In 2016, Gurugram-based Sanpreet Kaur found herself at a crossroads when she was pregnant with her son. She faced a conundrum that most women deal with at least once in their life — the choice between being a stay-at-home and a working mother.
“It was just my husband and me. So, one of us had to quit our job, so I did. I left my nine-year-long career in advertising to raise my son,” recalls the 35-year-old to The Better India.
“I was a star student in my college and loved working. So, quitting my career was a tough choice,” says Sanpreet, who has previously worked for agencies like McCann, Ulka, and JWT Contracts Limited as a creative director.
While the baby boy filled her home with happiness, she felt something was awry. Soon, she started having depressive episodes. Considering her inclination towards creativity, she eventually took up macrame art as a hobby to combat her low moods, which soon changed her life and turned into a prosperous home business.
Today, Sanpreet creates a variety of macrame art pieces and sells them through her Instagram account — @atinytwisted.
‘Everyone asked me to focus on the kid’
“After the birth of my son, I frequently experienced depressive moods. I would miss working and found myself questioning ‘why only me?’ Because I’d worked really hard in college to get good grades and land a nice job. My parents spent a lot of money on my education, and I felt like I tossed everything away. Why is it always the women who suffer?” says Sanpreet.
“I would stay agitated and irritated all the time. I felt suffocated and trapped,” she says, adding, “My mother would ask me to focus on my child and not think too much. She did not understand why I felt the way I felt; no one did, and even I could not pinpoint what was wrong initially.”
She continues, “Even when I was around people, I felt alone. I would not play with my kid and wait for him to fall asleep so I would get to sit alone. I realised that the major trigger for me was leaving my job.”
While scrolling through YouTube, she came across a video which talked about postpartum depression. “When I saw the video, I realised I had most of the symptoms and there was no one who could help me. I realised my mood swings might affect the baby, so I decided to do something about it.”
“I knew I was not this person. I was always energetic and fun-loving, and I had to pull myself up. My husband at the time did not understand what was happening to me, so I had to do something on my own,” she says.
Art came to her rescue
Sanpreet had recently moved to a new home and was focusing on decorating it. While scrolling through Pinterest to look for ideas she came across macrame pieces. “I loved how they looked and wanted to try to make them on my own. I looked for tutorials on YouTube and found many. That is when it all started,” she says.
“More than anything, it relaxed me and helped ease my anxiety. I made a few flower pot holders and posted them on Instagram. A friend asked me to make 6 pieces for her and I was elated. She was technically my first customer too. That is when I realised that this could actually turn into something more than just a hobby,” she says.
Recalling how she would feel pressured to be financially independent, she says, “It was all me; call it ego or self-pride, I hated being financially dependent. My mother and husband would say that there is no need for me to work because money is not a problem. For my mother, it was like a luxury — to live at home and raise kids,” she adds.
In 2019, Sanpreet started posting her pieces on social media and gained attention from the beginning. She says, “Even though we did not get a lot of followers, we received many orders. I reached out to a friend Pinky, who was also going through a similar phase as I once went through. She also found macrame art relaxing, and today, she helps me out with the orders too.”
Sanpreet sells her work online through her website and Instagram account — @atinytwisted. She makes swings, wall hangings, decor for kids’ rooms, dream catchers, nameplates, mirrors etc. Her macrame Christmas decor was a great hit this season. All her products are also available to buy on platforms like Etsy and Amazon.
“I absolutely adore her work. I love how she includes her children in her workspace and even teaches them. I am amazed at how she has used her talents while going through a tough time. The products are of great quality and fine workmanship,” says Archana, a regular customer at ‘A Tiny Twisted’.
“This year we got a big order from Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu. We made decorative rickshaws which were loved by everyone and then we got orders from the US also. We had more than 1,500 orders a month. What started as a way of coping with my anxiety is today a fully grown business, and I love to do it,” she says.
After a small break during her second pregnancy in 2021, she plunged into the business. She has sold hundreds of products, and her custom nameplates and leaf wall hangings are the best sellers. She now has a team of eight and has earned Rs 56 lakh in the past two years.
“Many of my followers are mothers facing similar problems that I faced; they find strength in witnessing my journey. And the best part of my work is that they love seeing my children on the page. It is my children that keep me going! My husband sometimes pulls my leg saying this is just a hobby, and I tell him that my hobby is making me money — it’s a win-win!” concludes Sanpreet.
Edited by Pranita Bhat.