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A new crop of crocheters adding value to floral jewellery in Kashmir

Women in Kashmir are making best use of their talent through social media platforms. From makeup artists to techs everyone is trying to offer something unique and best service to the people. As wedding industry is getting revolutionised in Kashmir, a new

Post by on Saturday, June 19, 2021

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Women in Kashmir are making best use of their talent through social media platforms. From makeup artists to techs everyone is trying to offer something unique and best service to the people. As wedding industry is getting revolutionised in Kashmir, a new crop of crocheters are giving best options to brides to customise their jewellery according to their taste. Since floral and crochet jewellery has taken market by a wave Lubna Reshi from Rising Kashmir spoke to three such artists who are customising floral jewellery for the brides. 

Syed Areeba

It was festive occasion of Areeba's cousin’s wedding when she tried her hands at customising handmade jewellery. 

She made arrangements for getting all the raw material for jewellery and got started on the task. 

The jewellery turned out so beautiful that everybody was taken by its awe that a first timer could do such a beautiful work. Areeba got so inspired that she wanted to take her talent to next level. 

In childhood, she would always gift her friends’ handmade cards or accessories. 

"I was inclined towards the art from the very beginning. It probably is in my genes as my father and grandfather are also somehow associated with the art and that's how my inspiration grew."

When Article 370 was abrogated in 2019, Syed Areeba, from Natipora, got ample time to devote to art and craft. 

"I would make a lot of things from early childhood but due to studies I couldn't give much time to it so when the restrictions were imposed and everything was closed down in 2019, I began carving out different crafts."

Areeba's focus was to professionalise her talent so she created her page 'handmade_vid_love in early 2019. 

But since there was a communication blockade so she couldn't do much then. But she started it all over again in 2020 and since then she has been receiving orders. 

"I don't do it for money. But, I feel satisfied with it so that is why I do it."

Initially, after her cousin's marriage, her focus was on bridal jewellery given its huge demand in the Valley.

"Floral jewellery is in trend and most of my orders are for that only. However, eventually I added other things as well which includes different accessories, bridal chaddars, party props etc."

For this engineering student, the profit margin is quite less when compared to her counterparts, according to her to cater to needs of her customers she has introduced the rental concept. 

"Since you wear your bridal floral jewellery only once so I give them on rental basis so that brides don't have to spend much on it. Though it comes with certain conditions but my clients are happier that way."

Right now Areeba is preparing for her JRF and has completed her B.Tech. However, she says her idea is to be her own boss and to take her business to a next level. 

"I know there is dearth of jobs here so I want to focus on whatever I'm doing and when I see it from a future perspective I believe I can have a handsome living through my business."

Najam Qari

Najam Qari, a crocheter began to customise the jewellery for brides when some of her customers started demanding it.  A IT professional became a full time crochet designer when she quitted her job to devote her time to crocheting. 

"I was already in designing and crochet had caught my interest way before I was into it fully. So I started crocheting again as a hobby but this time I was more into it. I resigned from my job in late 2015 and took up crocheting as a full time career."

Since I was into it for long, so my customers believed me to design crochet jewellery for them and when I did they really liked it, she remarks. 

She also designs floral jwellery for her customers, which has been quite in demand. 

Initially when she began crocheting her unique stitching caught the attention of her family and friends. 

The designs got so popular that she started to get orders immediately through only word of mouth. 

"I started making unique things like purses, bags etc which had unique stitching patterns. When it all began I got much appreciation from people who encouraged me to start it as a full-fledged business." 

Later she took help from social media and began to receive bulk orders. 

 "I have faced many ups and downs in between but I never stopped working on it. Lack of internet facilities and closure of market was a setback for my growth but not a stumbling block."

After every low Najam hit back more strongly, she began introducing new varieties of her craft. 

Making the best use of social media, Najam mostly sells her products through Instagram page craftcart_k. She receives so many orders that at times she has to cancel some. 

"I receive a lot of orders but I don’t take more than six orders per day. Sometimes I have to cancel the orders as well because I cannot cater to all."

Right now nine people are working with Najam and are catering the growing market of crocheting in Kashmir. 

"We are a very strong team who teach and guide each other and enjoy their work."

Najam manages her home and work very easily and believes that every woman is capable to do it. 

"So many women out there are managing their home and career; I am not the first one. I have an office set up at home and enjoy what I do and my family appreciates and encourages me for my work."

For success and prosperity, Najam strongly believes in a mantra of loving her job. 

"Just love what you do. Don’t keep whining about what you don’t have. When you love your work only then you can enjoy it and then only you will grow."

Laraib, Toyba and Afshan

Toyba Zargar had learnt crocheting from her mother. One day, during their college days, when she began to discuss it, Laraib Mattoo suddenly developed interest in it. 

That day when she went home, she watched YouTube crochet tutorials. She got so fascinated that she immediately got the raw material and began practicing it in her free-time. 

After gaining expertise, she and her friend Toyba thought to take it online since the crochet was in trend in Kashmir. 

"It was 2019 and we created an Instagram page 'The Hookers' and uploaded our work. We made use of different social media channels and orders began to pour in," Laraib adds. 

Initially the two focused on basic things like key chains and ami gurumi -- which includes stuffed toys, flowers etc done with crochet. 

"Ami gurumi was new to Kashmir. When we introduced it many people ordered them. They were different, miniature and people liked them."

The duo began to get orders in bulk and according to them it was difficult to manage since they were new to it, but then they got used to it and began to manage well. 

When people began to know them, the orders for floral jewellery began to pour in regularly.

"Our floral jewellery is different from others, while others use cardboard etc, we only use crochet on which flowers are attached."

The customers were quite satisfied with their work so their focus got shifted towards floral jewellery. 

"Though you can get floral jewellery in the market as well but with us a person gets customized stuff, it may be expensive but we never compromise on quality. It's because of our work that customers come back to us."

Eventually they also roped in Afshan- Toyba's sister- who holds expertise in embroidery. 

"We received orders for that as well so that's how Afshan also made it to our team."

The duo is right now pursuing MBA from Cluster University and aim to introduce more crochet products in the market. 

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