Jagjyot Kaur had been working as an HR professional for 12 years when she decided to quit her job and take the plunge as an entrepreneur. She co-founded Raamaé in 2019, a home & lifestyle brand that supports Indian artisans with Mohit Ahluwalia. They design and co-creating products made from generational art forms. Raamaé is a Balinese word that describes the lifestyle of people in Bali, which is to find joy even in a crowded and chaotic world.
“With our designs, colour palette, touch and feel, we aim to bring calm and cosiness to everyday living. With each finished product, we strive to deliver purpose through its art form”, she says. Adding that she is on a mission to preserve art forms on the verge of extinction because cheaper and faster production methods are not sustainable for our planet and all its life forms. This will also generate employment opportunities for artisans passionate about keeping their art alive.
The turning point
What compelled her to leave her cushy job and seek a new direction in life? “A trip to Bali I took a few years ago was the turning point of my life. There, I noticed the potential of a substantial handmade product market as the Balinese were creating quality and aesthetically-pleasing products. I wondered why Indian handmade products don’t enjoy the same popularity that their foreign counterparts did”, she explained.
This nudged her to explore India’s well-known generational art form – block printing. They spent time with artisans, learning nuances of the art and brainstorming how to change the landscape of this art form to make it relevant in modern days. They understood the market need and designed products by blending archival prints with modern prints in subtle hues and calming palettes. This gradually gave shape to their brand Raamaé.
“I have to constantly make decisions, apply different perspectives, analyse and evaluate current data to find the best and most efficient solution to problems we keep facing” – Jagjyot Kaur
Talking about how extensive the process of creating handmade products, she said, “We calculated and analysed that once we finish conceptualising a design and start creating a new Raamaé Artisan Quilt, the first one takes 26 days to be made with a collective experience of 12 artisans. It is mind-blowing how each artisan and process contributes to the creation.”
Entrepreneurship is not a piece of cake, she admits. “I have to constantly make decisions, apply different perspectives, analyse and evaluate current data to find the best and most efficient solution to problems we keep facing”, she says.
Recalling the initial days of entrepreneurship, she explained how she had to be on top of everything – designing, manufacturing, branding, marketing, hiring, logistics, and customer experience. However, seeing the product coming to life and receiving global acceptance is worth the hard work.
Mastering skills like communication and time management is also pivotal to successful entrepreneurship. “Following productivity rules and prioritising your work, setting time boundaries to avoid procrastination, learning the art of effective meetings, and saying no to the less important stuff is crucial”, she explains.
She also highlighted the need for entrepreneurs to slow down a bit from time to time and prioritise the team’s physical and mental health by encouraging open and honest conversations and offering resources and downtime.
She advises aspiring women entrepreneurs to become financially literate before getting into this. This will help them deal with economic challenges in a better way. On the other hand, harnessing the power of digital can be a game-changer. “I can’t imagine my life without Google Documents, where I keep a record of everything”, she signs off.
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