What started with garage scraps is now a bright and colourful startupTanvi Dubey
Dots to Lines is Aditi and Sunila’s labour of love. This mother and daughter duo joined hands to give shape to their artistic and creative talents. “Dots form lines, lines together make patterns, patterns put together form a design, and design is the world,” says Aditi.
HerStory caught up with them at one of the flea markets in Bengaluru and here is their story:
“Today I continue to paint and I also craft products. I am 52 years old.”
Sunila’s journey has been interesting. Born and brought up in Nairobi, this Punjabi kudi completed her diploma in commercial art from London School of Correspondence and worked as a graphic designer for seven years thereafter.
Once she got married and moved to Bengaluru, she took on the role of a homemaker. However, her tryst with painting continued. “I used to paint on and off and go for short painting classes to keep myself occupied.”
Sunila’s love for art was revived three years ago when, upon her sister’s insistence, she made Diwali cards and distributed it to people. This was her first step towards a new chapter in her life. She took to painting devotedly. Soon her son’s friends discovered her art stacked up at home and pushed her to share it with the world through sales and exhibition. “They did everything necessary and that was my first exposure into the market as an artist. After that there has been no stopping me. I have been a part of various art shows in India and abroad. I exhibit and sell my work and even have a website.
Aditi, 27 years old, was born and brought up in Bengaluru. She completed her masters in psychology-clinical and special education from Rehabilitation Council of India. After her post-graduation, she has worked in the field of paediatric therapy and worked at two therapy centres in Bengaluru. “My last jib was at Bangalore International School. I truly loved my work there and was sad to leave.”
Aditi was planning to settle down and wanted to focus on her life and that is where her decision to quit came from.
When she was taking a break from her work, Aditi decided to make a few gifts for her friends than buy it off
the shelves. Her mother’s suggestion to use the scraps of MDF (medium density fiber board) lying in the garage of their house, set Aditi’s creative chakra into motion.“My mother had collected these scraps from places and they seemed to be good for key rings – fish cutouts particularly. So I doodled on them and they looked awesome. My friends loved them and appreciated the art,” shares Aditi.
Motivated by her friend Pooja to make more key chains. She brought it up with Sunila who was not only open to the idea but also very excited about it. Both decided to expand their product range and soon came up with photo frames and coasters and gave shape to a home-run business with a love for crafting.
Dots to Lines
Sunila and Aditi started with MDF. Presently, they work with MDF and glass and with paper and paints. “We source our raw material from various places, predominantly Chennai and Gurgaon. We haven’t yet found a reliable source in Bengaluru who does justice to our designs and what we want.”
They work from home, which they call their ‘cosy space’ and the team comprises only Aditi and Sunila. They have ample help and support from family members, family friends, and even their house help. A family friend, Koteeshwar Rao, helps them with the minute finishing of the products and does all the drilling work for them.
“Our products range from Rs. 150 and go up to Rs.1,500–2000. Initially, our eye catchers have been keyrings and magnets. Our trays and coasters have been one of our hot-selling products across festivities and wedding seasons,” they say.
They have online presence on several portals such as zingohub, worldartcommunity, weswadesi, sendmygift.com, among others, and sell offline through flea markets like Kitsch Mandi and others in Bengaluru. They also take corporate orders. With their business mantra, ‘Vibrant hand-crafted art designed creatively’ the response they have recived from their customer has been encouraging.
As entrepreneurs, their one big challenge, they say, “is always about differentiating ourselves and our products in the market. Today, there are many people creating and crafting. And like I said, decoupage is a very popular technique. So with the competition we always need to have something outstanding. Hence, we fuse multiple techniques and don’t use only one. Getting noticed is another challenge, which is a result of this.”
This mother and daughter love working together. Talking of their bond says Aditi, “Oh it is amazing. Mom
and I have always been close and now to be spending all my time working with her is amazing. We have our highs and lows definitely along the way, but it is all worth it. It is hard to imagine a single day without her, and it’s scary to think that I am at that stage of life where I might get married and settled down and move away from her.”At the personal front, Aditi’s biggest challenge was to quit a job she loved and then throwing caution to the winds and starting up. Like many other entrepreneurs, she too had her doubts before starting up.
For Sunila, the artist, the challenge was getting the right exposure and getting noticed in the right market. She shares, “Initially even trusting my own work was a challenge. But over time under the guidance of my mentor, Lisa Call, I have become very confident.”
Sunila is very close to her family, especially her siblings. She recently lost her brother and it is a big loss to the family. The family keeps the duo motivated.
Of the other things that keep them motivated, says Aditi, “One is to know that you are your own boss and what you do is for yourself. The smile on peoples face when they pick up our products is amazing.”
In the coming months, we can look forward to this power packed team expand their product range and use stores across India to sell their products. “We would love to work with wedding planners and design wedding trousseaus. We are also looking at widening our product range and including fabrics as well,” they say with great excitement.