I am an interior designer by profession and crafter by choice. I specialise in corporate designing and have worked in this arena for over five years. I was attracted towards paper crafts since I was a child but after I got married and had my child things took off for me. I was mostly at home and therefore had the time to experiment with papers and colours.
Tell us about Growing Craft
At Growing Craft, we specialise in varieties of scrapbooks, record books, magnets, mixed media art, creative utility items and much more. All of our art work is very unique, made as per our client’s requirements. Before we start out work, we have a detailed discussion with the client to understand the likes and dislikes of their loved ones. We make sure that when they receive the gift, the first thing that they utter is, ‘WOW’!
Our target market is mostly women between the age of 23 to 40, wanting something unique for their loved ones or something special for their home.
Why did you set up the company?
In 2012, after having my daughter, I wanted to capture all her precious moments. I was searching for someone who could make a nice personalised scrapbook for my daughter. I found a few options but was not very happy with the work, quality or personalisation. I therefore decided that I would make it myself. In the process, I started Growing Craft because I realise people were facing the same problem as myself, and I had a solution for it!
Growing Craft started off in early 2013 focusing on making personalised handmade scrapbooks. We’ve now been going for over two years and we have happy customers from all the corners of India, and a few in the US, Bangladesh and South Africa.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
As with every company, we have also had our share of challenges. Managing time between work and family has been my biggest challenge. There have been days when my daughter won’t let me work the whole day even when there are deadlines to be met. Those days became very tough. I would wait till my daughter went to sleep at night, and then I would work late to complete the orders. My husband would stay back with me at times to help me in whatever way he could.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I would like to mention my second order as my greatest achievement. It was from a lady from Ahmedabad. She wanted to arrange more than 700 pictures of her daughter in a single book, and the book has to be handmade and personalised. At that time, we did not have proper supply sources nor the necessary tools for such a big job, but looking back, it was fun a lot of fun making that book.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration has been my family, who have been pushing me forward. Also, I would like to mention a special thanks to all our customers who have inspired me to create something new every time.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
My husband has also been very helpful, taking care of all the external work.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
Listen to you heart and don’t be afraid of experimenting. But, always remember that there are many things in life that may look really simple, but may actually be a little more complicated. Do your research before taking a dive.
Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
There are a few groups on Facebook that have helped me get orders. Whenever I had a problem with certain techniques, I always explored YouTube. You get a lot of detailed videos of crafters from around the globe which are very helpful.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
What does the future hold for you?
We are working on a new concept which will help a lot of artists in India. If things goes as per our plan, I am sure, things for many artists would simplify to some extent.
About Soniya Agarwal
Soniya Agarwal (born on 06 October) is a Mumbai-based crafter who turned her hobby of paper crafting into a business. Being the founder of Growing Craft, she comes up with her own designs and ideas to make important occasions even more beautiful with her handmade gifts and goodies. A Rourkela native, she graduated from MMSID, Pune but chose to carry on with her passion for crafting. She started with cute albums and scrapbooks for different occasions and now Growing Craft makes a wide variety of beautiful handmade items from gift boxes, name tags, pregnancy books, MDF décor and much more. Soniya works single-handedly to make all her products with great care. Her goal is to capture everybody’s precious memories under one product and to see her customers happy with her work.