Saturday, 31 August 2013

Stringing a beady tale with love

Personal stories of success always are a wonder to narrate and here I am with one such tale which I admire and choose to share with you.

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When Sridevi in the film, English Vinglish informs the class that she makes laddus and sells them, by way of introducing herself, she is lauded as an Entrepreneur. That scene was an AHA moment in the film. I'm sure that scene touched many a chord and left one teary-eyed. 

This is a tale of one such entrepreneur, who left her job with a leading Luxury group when she had a soul call. Most often a soul call doesn't happen twice and Archana Avinash of Strings & Beads was wise enough to heed that call and follow its direction. Thus began the soulful and beautiful journey of Strings and Beads - Handmade precious and semi-precious jewellery using gemstones, Tibetan silver and silver. This was in Qatar, Middle-east in circa 2011!





Archana's love and attraction to jewellery especially heavy, chunky statement pieces naturally enabled her to begin Strings & Beads. Hailing from a family where all the women did some kind of hand work, Archana says that she genetically and naturally had to use her hands to create something that she enjoyed doing and also that fetched her money. Archana says, "My Grand-mom used to sketch, stitch and do lovely embroidery. My Mom went on her mom and till date stitches some of the most gorgeous clothes and bags. So Jewelry happened very naturally to me. I loved stones and started putting things together. I started with stretch bracelets, then I worked around simple necklaces and finally came earrings."

Like most personal ventures, Archana also faced disappointment and financial constraints in the initial days after starting S & B as she quit a job that paid handsomely. But she had her heart and soul into Strings & Beads. There were exhibitions she did in the Middle East (Qatar) where she didn't sell a piece. But thanks to her friends-- her only clients then who picked all that they liked and encouraged her. Having a supportive and wonderful husband also was her great pillar of strength. In Archana's own words, "A shoulder to cry and a crazy pal when we celebrated successes."

 Archana's medium of work in the beginning was limited to glass beads and metal. Eventually, her liking for Silver increased and also did her love for Gemstones. She came across tarot and Crystals about a year after she began S & B. She saw some amazing results for S & B with the crystals and that's when she went on to learn Tarot card reading and Crystal Healing. Now a practitioner and a designer, she is able to bring about an amazing balance with Aesthetics and Metaphysics.

She procures her beads from around the world from suppliers approved by GIA (Gemological institute of America) and her Silver are all handmade in India and Nepal.

The greatest challenge she faces are the copiers in the market. People come to her to learn the art and begin something by themselves and have even tried stealing her clients. But Archana is quite happy that she has many clients who have also become her friends and family standing by her.
 Archana has come a long way since she began her journey before 2.5 years and the sailing hasn't been quite smooth. But what she has understood is that inspite of many copiers out there, they really don't live long. And as Archana rightly mentions, "True creativity cannot be contained. It is something each one is born with and that which you end up nurturing."

And thus Archana nurtured her soul call and here we are with beautiful strings and beads! In early 2013 Archana shifted to Chennai and since then her journey has been functioning from the South of India to many countries in the world. One visit to her Facebook page leaves you sighing and wishing that you owned atleast one S & B piece of jewellery.


Archana has been showcasing her work in different venues in Chennai and recently exhibited her work entitled, Madras Memoirs in the 11th edition of By Hand, From the Heart, the market place for hand made stuff from South India.

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Postscript: Written for the Indiblogeshwaris Ladies Independence Special Contest in association with Women Entrepreneurs in India

All images are from Strings & Beads Facebook page.

19 comments:

  1. What a beautifully inspiring story, Susan! I am very glad she followed her heart.

    By the way, I also loved that moment in English Vinglish - in fact, I simply loved the movie!

    :-) All the best!

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Vidya. That film moved me so much. Lovely film. Have a great day.

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  2. Good to know about Archana. You know that movie has struck a chord with so many of us. I even remembering writing a post on homemakers after that! And best of luck to you!

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    1. That movie was wonderful on many levels, Rachna and after a long time a woman-centric mainstream film was made by Bollywood.

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  3. nice...when you have those soul callings you really have to follow them if you really want to be happy...its cool to see those that are following theirs...

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    1. Some choose to play deaf and sometimes I think there are many who don't identify those calls. Sad. Like you, even I'm happy when I hear stories as this one!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Vasudha. Welcome to the Meanderings. Archana's story is wonderful.

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  5. Cool that u wrote abt them Susan !
    I love such handicrafts
    Only bad thing is u bought what all i loved on the site ;(
    just kidding
    :)
    good lck

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    1. Ah, Afshu, she always makes lovely pieces and you can always find something that you like. Thanks for coming by, dear A.

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  6. Beautiful...where can I t her pieces?

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    1. I have given her link in the post. Please do click on it and it will lead you to her Facebook page. Thanks.

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  7. Such lovely jewelry...and it takes lots of grit and courage to follow your heart and be there even when things do not work out as planned. Archana...keep it up.

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    1. Ah, her jewellery is my weakness and I'm always ogling at her pieces but alas! my purse is light inspite of my greed!

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  8. Thank You Susan for writing this !! You have written it more beautifully than the journey that has been !! :)

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    1. You are welcome, Archana. Your story inspires many and it is worth to be shared. Thanks for coming by.

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  9. Hi Susan,

    Great article. Enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing the inspiration.

    Best Regards.

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