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From pandemic to promoting self-sustaining handicrafts

Dharma Team: Please tell us about you and your company?

Kalaiagam: I started a macram handicrafts boutique. This is an enterprise, because we also provide our services like giving training online and offline, in making handicrafts yourself.

Dharma Team: So when did you start this and what inspired you to start this?

Kalaiagam: So during the pandemic, you know I thought what to do? I then started as a hobby and it was so meditative for me. I was creating something, and that makes me happy and positive about life. I was then looking at our neighbors, the women particularly those who are depending on their partners for the financial part. I thought doing this to homemakers so women who are unable to afford their time to learn. So I’m conducting training for them and helping out to get customers and if they have orders from customers. 

Dharma Team: So pandemic has certainly done something good for you 😊 Are there any unique methods you use, or anything unique about what you are doing? 

Kalaiagam: I have some, for example for making this fantastic hammock swing, wall hangers and so on I’ll be quite free in making them. I will go with the color that’s chemical free and make sure it is dyed in place. It's different per customer, because of how much they can afford, and that also makes me creative in making it totally customized for each order.

Dharma Team: Can you tell us about any challenges you face?

Kalaiagam: I care about conscious consumerism, not polluting the earth, using natural dyes etc but that’s not always available in the market. I mostly need to import. Other cases I need to look alternatives or wait for people to place the order, particularly financially. The chemical type of trade is only used because of the cost, not everybody can afford the non-chemical dye.

Dharma Team: What kind of impact do you think you’re conducting?

Kalaiagam: Even though it might not show through online or offline, but particularly for the homemakers where the women or children are working, they are developing their skill set and they can make their own products by themselves or their home décor. They can now make any kind of handicrafts, also if they need any at home. They are self-sustained and if they want to take up a class they can do it. Kalaiagam is mostly about offering service for the rural group or different kind of tribal communities, or women-oriented secular groups. So I’m conducting training for them to make their own livelihood and opportunity. In terms of sustainability I’m not expecting revenue - macrame is my hobby and interest and I want to connect with people through this. If there’s any feeling that I have helped building stepping stones for opportunity to grow and provide confidence, I am happy. If you want it you will have it.