Bangalore-based Kalyani Ganapathy’s niche venture, Kye (which means ‘hand’ in Kannada), is about dollops of handmade happiness and homemade goodness. She paints, embroiders and screen prints her whimsical ideas on bags, purses, and cushion covers. Started in September 2008, the business, which specialises in handmade fabric products, gives her the much-needed break from the “giant screen” where she freelances as a graphic designer.
q. Please tell us about your background and childhood years.
a. All my school years were spent in the Nilgiris. I spent most of my school years at The
Lovedale. I then moved to Lawrence School to study advertising and graphic design. Bangalore
q. What were your initial years in the workforce like? Where did you work?
a. While still at college I interned at an ad agency and soon found myself detesting the job. After college I worked at a design studio, my initial few months were spent just learning on the job. The best part of it was that almost every thing I worked was a challenge of a different kind.
I worked with various graphic design studios before freelancing and teaching.
q. Please tell about the ideas, work and creativity that goes into thinking up new stuff and creating them from scratch.
a. I find myself constantly thinking, be it when I am walking my dog, reading, or even shopping. I seek inspiration from things around me. I like to paint in the form of stories. What may seem like one story to me may not seem like that to anyone else. I believe that art is subjective and is best left open to interpretation.
The tougher challenge is making these ideas workable to paint and stitch on fabric. I think it is attention to detail and the hours of laborious work in the pursuit of perfection that make ‘kye’s’ products unique.
q. What are you working on these days?
a. My focus at the moment is ‘custom made’ furnishing and accessories. Apart from this, I am thinking about larger collections for retail.
q. Would you like to share an important lesson that you’ve learnt as an entrepreneur?
a. My biggest learning is to keep persevering and never let the downside of business get to you.
q. What do you enjoy most about running a creative business and what are the things that give you a tough time?
a. I enjoy waking up to a new challenge everyday. I enjoy the fact that the work does not get repetitive. And most importantly I get to meet and interact with so many interesting people whom I never would have met sitting in an office.
q. Would you like to say something to all those vibrant, creative people out there, who would like to become self-employed but somehow cannot quit their jobs or take that plunge?
a. The creative life looks very glamorous from the outside, no one realises the kind of effort that goes into a simple job. My advice to all the creative people out there is to stand your ground, dream big and believe. There is nothing more satisfying than going to a job you love.
q. Any message you’d like to include here?
a. It may seem a little preachy but I think it needs to be said:
Support your local artisan, be it your local potter or the girl next door who makes hand crafted products. It would be very sad to see such a large part of our heritage wiped out by mechanisation.
Thanks a tonne for your time!