She has a wide grin as she answers my questions and is very clear about what she wants – an Iced Eskimo. I had to bribe her with an early morning coffee to meet. It’s 7.30 am we were sitting in Cafe Coffee Day and Kavita is full of energy. What was planned as a 30 minute interview went on for 3 hours. It did not stop at just understanding the business model and the spirit of needle doodle but we ended up walking out as good friends.
Hi Kavita, good morning. You are an early raiser!
Good morning. I want to be one but it is not possible. As my two partners and I work till late evenings or should I say, early morning. Designing and creating exciting stuff for clients. I have so many orders pending. The smile droops and I see her mentally calculating how much work is pending!
Three partners? I thought it was only you. Who are the other two?
It’s a three people team. The two partners are Stuthi and Darsh – my 4 year old twins. They help reduce my work pressure and keep our studio calm and controlled 🙂
Who does the final call?
They almost decide everything from giving ideas, colour combinations, helping me in finishing the product, modeling for the product and quality control 🙂
What else is left for you?
I just follow their advise and implement their idea. They were the ones who suggested the car themed bags, plane themed bags and they were a huge hit!
That’s an interesting team you have. Can you tell me about your childhood?
I was born in Shillong and its my luck to be born to two forward thinking parents who brought me up fearlessly and made me strong to take on any responsibility in the world. I was very keen to become a pilot for quite sometime and later moved on to pursue swimming and lawn tennis. I am a decent swimmer and have participated at various competitions at district and state level. I was very creative and I think I picked it up from my mother. I was always designing something or the other. I was good at making candles, apparels and all outdoor games.
When did Needle Doodle idea come up?
I was taught to stitch my own dresses and work on fabric and design things from my childhood by my mom. I used to love stitching new dresses for myself very often. After my study at NIFT, I got an opportunity to work in the UK with John Lewis as a Senior Sales Manager and worked closely with high end clients for two years. I also found clients appreciating my bags, dresses and works. I was encouraged by this response for my art and was content.
Once I was back in India, my bags would stand out whenever i used to go out and people used to ask me where I had picked it up from. Once they came to know its my work, they would request me to make one for them. I would reluctantly do that but that’s how my clientele started. Slowly the orders increased and I realized there is a lot of love for natural, handcrafted, personalized products and the message was very strong if it was a eco-friendly. Thus Needle Doodle was born.
What does Needle Doodle do and what is your first success story?
Needle doodle offers innovative handmade creations from fabric for a simple & elegant Lifestyle. We are specialized in bags, dresses, greetings and many more. My first success was winning the best stall award among a small group of stalls at a local exhibition. The biggest boost was that all my products were sold out the first day of the exhibition 🙂 From then on there is no looking back.
What is your USP? What is your best selling product now?
Needle Doodle has products that bypass all age groups and price points. You have products ranging from Rs.20/- to Rs.1200/- (There are some costlier ones made to order) which can be used by toddlers to grandparents. I am working on a series of products but the most prominent on my list is Addiction! Addiction is well accepted all over the world. My designs have reached international markets too 🙂
Addiction is a handbag, laptop bag series made with good quality cotton, jute combination and sometimes I also use artificial leather. I try and keep it as natural and simple as possible. These can be customized as per client’s taste. (She carefully unwraps all the bags she has and goes on to explain all of them in detail. I am amazed with the amount of care, attention to detail and the simple lovable story behind each bag. She then explains to me where the bag is going and tells me she feels bad every time she sends out the bag to clients!)
So you feel bad when the bags go out?
Yes. It pains me but my clients send me pics of them using my creations and then I feel that the love has come back!
What is the trend on the fashion scene now?
Small bags are the trend, especially clutches and this guitar shaped bag is a clear winner across all markets.
Let us talk finances. Can we?
She again has that big grin of hers and thinks before answering. Is it compulsory? I would like to keep it confidential. She tells me the figure and it is mind-boggling. I think I should start stitching too!
Where does your inspiration come from?
I keep traveling all over the country to understand the traditional crafts, designs and am always on the look out for authentic designs, materials, trends and am ready to listen to any interesting idea. I also frequently travel abroad and seek designs, choices there too. My favorite place is Europe, especially Paris.
What role does your family play? Are Stuti and Darsh interested in designing too?
My hubby Mayank Jain is my biggest inspiration, supporter and critic. Without him I couldn’t have taken this much responsibility. I am delighted to have met and married him and it has been pure bliss living with him. He has amazing patience and is my pillar of strength. In the 3 hours we were chatting up Mayank is keeping her posted about the riot at home and letting her know that it is okay if she is delayed. My kids and parents help me in my household chores, sourcing materials, packing and what not! My kids love what I do and are also into singing, coloring, dancing, swimming and many other activities. I am going to give them a free hand to decide whatever they want to become and encourage them.
How can my readers find your products?
You can find my products on many online stores and also on facebook. You can follow me on facebook here and reach out to me by call/whatsapp: +91 – 9663372609 or mail: Millimjain@gmail.com.
Any message for young entrepreneurs?
Just follow your passion and love what you do. Everything else will fall in place.
As we walked out of the cafe and walked back to her car, I realized how important it is to follow your passion and use simple marketing tools to reach out to a wider audience. I also realised you needed to pursue your passion no matter what. As Kavita puts it, Why stay idle when you can doodle?
If you are looking at great looking affordable handmade bags for your wify, sister kids, girlfriends or colleagues call Kavita for a customised bag now and do mention Talk to Tiger to earn special brownie points and an attractive discount. It is a healthy addiction after all!
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