Saranya Selvaraj is a mompreneur who manages her online crochet store – Tasharts She is an engineer by profession who turned out her hobby into a profitable business. She sells handmade crochet dolls, accessories and bags. Saranya shares about her business journey with WOI-Womenpreneursofindia.
“Go for it and grab every other opportunity!”
I was born, brought up and now bringing up a little girl in my most favourite city- Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. My grandmother was a boss lady and the one who set so many rules for me and my younger sister! We were not allowed to watch TV nor didn’t we have any other children in the neighbourhood to go and play with. So during holidays, I used to draw and colour something. That was my only hobby! And then there was a Tamil kids magazine which got published monthly once, I still remember how I would wait to buy it! Not only to read it but it got some crafty things to do that excited me so much. I think that’s where my love for crafts started. After schooling, I joined Electronics and Communication Engineering.
And then, circuit diagrams were the only drawings I did for whole 4 years! I came out of college with an Electronics Engineering degree and an IT job which I didn’t join because my parents were not happy with me going to another city for job. I also tried for jobs in coimbatore but luckily I didn’t get any. I used the word ‘luckily’ because being jobless at home brought out my long lost love for art! I started trying out various DIY activities and paintings.
And, in another one year I got married and pregnancy followed. During pregnancy, I had a lot of leisure time, I used to read books and paint a lot. Pregnancy was quite a smooth ride for me but postpartum was not. I had few problems in lactation and stuffs which I obviously sought professional help. But, my mind was not as peaceful as it should be. Postpartum blues or depression – anything you may call it. I wanted to channelize my energy in to something that I love in addition to being a mom. Painting came to my mind as I always enjoyed doing it. But, I wished to try something new.
Pregnancy not only gave me my precious baby but also a beautiful community of moms through Instagram who inspire me in every possible way! One such soul is Anjana Dhanvanthan of @thelazyparent. I don’t know her personally but I love her posts on parenting and every other simple stuff. When I was looking to learn something new, I came across her posts about crocheting and how it’s so therapeutic.
Once my baby was a year old, I got some time to sit back and relax. That is when I tried crocheting by watching YouTube tutorials with the yarn available at home and a random crochet hook that I got from a local store. It took me half a day just to hold the hook in a comfortable way. Once I got a hold of it, there was no looking back. I loved doing it; it was so calming and therapeutic! Plus, it’s mess free and easy to resume from where you left.
I started crocheting whenever my baby slept or while she was with her father or rest of my family. Once I learnt the basics, I went ahead and got a good high quality yarn to make something for my daughter. I made a beanie, a cute little crochet top and a name bunting for her. I was so happy how those tiny things turned out and it pushed me to do more and try out various things.
After a point, I decided to try amigurumi, I gave it a shot, made one and I posted it on my personal Instagram page. Many of my friends loved it and encouraged me to do more. I made some more toys and kept posting them. Slowly my friends started asking me whether I can make a particular toy for them, I told a BIG YES! And, they insisted me to get money for it as they want it for gifting! And that’s how my hobby turned in to a business! Getting paid for doing what I love the most excited me. Also, this is the first time am earning by myself. Being financially independent is one thing but more than that, now I have something that I can call my own! And then, I went ahead started a business account on Instagram in the name tasharts to update my crochet works.
As it is a hobby turned business, I had a lot of things to take care of. When it was just a hobby I can work on a small project even for two weeks. I had no commitment. But now, time management comes first in the picture. I took a while to figure out on what to do and when to do. Right from replying to the queries I got to shipping/ delivering the orders, I allocated certain time for each work. Since yarn is sourced from online shops, I use my breastfeeding time as shopping hours. My work hours are quite flexible. I utilize most of my free times crocheting and completing the orders. My most favourite work hour is during night when everyone is sleeping! That is the time when I crochet faster and also for longer hours with no distractions.
My first customer is my friend from college; she needed a miffy doll to gift her nephew. That was so special because I wrote a pattern by myself because I couldn’t find anything online. I was so happy how it turned out and the best part is she loved it too! Apart from friends and family, I had my first customer in my first pop-up stall. A lovely grandma got a sling bag from my stall for her granddaughter who couldn’t come with her on that day. Sentimentally, she reminded me of my late Grandma!
And the biggest milestone in my business journey till now is my first pop-up stall which I mentioned before. This was an opportunity I just grabbed without a second thought because I didn’t want to miss it just because am new to this business. I had that gut feeling telling me that it is going to be a great opportunity. I registered for it, just 10 days before the event. And, I used most of my time and made all the things that I can, also tried making new products apart from dolls. I still could not believe that I made it! It was a great learning experience too, to meet the customer and sell the products, got to know what actually people like to buy and much more. Also, I got good response and feedback for my work.
My family is my biggest support system. I am grateful for my husband, who is the one who always supports and encourages me to do more and better. My parents and in-laws had been the sweetest. They took care of my daughter when I had to work continuously for completing last minute orders and while I worked for the pop-up. My little sister being a true critique, always takes time to point out cute factor and not so pretty things in everything that I make. And, my little girl being so sweet is so adjustable when she sees me with yarn and hooks. Then not to forget my friends who go extra mile to support and motivate me. They all played a fair role to make Tasharts what it is now!
One thing that keeps me motivated is the answer I gave to some people, who told and felt that, ‘I chose to marry and become a mom too early!’ I told them, becoming a mom won’t limit me but will surely empower me. I will definitely continue to do what I love, whenever I feel the time is right. I don’t know whether it made sense to them or not. But, I am glad, I proved myself right and It always gives me confidence to go in the path I chose!
I am still learning a lot of things in this business and I don’t want to stop learning. The one thing I realized is that, it is ‘OK’ to take things slow! I work on limited orders for now and work on plans to expand my venture but I don’t want to rush up things. I feel, I am still not in a stage to advice other awesome women who want to become entrepreneurs. But all I want to tell them out of my little experience is, ‘I assure that you will not regret going for it, if you are confident in what you are doing!’
Though mine is just a start up, it gives me so much confidence and good vibes about myself. It keeps me going and helps to improve my skills. Branding of my business is still a work in progress but that’s not the real struggle. I am forever thankful for everyone who believed in my skill and bought my products. Lastly, I would like to thank WOI team for selecting me to be featured on this platform. This is yet another milestone for me!
Thankyou Saranya. Your story motivates many more women to come out of their cocoon to pursue their passion. WOI wishes you all the best for your future endeavours. Keep Inspiring!
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