Lifestyle Asia - 3 entrepreneurs on launching their brands amid the pandemic
Born into a family that has led the handicraft movement in India, it was time that Vasundhara Kumar jumped onto the bandwagon. A former PR professional, Kumar created a home decor label in a bid to support the Indian craft legacy she has grown up in. Each piece at Eartthry tells a story and is created to preserve ancient craft, techniques, and livelihood of artisans with a modern, minimalistic aesthetic.
Launch: Starting a brand is a challenge on a regular Tuesday, but during the pandemic, it created a whole new world of challenges. For a brand like us, whose USP is upcycling handicraft items into a modern design, our biggest challenge was finding the right vendors to work with. We couldn’t travel to the places where you have to feel, touch, and see the items, so everything had to be done over the phone, on WhatsApp with images. I had to resort to drawing a lot as it was the only way to make my vendor understand what I wanted. Delivery was also an obstacle during the second wave. We are lucky to have clients who were extremely patient and waited for their orders to reach them.
Learnings: The only way to overcome obstacles is determination. Being an entrepreneur, I’m always learning from accounts to social media to production. The greatest learning is don’t give up. If something doesn’t sell immediately, it’s okay. I have an example of this moment, we created an entire range of boho-esque cushions inspired by Bali, the colour palette was neutral, but we launched them when the site launched in October, and not one sold. Even in home décor, there are seasons and come summer, we are almost sold out. Patience is key!
LSAforLocal: EARTTHRY was born out of the dire need to support local artisans, heritage, and encourage centuries-old craftsmanship that is now on the verge of extinction. This is our core mission and vision. We work with the same artisans whose family has worked with mine for generations. From supporting them financially to getting their families vaccinated and in general, showcasing their craft, we try and support them in every way we can.
Lessons: Only advice I can offer is don’t give up. Yes, it is hard, we have been hit badly, things are slow but at the end of this pandemic, we will all bounce back stronger. So maybe, use this time to put management and production in place, so that when the market really opens up, all your processes are smooth and efficient. Also creating strategies during this time is a good idea, the pandemic has taught us how to pivot.