We often hear and, sometimes, practice recycling. However, our mompreneur Manasa Priya Yedla goes beyond that and works by means of upcycling – a creative reuse which features the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, or unwanted products into new products of better quality or for better environmental value.

A masters in business administration, psychology and parapsychology, Manasa found her professional calling only when she quit her job as a banker and decided to become a stay at home mother to her son. Based out of Bengaluru, she is successfully running a crafting business in the longer run- Upcycled. SheThePeople.TV spoke with Manasa Priya Yedla about her business venture ‘Upcycled,’ her passion for the craft, and what it takes to be a stay at home mother.

How did you develop your interest in the field of art and craft?

I’ve had an eye for creativity ever since I was a little girl. School, of course, played a major role with all the painting and SUPW classes, where we were taught the basics of everything like card making, sewing, cooking, recycling, etc. That, and watching my mother make all the embroidery, glass paintings and recycled crafts laid a strong foundation. My style of crafting ranges from being a die-hard paper crafter, to adopting latest and contemporary styles. Pastels are a huge obsession when it comes to shades and colours. 

Turning discarded things into something productive is pure joy for me.

How was the shift from working as a Banker to taking up crafting as a full-time career and being a stay at home mother to your toddler son? What led you to start something of your own?

It was a conscious decision to not go back to a corporate career given some health complications. Having said that, I always wanted to pursue something that I am passionate about and can never get bored with. After my son was born, I decided to take care of him as a stay at home mother. It was then that my passion elevated from my subconsciousness and I thought of starting Upcycled. It was basically to keep myself occupied and make use of my time creatively. I realised soon enough that this is where my heart lies and I must take it up as a full-time profession. I’m content with being a mother and a crafter, love the way this is going!

What triggered you to try out new ways to reuse the discarded? Please tell us more about how Reusing, Recycling and Upcycling have been your prime focus.

I started Upcycled with a motto of creating lesser footprint and greater memories. I’ve always believed that having things handmade and customised is a great way to spread happiness around, as it gives a personal touch. So, I began using old boxes, scrap papers, or waste bottles to transform them into customised home decor and gifting solutions.  That was my prime focus, which later also expanded to many other techniques like decoupage, SOS peso, mixed media, scrapbooking and paper crafting. These techniques are all self-taught and I religiously use them in my projects.

Manasa Priya Yedla

I’ve always believed that having things handmade and customised is a great way to spread happiness around as it gives a personal touch.

You take up workshops, have a blog, and use social media to share your craft. How has social media and the digital world played a role in your life? Please share your experience of teaching and spreading art around.

Crafting is a less known and less encouraged form of art in India. While there are only a handful of people who pursue crafting as a full-time career, hundreds of others do not think of it as a professional path despite the passion. I want to reach out to those who want to attempt something like this but don’t have the knowledge, guidance or resources. With my blog and social media presence, I try to bring awareness around various forms of crafting and products available in the market. I also do reviews and watch party videos on Facebook so the public knows what it is all about. Workshops that I take reflect the same idea. The digital world plays a crucial role in these endeavours because the work gets greater visibility across the world, it gives easy access, and spreads information in a jiffy.

Crafting is a less known and less encouraged form of art in India.

How did your childhood shape your thought process about women being independent? Who are the women that have inspired you?

Childhood is undoubtedly the most important phase of our lives. We constantly imitate, learn and imbibe behaviours and thought-processes. My mother has inspired me tremendously as I always observed and learned from her. As a child, I was always taught to perform all tasks by myself with my own understanding and that is what helped me understand independence. If I talk about creativity, there was never an occasion when I didn’t make a card, a handmade gift, or a decorative piece to surprise. I did it with whatever little supplies I had at the time. That eventually turned into a passion and my profession in the long run. 

As a child, I was always taught to perform all tasks by myself with my own understanding and that is what helped me understand independence.

What do you have to say about stigmas attached to working women, especially mothers? What is your routine of work?

Yes, there’s a lot that women go through when it comes to perceptions the society forms for them. But again, I believe we have the power to overlook negativity and stigmas, and smash stereotypes. When it comes to my work and family life, I’ve initially experienced that phase where I’ve had sleepless nights, a plethora of pending, and everything else all over the place. However, one can find a set routine if there’s a supportive backing. Now, I follow three simple steps and I am sorted for the most part. First, I plan out the day in advance by scheduling everything in mind and on paper – .the meal plans, crafting time, child’s work, pending projects and some alone time for myself.  Second, I try to be punctual and avoid procrastination. Third, I enjoy the work that I do and that is what keeps me going.

Manasa Priya Yedla

As a couple, my husband and I figured out that work-life balance is the most important thing to get it all right. This is something we have always walked through together.

How has motherhood played a role in your growth personally and professionally?

Motherhood has taught me a lot of patience. This is something I’m sure all mothers agree to. Maturity, too, comes in handy with motherhood – the ability to take reformed decisions. Being passionate and consistent keeps me going.

I have a toddler at home and I work from home so it’s definitely not easy, but then what is? It gets tough to balance responsibilities sometimes, but that’s what helps me grow as well.

What would you like to advise fellow mothers who are aspiring entrepreneurs?

I would like to advise all mothers to strive hard and never give up on their dreams. Yes, home and family is a responsibility and is an important aspect of life, but women must understand that their work and dreams are as important, too. So, they must work towards what they’re passionate about and realise that they are blessed with the business acumen that can help them undertake leadership and entrepreneurship. Attempt something every day that makes you happy for the rest of your life.  

Attempt something every day that makes you happy for the rest of your life.

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