#Interviews

Woman Starts Crochet Business At 56!

Nishtha Suri crochet business
Nishtha Suri started her own business at 56 and she keeps inspiring other women to learn a skill and be independent in their lives. Nishtha and her daughter shared the story of their lives and showed how gathering courage makes one strong enough to make anything happen.

We get to hear often that women should be encouraged to have a career and a voice for themselves but rarely do the people around them let them do it. Women are still applauded for being controlled by their husbands and household duties. Whenever they try to break the pattern and do something different, they are mocked and given names. So for a woman to take ownership of her talent and pursue it till she builds her own business is commendable. Read along to know more about the courageous Nishtha Suri.

Nishtha Suri’s Early Life

SheThePeople spoke to Nishtha’s daughter Sakshi Suri who narrated the inspiring story of her mother. Sakshi Suri says that her mother was always intrigued by art and crafts since childhood. But just like most parents, her parents thought it was just her hobby. She was a bright student who was studying in a convent school in the hills of Northern India. But due to her father’s transfer, they had to move to a location where she could get admission only to a Hindi Medium School. Owing to the family’s decision and Nishtha’s introverted nature, she was not pushed towards exposure to a hostel. Her brother who had always been an extrovert and was sent to a hostel. Suri doesn’t keep any grudge toward her family but that was a starting point wherein her introverted nature was misunderstood and became an obstacle for her. Nishtha like many young girls too faced such strictness, which led her to become a quiet shy girl.

Sakshi says that learning how to crochet was an interesting incident in Nishtha’s life. As she grew up in the hilly region, the locals there use to weave and knit their own woollens. One day Nishtha learnt the art of crocheting from one such local person and started doing it for herself. She says, “Mom picked up very quickly as she already knew it and started making different things from her own and she hasn’t stopped ever since.”

Nishtha was also good at singing and she pursued music in her higher studies but sadly her parents weren’t ready to let her travel very far to carry it as a profession. She got gigs at radio stations and sang a few jingles but irrespective of how promising her talent was, gender came across as an obstacle. At this point, Nishtha got married. In her new household, she was expected to play the role of a dutiful daughter-in-law who wasn’t required to do a job. But with time due to the financial crisis, Nishtha had to take up a job as a teacher to help her family. Teaching at a school was not something Nishtha dreamt of doing but life happened and that was the right choice for her.

Nishtha lost her first daughter at only 1.5 years of age which became very tough on her, then after a few years, she had Sakshi. Amongst every ups and downs that Nishtha went through in her life, according to Sakshi, it was crocheting that gave her a breather. Sakshi said, “she was handling household, my studies, her own job and within that hectic life even if she got 10 mins to break in between chores, she would crochet.”

Nishtha Suri Crochet Business At 56

And life continued to keep going. One day, three years back, Nishtha made a jewellery piece from crochet and showed it to Sakshi and said, “I want to show this to people, this is my creation & what if others like it too!”. They had no plans about selling but just showcasing her talent. Sakshi created an Instagram page and put that picture randomly and unexpectedly the photos reached tens of people. And they started getting requests to sell, once they agreed to make it for sale, they got booked up for the next few months.

Nishtha suri crochet business

In frame: Nishtha Suri and Sakshi Suri

Neither of them even dreamt of this happening but Nishtha had a feeling that following this sign could finally give her the identity she always wanted to earn. Sakshi said, “My mum has always been a risk taker & always has high hopes, she took out a big chunk of money from her salary of being a school teacher & invested in this crocheting business. Mum was 56 when she started this new phase of her life.” She said that it took some time to reach the stage of constant orders and reach people outside acquaintances but within months they could see it happening.

While working at her school, Nishtha faced gendered discrimination there as well. The male teachers were treated differently than the female teachers. They had to work harder to prove that they were worthy and often fall into office politics and hear foul things told behind them. After working there for 27 years and adjusting to the injustice, it was now that Nishtha was confident to counter it and stand against such practices. According to Nishtha it was her business and reading up on social media about feminism that gave her a voice. She finally recognised her ability to do what she wants and not give in to society’s expectations.

After a year of the business, Nishtha and Sakshi started to see tiny bits of profit. At this point, Nishtha took the decision of leaving her day job to focus entirely on the business. This was not a rash decision but a well-thought one, she learnt how to manage her money online and prepared herself to take life in a very different way. She wasn’t very happy with the job and saw her future in this business and followed her heart. This is not at all a common sight in households where women think about themselves and their dreams, that too once they have reached a certain age but Nishtha had the confidence to break the stereotypes. Now they use their Instagram account to primarily focus on their business operations.

Sakshi pointed out the sad nature of society as she said, “It’s 3 years of this business & we have tripled in the profits yet our family members refuse to take it as a real business, they say, ‘accha hai samay beet jata hai tumhara(it’s a good way to kill time).’” Sakshi shared that she is earning now and provides for her family while she helps her mother with the business. The mother-daughter duo has now started a training program for teaching other women crocheting too. According to them, every woman should be skilled enough to be able to do something for themselves. If the women can open their own businesses or just learn it as a skill or hobby that would also meet their aim. As it is all about empowering all women. Watch her story here.


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