Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your family.
None of my family members have a lineage into the creative industry in any way. I studied Political Science and Mass Communication and started out my career into the Public Relations industry.
I was very fortunate to work for and alongside some great leaders in the corporate world and learnt the art of the trade from the very best indeed. I always wanted to do Lifestyle PR but after a stint or two in that realm, I stuck to corporate PR as it was definitely more authentic than the former. Till this date I genuinely enjoy writing short format stuff and it was because of my initial professional journey that I realised that while one may not have a knack for writing but with focussed research and under guidance it can be learnt. My lineage takes me back to Rajasthan but my forefathers and family moved to northeast India about a 100 years ago or more.
Q2. What motivated you to start your own business? Tell us a bit about your journey?
Starting out on my own was never on the cards for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my career as a PR and Marketing professional. It entailed a lot of writing, curating content for my corporate clients, and the day to day affairs of their industries interested me a lot. During the pandemic when I headed back home for safety; this forced me to be physically away from what I enjoyed about my work. While in the beginning I thought that work would come easily to me after the two weeks we all spent in confusion as the lockdown started but it did not. But I spent time doing business case-studies and online courses and that is when I came across the concept of taobao villages in China wherein each cluster/group specialised in making a particular product. It is this concept that made me look around where I lived- northeast India, wherein we have so many existing crafts which are slowly making their way to the world but have been and will remain so a part of the local market and craftspersons.
Thus began Connecting NER i.e. connecting bits of northeast to each other and the world.
Q3. What are some of the biggest challenges you faced?
The beauty of challenges is that it will remain but also it might make one pivot to something that is not just profitable but also a game changer in all aspects. The biggest one that we continue to face as a small business is making one understand what handmade products mean. It means that it is truly made using skilled hands end to end, it takes time to be made and the fact that none of it is mass produced gives each product an identity of its own. No two handmade products will ever look alike. Not to say that one will see vast differences but we must expect a bit of colour difference and other such smaller aspects.
Other challenges that I have had to face are, as a girl, it was difficult for some to take me seriously with regard to what I am doing. But that is a part and parcel of life I guess, I laugh it off where I can and show my ability through my work rather than words.
Q4. Given a chance would you change anything in your life?
Q5. If you have to give one piece of advice to someone who’s looking to reinvent themselves, what will that be?
It will sound so cliche but never stop learning. When I got comfortable in my profession, not to say that I stopped learning new things- that I did everyday because of my clients but I forgot to include new formats of learning. 2020 forced me to learn, also because I had very little to do since I was off any kind of social media too. And, now we may give due credits to entrepreneurship but this cycle of learning concepts, new challenges is not stopping and I would like it this way.
If we want to reinvent ourselves, something else that we can do along the lines is to do something different as often as possible, even if it is the smallest thing ever. I feel that these small things, even if done mindlessly, compound to have a huge impact on our lives sooner or later. And, when we realise the change that some small good habits have brought into our lives- we feel suddenly reinvented.
About Connecting NER
YOu can find us on Insta @connectingner
You can find us and our products at 'Mitti ke Rang' https://mittikerang.org/collections/connecting-ner