My name is Amrita. I am the Founder of Alankaara. Alankaara is a venture to make a difference in the lives of the people who struggle for their daily meals. Products by us are made by the underprivileged.
What is Alankaara about?
Alankaara is a design studio/workshop/warehouse where magical things happen. If you’re an old soul trapped in the modern world where everything is fast and hazy, you’ll find solace in our products. We are those souls that can watch the waves crashing onto the rocks for hours on end without getting bored. We are the gardeners who deal with mulch and pollen allergies without breaking a sweat. Our products incorporate a piece of nature, like a flower, leaf, pebble, seashell, sand and even tree barks that are frozen in time and preserved for you to appreciate it for many years to come! We believe that in an age where everything and everyone is literally hurtling towards the future, there needs to be a pause button. We believe in making products that make you pause, stop, and wait, appreciate, and feel reverential.
When did you begin The company?
August 11th 2016 was when we registered and became a registered business. But the journey began much earlier, around October 15th 2015.
Did you study or go through any special training for the business?
The business was built from scratch as my graduation project in Srishti college of arts design and technology, Bangalore. I studied under Industree Foundation founder Jacob Matthews in his lab called, “Impact Edge” where we were trained to be social entrepreneurs. We learnt how to maximize a business by applying our learnings in real life scenarios.
How did it all begin? The hurdles? The milestone journey!
It began when my project took me all way to Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, where I worked with seashell artisans whose bread and butter was the craft they practiced. The tsunami hit their businesses as well as imported products from China. So I went there to revive their craft. Which is how the whole idea of preserving a natural resource came into being. The biggest hurdle in the journey was to identify the people who were actually suffering and help them. There are many people who take advantage, but to look through the lens and find the meek ones who actually needed the uplifting was and is still by far the biggest hurdle.
What is the significance behind the name “Alankaara”?
Alankaara is quite straightforward. In Tamil it basically means ‘Beautify”. The deeper meaning or rather explanation is that Alankaara is an abbreviation of the first letter of all the inspiring women in my family. it goes as far as 4 generations of names of the women in my family.
What was the best and the worst advice you received when you began your journey?
I am related to a string of businessmen and I get a lot of advice. The worst advice is “leave emotions at the doorstep of your workplace”. I disagree with that because I am not a robot. Without human values, what are we really, right? The best one I’ve received is, “follow your very first gut instinct. Do whatever it says”. Oh, that advice has carried me forward so much!
Would you describe your journey to be a successful and happy one? Kindly describe
Yes! I worked 2 jobs before I started off on my own. I worked as a merchandiser and I learned processing, how to control uncontrollable situations and mainly I learned how to multitask like mad! The day I quit was scary but I was truly happy that I was my own person. The freedom I felt is unexplainable. Ever since, it has been amazing. I’m not going to say it was easy. But it was definitely a happy one.
What are the further plans for Alankaara?
We work according to a timeline. Every month we take up a project and work towards it. We analyse which one will be the most challenging one and make products accordingly. These challenges ensure the growth of our product line and thus the growth of the enterprise.
Do you believe in dreams?
I’d be a fool to not believe in dreams. I’m an avid believer that if you dream big enough and work hard enough, those dreams do come true. I’ve never been one to ask for help, or use my family as a cushion for when I fall. I’ve noticed that depending on people doesn’t build character. It breaks you down. So since 2015, vie dreamed of having my own space, vie dreamed of filling it with antique furniture and adopting a couple of stray cats and being the girl that works odd hours. I started off working in my dad’s garage with one table and shelf. I was a merchandiser by day and a crafter at night. I saved up, worked my back off and within 8 months, I managed to set up a steady revenue, register the business and rent out my own space. In less than a year, I managed to turn my dream into a reality. I now work out of a 1000sq ft. space, filled with antique furniture and have 2 cats, a boy and a girl. So yes, dreams come true. Even the wildest of them!
If someone was inspired by your journey and wanted to take the path you did, what would you tell them?
Id asked them to not be scared.
I was scared to death, I’ll be honest. When I quit my job and came home. I was shivering to my bones. It felt like rock bottom. My family offered help, my friends insisted on saving me but I was determined to do this on my own. And as hard as it seems, things always work out in the end if you believe in what you’re doing. Sometimes you’ll just sit with your head in your hands hoping for a miracle, but past all those sleepless nights, there’s a nice big happy reward waiting for you. I’d say, don’t be afraid to dream big. Dream as big as you can and work damn hard and you’ll get what you deserve!