Vintage décor is a rage lately. From fashion shoots, bridal showers, to weddings, people add some dash of vintage elements to complete their settings.
For those searching for such timeless charm, a natural go-to place is Asungla Jamir’s Lavender Bliss in Chümoukedima, whose products capture the essence of the old world charm creatively transformed to suit new world aesthetic.
As pleasing as they are to the eyes, soothing planters, vases, furniture in signature white base and floral patterns adorn the work station of the home based venture started in 2015. Most of these products were transformed from simple tin sheets.
“My interest in gardening had me using various containers as pots for different plants. The possibilities of tin became very obvious to me and I was soon bursting with ideas for different containers of different shapes and sizes for a multitude of purposes,” Asungla shares in an interview with The Morung Express.
With no formal training whatsoever in the craft she is now proficient in, the initial journey wasn’t as easy for this businesswoman with a Master in English Literature who took the road less travelled.
“It was hard being able to see in your head what shape you wanted the sheet of metal in your hand to be and the complete different shapes they took because of my initial lack of crafting skills,” she recounts.
There was a steep learning curve to very basic things, Asungla discloses. For instance, it took her a lot of research and enquiry to find the ideal method to paint the surfaces of the products, the paint to use and application etc.
Perseverance to the rescue
Apart from skills and materials, there was also apprehension about starting the enterprise without having a required financial backing. But, she overcame all the hurdles through sheer perseverance.
“I learnt that problems arise every day, not just at the onset, and eventually you get better at handling them a little at a time,” Asungla says.
Apart from getting better crafting skills, recruiting people who have a natural knack for it and knowing exactly what kind of paints work best with the metals, she says, “Now I know where to get my most needed raw materials, a big hassle in the beginning”
Professionally, it was ‘Hornbill Bamboo Carnival,’ on December 2015 organised by Nagaland Bamboo Resource Centre, where her products first received appreciation from customers.
While admitting that her idea is not unique, she says her inroad into the modest venture can be taken as transforming a passion into action and each product carries her unique impression. “I try to make my products pleasing to the eye so that not only do they have a practical purpose but contribute to the aesthetics of where ever you choose to use them.”
For Asungla, God’s given creativity needs to be expressed practically. “Designing and then creating my products is my way of expressing a part of myself. Whenever I am able to give form to a new idea, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and maybe even a sense of catharsis,” she adds.
However, she has had to abandon some ideas for the want of infrastructure and special machinery which were financially not viable. “Mine is a home enterprise, I do not have the financial resources to do all the things I wish I could do,” she admits.
Motivation and success
Doing what one loves and getting paid to do it is how she defines success. And key elements of success to her are inspiration, smart work, hard work, patience, prudence, discipline.
To budding entrepreneurs, Asungla advises not to expect to become rich immediately. “A major reason many entrepreneurs let their businesses waste away or close down is because the business is not meeting their unrealistic financial expectations in the first few years so they lose the drive to care for their business.” Another advice is to consider the population, the economic distribution, and who among them might patronize their business.
“Make prudent decisions and recognize your shortcomings. Enlist others to cover for those shortcomings,” she suggests.
Passionate about her work, Asungla never really thinks about the hours she puts in though it does occupy her from early morning till well into the night. “But I can always detach myself immediately from whatever I am doing to socialize and have a life outside of my work. I guess that is one of the perks of working for yourself,” she adds.
Apart from the thrill of holding the completed products in her hands, the single greatest motivator for her is appreciation.
Customers’ satisfaction is also her recipe she build their base. “Advertising is good, but the best advertisement is someone hearing positives about you from someone they trust.”
The possibility of losing her drive is also Asungla’s greatest fear. “Once the drive is gone, this will no more be a passion but a job I only do for income.” Her mantra to keeping the interest alive is through interacting with like-minded people and poetry.
Lavender Bliss products are available in ‘Naro Ki’ outlets in Dimapur & Kohima; Corner Space, Kohima; Home Romance, Mokokchung; and Yours Happily Ever After, Wokha. Individual orders are also taken on its Facebook page.