If you’ve ever thought about running your fabric and design business, you’ll be interested to hear from Poonam Rohit Garg, owner of Canvas2craft on how she got started and what are her experiences of running a creative business.
Based in Bangalore, she makes canvas products such as cora, denim and jute purses, pouches, potalis, clutches, totes, and bags to cater to a wide range of needs and budgets.
Formally trained in various aspects of arts and fashion designing, she worked at Bangalore Institute of Fashion Technology and with Madura Coats where she edited their popular magazine ‘Needle ‘n’ Thread.’
After a few years of work, she decided to dip her toes in the self-employment world by braving it on her own. With dauntless courage, unshakeable conviction and devout hope and a loving and supporting husband by her side, she started Quiltsiop Recently, she rebranded her venture, and it is now named canvas2craft to reflect the entire range of products that she makes.
The idea of working with fabric, design, and handicrafts always excited her. Bags have always fascinated her and ignited her creativity. It’s been more than a decade that she has been designing and stitching handmade bags and quilts. She also conducts workshops on making bags with various techniques and styles. Hence, launching an entrepreneurial venture focusing on making bags was a natural next step for her.
She says, “A bag speaks volumes about a woman– it is her visiting card, a canvas for expressing her individuality, personality and mood. And that’s a need which branded-made-in-production-line bags can’t fulfill.” Canvas2craft provides the canvas to her customers to showcase their creative skills in painting and embroidery. Customers can embellish the products with various hand-crafts such as painting, block printing, decoupage, doodling, dot painting, crochet, and vegetable print.
She designs products that are both practical and functional, and are an unusual combination of beauty and utility. She says, “ The unique thought behind my products is that during the entire process of market research, designing, sketching, drafting, making, quality check, photographing, photo-editing, marketing the focus is not on the product, but the customer – for my products are a medium for my customers to exhibit their imagination, style, and skills”.
While she has made significant progress in the last two years, the next milestone that she wants to reach is to be recognized as a ‘Brand.’ She says customers should take pride in embellishing bags and purses made by her. She wants to break the consumers’ obsession and infatuation with ‘high-end’ factory-made purses and bags. The consumers should feel a sense of self-respect while using purses which they have painted or decorated. They should derive pleasure in flaunting their creativity, their personality through their work of art on purses and bags.
She has one piece of advice for women who want to branch out and start something new. She suggests that women should set their goals in mind as it is very easy to get distracted or discouraged along the way. People should reach out to others in their community of interest and seek their help and advice. But never give up. When you feel low, go back to your original goals and think about the reasons why you started.
When she started, she just had two sewing machines and one tailor. It’s been a long journey since then. Last year alone, she has manufactured more than 11,000 pieces and supplied to more than 300 customers all over India. The appreciation message that she never gets tired of listening is, ‘I want to place another order.’ As her products are not factory made, she double checks every piece after stitching and finishing.
Apart from gleaming customers, she feels immense satisfaction as she provides employment to needful women and works with various NGOs training destitute women, helping them become self-reliant.
Her products can be bought from here.