. :oP

The handmade jewellery market is extremely saturated. There are way too many people making jewellery from home and attempting to sell their pieces onlie. A lot of them are highly talented too. But that doesn’t really bother me. I am of the attitude that if we make something with love and have the intention to sell it, it will sell. I’ve even written a long-winded blog post about this. hehe http://cutelittlepackage.blogspot.com/2009/07/make-it-with-love-and-it-will-sell.html

I find it unnecessary to compare/rate so called competitors. I’d rather just admire the beauty of what they make and even promote it with Etsy treasuries. I believe that each person has their own kind of talent and the lesser they compare themselves to others, the better they allow their own creativity to bloom.

artbysusmitha_blackroses

If you would like to, share some of the experiences with co-creators on etsy.com.

Etsy has been, and I believe it will continue to be, the best online marketplace I have ever sold at. In my view, no other site has matched it yet. And lately, they are focusing more on the socializing aspects of the site and that makes it easier than ever to follow, admire and communicate with fellow artists.

I am a member of many wonderful Etsy teams – Vegan Etsy, Etsy Veg, Etsy for Animals, Pagan of Etsy, Etsy Ugly Cute… (I’ve even started a Bengaluru Artists Team but it’s had zero activity so far. :oP). Among all the teams, I am most active on Vegan Etsy (http://veganetsy.blogpsot.com) and Etsy Veg (http://etsyveg.blogspot.com). These two teams promote kind, compassionate artists and creations. I have met some amazing people on all these groups and have become very close to some of them. Often, if I have to purchase something, I first look at my fellow teammates’ shops before looking elsewhere.

Outside of the teams, I have also made a few friends with people I have purchased from and vice versa. I have many, many favorite sellers on Etsy but off the top of my head, here are some who offer fantastic creations and with whom I have always had great experiences buying from: DaisyWares, NaturallyHip, aktie9, CindyPack, NGOriginals, SweetVConfections, UberDuperCreations. I would recommend any of these shops with complete confidence.

And here are some stores I have admired for the longest time and intend to purchase from in the near future: Ctbydonna, vegandish, silentlotus, thisisit, vegancraftastic, krugsecologic, darkfaerie, myzoetrope, Veganville, CricketsCreations. I had to make a great effort to limit this list to just ten. I could go on and on and on. LOL
I hope to continue to to find more talented artists and great people on Etsy and build long lasting relationships. 🙂

artbysusmitha_oceana

I hope you enjoyed reading! And keep those comments coming. It feels great to hear from you!

And of course, thanks Sus for taking time out to talk :)!

All pictures are copyright Susmitha. Please do not copy without permission.

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The Boutique, Ginger Hotel, Mysore


I was in Mysore the last couple of days for a wedding and stayed overnight at the Ginger, Mysore. While the hotel itself isn’t something to write home about, a charming little crafts shop inside the Hotel is. Called The Boutique, it is truly a craft lover’s delight.

There is so much written about shopping for genuine handicrafts in Mysore, but if you can, check out this tiny store that will surprise you with the sheer number of beautiful hand made crafts that it can fit in, from all over India and overseas.

It’s run by G.V.Rao, who had a corporate job and very senior positions in MNCs before he decided to give that up and do something closer to his heart from the love of crafts. His trusty source of suppliers from years keep this store sticked with silk scarves from Kashmir, brass and copper pitchers from Persia, parchment holders from Tibet, brass lamps from Kerala and much much more.

I totally wanted to pick up half the store :), but here’s what I ended up getting.

tibetan crafts

A jar, an incense burner that can hang on the wall and a prayer receptacle. The jar and incense burner are from The Boutique. I had picked up the prayer receptacle from the Bylekuppe Tibetan monastery (near Coorg) last month.

prayer wheelA close up of the prayer wheel

frameA frame in silver+white metal and another incense holder

garuda maskA mask of Garuda in the same silver+white metal

So if you’re in Mysore, don’t forget to stop by this lovely store. Rao is a very patient, knowledgeable guy and he will help you choose what’s right for your home! I only wish I’d taken pics of the store itself :(. When I do get pics I’ll post them for sure! The prices are not exorbitant, and in fact after I’d finished paying for my stuff, he gave me a silver bracelet, for free! How sweet is that?!

