If you thought the passion that spurs someone to dream of launching a startup is reserved for those Millennials in ripped jeans and sweatshirt, think again. Baby boomers in relaxed-fit kurta too can feel the same zeal. And for them, a lifetime of experience comes as a bonus.
Maria and her two sisters, viz., Reenie and Rosie, were such late bloomers. But when they swapped sipping tea in front of the television for starting a homemade preserves and pickles business, the siblings weren’t intimidated by the pressure of making money.
For the sister trio from Kanjirappilly, their new business, ‘Sister Act’ was more of a fun activity that kept them engaged in the dawn of their lives. ‘Sister Act’ now travels the length and breadth of Kerala with their jams, fruit preserves and condiments to take part in exhibition-sales. The siblings equally enjoy a good chit-chat with their numerous customers and the challenge of growing their small business.
The second edition of Kochi On Flea.K held on September 9 and 10, was indeed an anthology of such inspiring startup tales. And for two days, the playground of Toc H Public School, Vyttila, saw savvy shoppers and foodies snubbing branded stores and malls for trawling through a mishmash of stalls.
More than 30 young enterprises were showcased in the vibrant exhibition-sale, which varied from couture, jewelry, accessories, food, preserves, bags, interior décor stuff, etc. Famed Kanjeepuram designer Beena Kannan was an active presence during the opening ceremony, much like its first chapter.
Recycling tailoring waste to style statements
Radha Gomati's bag business is literally a rags-to-riches story. Her main raw materials are textile rags. The Chennai-based entrepreneur conceived this incredible idea when she saw huge bundles of rags being burnt to ashes.
“Just think of the environmental pollution and the waste of resources involved in that simple act of burning some 'useless' clothes. But are they really useless?...SangMitra is all about reusing 'that beautiful piece of cloth' you're sure will be burnt,” she said.
As you cannot possibly find two pieces of tailoring waste in the same size and shape, each product of SangMitra is a unique style statement. They make a range of bags, including small handy mobile pouches to college bags and huge shopping bags. SangMitra has an active online business portal too.
Food magnets and Amateur clay décor
A Chennai-based engineering graduate, Shilpa, designs something that would equally excite foodies and travel junkies. Her tiny food magnets make great gifts for all. The miniature food sculptures look so much realistic with finesse in detailing and perfection in color blending.
“I am not a foodie but I have somehow realized that food is something so specific and deeply rooted in a city's culture. Wouldn't it be great if you could take away the food you have relished from a city and cherish it for the rest of your life? My miniature food magnets developed from such an idea,” Shilpa said.
Much like Shilpa, Anu, a Thrissur-based artist, has always been an admirer of soil and her immediate surroundings. After her graduation from NIT Ahmedabad, she turned into pottery and started designing home décor materials that bring out elements of home and nostalgia. A range of accessories from wall-hanging clay tablets to plat-pots and sculptures were displayed at her stall.
“I don't know how many young artists would venture out in clay designing apart from taking it up as a hobby, but I have felt clay is one powerful medium to express your creativity. I get inspired from my home and surroundings. You can find a connection to the theme 'home' in all of my works,” she said.
Redefining women's lingerie
Yuvanta, a Mumbai-based designer group, displayed in their stall a bunch of chains made of beads and pearls but with loop-less hooks on both the ends. But how would they expect us to wear it? Their answer was simple: a strapless lingerie. Yes, hiding those hideous lingerie straps is one of the most annoying game women have to play on daily basis. This designer brand has a beautiful solution to the problem.
Apparently, the organizers of the market, viz., Bhavya Babu Mathew, Anz Elizabeth Esho and Leah Rachel Abraham, were inspired to set up the market after witnessing its popularity in Delhi and Bangalore.
Elaborating on their efforts to organize yet another versatile flea market in Kochi, Leah said, “It is nothing but Keralites' sheer readiness to accept everything new that motivates them in their enterprise.”
“Kochi has a vibrant crowd who are ready to make every novel idea a great success. You can't find this encouragement anywhere else and that's what inspires us to bring down more to this town,” Bhavya added.
The second edition of the flea market winded up by 10 pm on Sunday, disappointing a huge crowd who weren't done with their shopping yet.