Take a quill pill

Take a quill pill

Paper wonders

Take a quill pill

As a kid, she would often spend her time painting, drawing and creating unusual things from the items she would find around her. It was in 2013 that Janani Balasubramanian decided to start ‘Kaagitham’, a handmade jewellery brand that creates intricate, easy-to-wear handmade paper jewellery. 

“The fact that I can make a living from doing something I love pushes me forward everyday. I love experimenting with new designs and also enjoy the challenges of running a start-up. Each day is an interesting one at work,” says Janani. “I always had an inclination towards art. But it was only when I quit my job and had some free time at hand that I took it seriously. I learnt about quilling and was soon hooked to it. Once I realised that handmade paper jewellery didn’t have as many takers in the market, the brand was launched,” she adds.

Janani first started a page on Facebook. “It was to exhibit my designs to a larger
number of people. I was pleasantly surprised when people started enquiring about the designs. The fact that they paid money to buy something I had created made me feel nice and kept me motivated,” she says.

The quilled products have a waterproof coating and are sturdy, light-weight, colourful and long-lasting. “We are proud of the level of customisation we offer our customers. One can choose from an existing design or share their visualisation. Our customers can select the colour and size. Some of them even send us photographs and we work around that,” she notes. “The raw materials we use are coloured strips of paper and we experiment with three and five millimetre strips. We also use other materials like hooks, hoops and beads to come up with the final product.”

About the various challenges of owning a start-up, she says, “Starting a business is a challenge by itself. It needs a lot of effort and investment. You have to give up on your weekends, holidays and most importantly, you need to be confident of the decisions you make irrespective of the judgments and criticisms you face. I was the first in our family to start a business from scratch and had no one to look up to. I kept making mistakes and learning from them.”

“We have people who regularly buy all our new designs and their confidence in the product talks a lot about the quality. We take care to raise the bar every time and love the surprised look on people’s faces when they touch and feel something that we have created. A lot of them still do not believe that such intricate and strong pieces of work can be created from mere paper strips,” she adds.