The world of Vividha


I found this picture of the blue wall of my kids’ room. How I love this blue!

blue wallLooking at the little thingamagic on the switch reminded me of where I’d bought it. And that led to fishing for this image of the curtains in my kids’ room.

curtains

If you’re thinking of a makeover for your kids’ room to uher in the new year or about to decorate a brand new one, visit Vividha. A store that brings you kids furniture, bed and bath products, stationery, accessories, tons of utilitarian products with that touch of colour and design that is totally appealing to kids! Trawl no more around the internet (or pay a packet for shipping or that vacation abroad) for these ultra cute accessories as well as large furniture.

According to their website, Vividha is “the brainchild of Veena Deepak, a mother of three who understands how a friendly space for children helps nurture their creativity and other human values. We aspire to kindle curiosity and learning in today’s kids through the innovative use of Indian motifs and ethos”.

Vividha has 3 stores in Mumbai. But you can shop online. Their products are sorted by type (furniture, bed and bath, etc. ) and by theme. So you can pick a theme and go all the way or mix and match colours and motifs to suit your little ones’ imagination. Here’s a peek at some of their products. And I say peek, there’s a LOT more at their store!

call of the wild theme

The Call of the Wild theme

spring fields theme

The Spring Fields theme

sports theme

A sports theme

curtain2

Giraffes on curtains, a sunny yellow

quilt2

Colourful quilts

sofa

A tiny sofa. I’d love one of these for myself!

tent

Loads of fun pitching a tent

organizer

Organizer

door stopper

Door stopper

They also have a host of services for occasions related ro kids. Be sure to check them out!

All images except the first two are courtesy the Vividha website.

TempleTree – The Paper Boutique


A year has gone by. And one Christmas bazaar to another, TempleTree still enthralls. It was by far my most fave stall at this year’s OWC bazaar too! Here is my loot from today…

templetree gift tags

Gift tags, in packs of 5 and 10. I was hard pressed to pick out just 5 of the designs!

templetree gift wrap

And the gift wrap paper. You just have to firmly tell yourself to stop! They are all so fabulously colourful!

So here is a year old post, very much a post for today!

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A million colours jumping out at you and whirling you away into wonderland. Reds and greens vying with each other, while the blues simply transfixed. Silver and gold motifs bouncing around. Walking past TempleTree – The Paper Boutique at the Christmas Bazaar was wondrous.

Meet Sonali Maniar, who brings colour into everything she touches. TempleTree Paper is her venture, and she designs and makes the most beautiful products with paper. A graphic designer, Sonali has had her share of working with retail giants like Fossil, Lyric (the company that produces Barney) and JC Penny. But when she had to take a break from a full time career she went back to her first love – paper. And the Mumbai TempleTree Paper store was set up.

mumbai store 2

mumbai store 1

Her studio cum store in Bangalore is a recent addition. It’s a riot of colour and it’s like festival time all year round!

Sonali started out scrapbooking for herself. Only when she started making tags and cards and expanded her range of work, did she think of going commercial. Now, her studio is set up at her home, and clients visit by appointment only. It gives her a personal sense of being in touch with clients and giving them exactly what they want, she says.

boxesDiwali gift boxes and flower boxes for Ohana

Sonali custom makes a number of personal stationery things like notes, cards, gift tags, party invitations, and box invites. Working on greeting cards where she can exercise her creativity is her favourite activity.

invites packaging

Baby shower bags, invites and matching chocolate wrapper, party invites and greeting cards (clockwise from top left)

You can also pick from her range of gift wrap paper, wine bags, and boxes in all the colours of the rainbow.

gift envelopes

Gift envelopes

Website: http://templetreepaper.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Templetree-the-paper-boutique/389656025574

Store Locations:

Mumbai
Preyas, 20 Dadyseth Road, Babulnath, Mumbai 400007
Store Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm

Bangalore
Villa 319/2 Adarsh Palm Retreat, Outer Ring Road
Belandur Post, Near Intel Offices, Bangalore 560103

Call Sonali at +91-99452 77749

All pictures courtesy and copyright TempleTree Paper