Growing up in Coimbatore, Deepika Velamurugan would observe her mother drawing rice flour kolams at the entrance of their house. These, she says, were intricate and beautiful designs made using a combination of dots, different geometrical lines, shapes, and colours.
Over the years, Deepika picked up thousands of such designs from her mother, inculcating the practice as a hobby.
Taking things a notch higher in 2019, she started drawing kolam designs on home decor items and showcasing the results on Instagram. “I received a good response from my followers and many of them asked me if I can make designs for them,” she tells The Better India.
Today, Deepika runs a successful Instagram business of selling wooden home decor items adorned with traditional kolam designs, and earns a profit of around Rs 75,000 per month, she says.
A hobby turned business
Having loved painting and drawing since her childhood, Deepika pursued her BSc. in costume design from Coimbatore and started designing garments for Tirupur-based textile manufacturers.
After her marriage in 2010, she moved to Srirangam to focus on her family and quit her design job. “It was difficult to find enough time to pursue my interest in designing at that point in time. Things became better after I had my two children,” says the 32-year-old entrepreneur.
The eureka moment arrived when Deepika was decorating her home. “I came up with the idea of painting kolam designs on home decor items to bring out the essence of tradition in my house. I found a wooden cradle separator to start with, painted it with white kolam designs, and posted the result on Instagram,” she says.
“I realised that people adore traditional designs, based on the positive feedback I received from my followers,” she says, adding that since she took this activity up in 2019, her hands have been full with orders pouring in from different parts of the world.
Named Home2Cherish, Deepika’s Instagram venture now has around 30,000 followers.
While she started from simple wooden wall shelves, she now makes kolam padis (wooden steps for keeping idols of gods and lamps in pooja rooms) in different sizes, wooden plaques, name boards, wall hangings, and wooden door panels.
Deepika says that for drawing kolam on wood, she uses acrylic paint with a base coat and a coat of polish over it. “I have been drawing kolams for so many years that it wasn’t difficult for me to draw them using paint instead of rice flour. Only the medium has changed. The techniques, measurements, and everything else remains the same,” she says, adding that she only makes wooden home decor.
“I mainly use mango wood, rubberwood, teak wood, neem wood etc to make the decor items. They are mostly sourced from local dealers after making sure of their quality,” says Deepika, who also customises her products according to requests.
The home decor business only takes pre-orders, as her work is time-consuming, she says. “I am always grateful to my customers for patiently waiting for their orders. We only start making products after we confirm an order, as it takes at least 30 days to make them,” she says, adding that all the woodwork is done by her carpenter.
“After receiving the product from the carpenter, I decorate it with kolam designs,” she adds.
The decor items are priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 20,000 and have been shipped to different parts of India and the world. “I have customers from countries including the US, UK, Australia, Norway, Germany and France,” says Deepika, adding that the fastest selling products are wall shelves and kolam padis.
Kolam padis with two steps are priced at Rs 3,600, and the price increases according to the number of padis (steps).
Deepika says she also gets requests from customers asking for colourful paintings portraying mythological characters.
With huge demands for her products, she is now planning to launch a website. “Also, I have hired someone to help me out with the base coating and packaging,” she adds.
Her husband, Velmurugan, who runs a business, has been her pillar of strength, she says. “He is my support system. Right from ordering the raw materials to packing and sending the final product off to customers, he has been guiding me throughout,” she says.
To place an order visit their Instagram page.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)