Youngsters who converted hobbies into a business

A recent event in the city saw solopreneurs, freelancers and startup founders coming together to share their stories

Neha Savara

Bengaluru has justifiably earned the distinction of being the ‘Startup capital’ of the country. Hundreds of its youngsters have refused to get bogged down on the predictable and beaten path, chasing instead things that are closer to their heart. At the second edition of Be Your Own Boss, a forum organised by Gofloaters for solopreneurs, freelancers, startups and communities, Metrolife interacted with entrepreneurs who gave up well-paying jobs to start their own ventures. Here’s what they have to share

Upcycle products move fast

A self-taught artist, Neha Savara, has been painting for about six years now. She makes upcycle products and has recently started painting on canvas. “I’ve noticed that upcycle products work better with people than original works of art. They use upcycle products for gifting purposes. It takes a different kind of aesthetics to understand and interpret art. Pantings require a niche market,” explains Neha.

Customised bags

Suzanne Sandy, an entrepreneur, manufactures and designs jute and cloth bags. She sees this as a perfect alternative to plastic. “I make customised bags and sometimes cater to bulk orders as well. I started this as a hobby and draw my design ideas from things that I see around me. I also make theme-based bags which are a favourite with young adults,” says Suzanne.

Decorative plants

Bhakti Majithia, a banker by profession, is also an enthusiastic gardener. She owes her interest in gardening to her mother who is a landscape designer. But she found it expensive to sustain her hobby because the plants and the accessories that came with it were exorbitantly priced. “This is when my mother and I decided to open our own startup called ‘Garden Art’. We bought our own plants, pots, pebbles, figurines and other decoratives and pieced it together, depending on the space it is required for,” says Bhakti. She believes plants lend a unique personality to any space.

Drawn to the art of writing

A graphic designer by profession, 24-year-old Niranjan, quit a regular job 9 to 5 job and gave into his passion for calligraphy. “I discovered calligraphy when I was working and was drawn to the art. I began exploring the field and found countless opportunities in it. I started learning it on my own and began teaching those who were interested,” says Niranjan. A full-time calligraphist, Niranjan takes orders for wedding calligraphy, wall art and does up a few cafes as well. “I now see a lot of people, including housewives, who evince an interest in the art form. They take it seriously and make an effort to learn more about it,” adds Niranjan.

Healthy snacks and bars

Architecture is Shirley Das’, first love. She worked in the field for a while before she decided that she wanted to do something creative. A fitness freak, Shirley always made it a point to eat healthy. “I do cross fit, so eating healthy comes naturally to me. I began putting together a healthy meal for myself and that’s when I thought of converting this into a hobby. That’s how ‘Better Bowl’ was born. I began interacting with people and found that there is a lack of awareness about why it is essential to eat healthy. They didn’t know what went into making a healthy meal. This is where my startup steps in. We make healthy breakfast cereals and energy bars,” explains Shirley.

The initial days were tough and understanding the market conditions took a while for Shirley. “My target group are those aged between 20 and 45 years,” she says. While a packet of breakfast cereal is priced at Rs 400, the energy bars cost Rs 50 each and Rs 300 for a pack of six. “The ingredients are home-made. My mother and I began making all the ingredients and baking it. It is a time-consuming process but the effort is worth the while,” explains Shirley.

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