Young city entrepreneur who started business at 19
• Why as a young entrepreneur you stayed back in Bengal when the usual perception is Bengal has no business opportunities?
MYRA was born in 2014 while I was pursuing my graduation at the age of 19. I travelled a lot in and around Bengal to explore the art and craft traditions here. In the process, I got to witness rich handicrafts being created in the most scientific ways in the remotest villages of Bengal. The enthusiasm and hard work that go into making an art piece inspired me to bring together the various art forms and stay back here for constant exploration and creation. It gave an impetus to my creative journey and it’s a myth that Bengal doesn’t have business opportunities. There is a huge market out there, only that it needs to be tapped.
• What is MYRA all about and what does it mean?
MYRA is a brand of exclusive, handmade contemporary costume jewelry. In Latin, ‘MYRA,’ means ‘extraordinary.’
• There are many players in the costume jewelry scene, then why did you choose this as your vocation?
I started off playing with beads and threads from a very young age by combining them to create simple appreciable pieces for my classmates.Initially, I did not choose this as my profession, but somehow my peers, family and well wishers gave me a boost to try and think of the commercial side of jewelry designing. And yes, there are so many players in this scene now, yet I took a huge risk in investing in this field. However, I have no regrets as I can reach out to the public with my creativity and thankfully they have accepted it very well.
• How good is the market in Bengal for your products?
Bengal is a great market for our products, because most of the people here, being lovers of art, are not only followers of trends, but are also open to experimenting with handmade jewelry.
• Do you hand make your jewelry at your own workshop or outsource them?
We make most of our products by hand and the rest are assembled with a signature touch of MYRA. Majority of our artisans are from Bengal – some trained in techniques down generations and others are trained for niche handicraft products.
• What kind of designs and material do you use? Any folk art or craft form of Bengal used?
Most of our raw materials are mixed media – wood, brass, pure silver, gun metal, copper, fibre, fabric etc. and we try and combine them to bring out a completely different art form. Our creations do not directly reflect a Bengal folk art/craft but one can identify some of our pieces as tribal wear, inspired by various folk art forms.
• Do you think start-ups like yours will survive?
I strongly believe that if we pursue your passion honestly and with dedication, there is no such thing that can stop us from surviving. Seeing so many wonderful ideas coming up and the rapid growth of start-ups in the city, it gives us a major stimulus and the will to grow more. If we can identify the target group well, Kolkata does have a great market for such products.
• Do you intend to start an online store?
Our one-month old standalone store has been a dream come true, and surprisingly, in a social media and technology driven world today, we have been receiving a great response.MYRA does have business pages on social platforms, but not an online store yet. We do have plans of starting our online store in future.
I believe there must be a perfect balance between online and standalone stores, and both can co-exist as they have their individual character and charm. MYRA’s immediate future plan includes diversification of products, which we have already started working on, a tiny reflection of which can be seen at our standalone store.