Interview Of Sonajuri Arts CEO, Dr (Mrs). Sangeeta Roy

 

I am Debjani Roy, a journalist intern. I am learning the nuances of journalism and practicing the art of interviewing. So I went to   Sonajuri Arts Boutique and interviewed the CEO, Mrs. Sangeeta Roy. Basically, it’s a startup business Initiated one year back. As I am researching some local news then I got to know about this startup idea and its offline store. Recently I heard and saw about this on various social media platforms. “ SONAJURIARTS” is a venture by an army officer’s wife. Though it is an e-commerce handicraft website, it also has an offline store or boutique. So I visited their home and interviewed the CEO. 

Me: Hello, Madam, I am Debjani. I have seen and heard about Sonajuri Arts, and have a personal interest in art and handicrafts, so I came here today to talk with you and explore your boutique. I would like to talk to you about yourself, and your life and would like you to share some of your thoughts on Women’s Empowerment. So ma’am first I want to know How did you get the idea of starting an e-commerce site for selling handicrafts?

 

Ma’am: Hello, it’s a pleasure to have you with us and I would like to share my thoughts with you. Starting with your first question two years back I visited Sonajhuri haat at Shantiniketan. I got the idea from there to start a handicraft business as I wanted to promote their craftsmanship and the art of Bengal globally and uplift the poor artisans. We also have an NGO named Uma Dream Foundation, where we take care of the primary health and education of their children. Also, we sponsor some schools in the rural areas where our artisans are located. The profits are also donated towards this cause through our trust.

 

Me: How do you feel about leading the team of SONAJURIARTS as a woman entrepreneur?

 

Ma’am: As an independent and confident lady, I decided to become a woman entrepreneur, though I spent my life as an Educationist teaching in various schools. So with some innovative ideas, I opened a startup company named Sonajuri arts. I believe in independence individually and simultaneously creating employment for women. As we are running a handicraft e-commerce website we have our own artisans and employees. Most of them are ladies who want to earn their self-respect and promote their handiwork. My aim is to uplift these women and redeem their self-confidence to assist them live with their heads held high and having a position in their families.

 

Me: What are the artists that are working under the umbrella of Sonajuri arts?

 

Ma’am: We have a vast family comprising of our artisans, budding artists, colleagues, and partners. We have various kinds of artisans starting from pattachitra, madhubani, clay art, pen pencil sketch, oil, acrylic, watercolor painters, Chau mask, Dokra, weavers and fabric designers and tailors from Rural Bengal. Not only paintings, but our artisans are also experts in their field of handicraft. They make various kinds of home decor, delicate pieces of jewelry, handlooms, and artifacts including exclusive soaps and candles, and many more. 

 

Me: What kind of designs & trends do you want to create? I get to know you also have a boutique. I would like to visit it.

 

Ma’am: Yes sure come with me. Here is the boutique where we have a huge collection of handicrafts home decor, clothing, accessories and utility items. We are mainly focusing on ethnic & traditional fashion collections with intricate and delicate handwork. We have our own artisans, so each piece is handmade with love and care by our rural artisans and designers. Nowadays, ethnic style is losing its limelight somewhere so we are focusing on that the most. We are designing hand-made ethnic jewelry that is good also with daily attire.  Hand-stitched work and hand-painted saree will steal the spotlight for YOU. We have a huge range of clothing collections for every age group and gender.

Me: As I get to know about your artist and artisans Please give an insight into the concept of the Budding artists & Partnership Programme

 

Ma’am: As I said before my aim is to uplift local artisans. So we started our business in Kolkata and we were looking for some talented artists. Then we found some local young artists who were full of creativity with a free soul and lots of energy trying to do something different. They got together and did many prestigious projects together under our umbrella of Budding Artists. With the growth in business, we got in touch with more artisans. As a woman, I wanted to see every woman grow, so we started our partnership program where every lady can join no matter what is their profession as long as she is dealing in artwork and handicrafts. With this we are connecting more with artisans not only from Bengal but with artisans all over India. This is what makes us versatile & unique. This is the concept of the Partnership Programme in a nutshell.

 

Me: Madam, Can I ask something about your personal life because one of your tag lines is “ AN ARMY OFFICER’S WIFE VENTURE”. Please give some experience of your life as an army officer’s wife.

 

Ma’am: As an army officer’s wife, I was involved in many novel causes. We did welfare with AWWA (Army Wife’s Welfare Association), an organization that works for the spouses, children, or any dependents of Army personnel. 

Here we taught the wives, war widows, and children, how to be self-reliant by educating them in various facets of life. We also were organizing vocational training for them to uplift their quality of life. This became a habit for me and the concept of welfare & social responsibility to uplift the women and children became a part of my life. Presently Sonajuriarts is trying to reach out  to AWWA teach the arts and craftsmanship to the wives as this will spread Women Empowerment with vocational training.

Me: Please tell me something about yourself and that you have done your doctorate in Child Psychology. How do you utilize it?

 

Ma’am: I have been married to an army officer for the past 30 years. I have got two children: my elder son and daughter-in-law who are happily married for three years and stays abroad. My younger son is an army officer too, presently a Captain serving the nation.  When I got married, I was just an honors graduate in Political Science. Gradually I realized that I should do something apart from looking after my home and children. Gradually, my children started growing and I started my education again and did my MA in English, NTT (Nursery Teachers Training ), and then B.Ed. I thought if I can counsel my own children so well who today by God’s grace are doing well, then why not counsel other parents and growing children towards nurturing them to be good and responsible citizens of our nation. So finally I thought of doing a Ph.D. in Child Psychology. During the course of my studies, I started teaching in schools and finally taught for 20 yrs.

After completing my Doctorate in Child Psychology, I wanted to utilize counseling on children to put them on the correct track. In today’s world children lead a very much busy life and are often stressed out. To make them relaxed, I wanted to counsel children and mentor them. I am part of a group of coaches and mentors called the “ FEARLESS LEADERS” where I speak on Parenting and Child Counselling to relieving of Exam Stress. You all are free to attend our Webinars and attend lectures of the group.

Me: Lastly I want to know how do you plan to make Sonajuriarts a success?

 

Ma’am: To make Sonajuriarts a success, first we have to create a brand name. Secondly, if I can uplift the poor artisans of our Rural Bengal. I would feel successful because each smile on their face will help them to walk many more miles and give me immense pleasure to be by their side. 

 

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