I Nikita Navlekar am a daughter, a loving wife and a mother, above all I am proud of being a Woman. The endeavour to reach where I am today began 15 years back the day I ventured out to fulfill my childhood dream of creating an identity of my own. I even today recollect the days when my of elders bezalled me with their questions regarding getting into a business, which required a lot of work experience and knowing the viens of market, and kept hammering raising doubts and what not, in a way their questions were just and kind of right from their point of views, because I hadn’t been able to complete my graduation, nor had had any kind of experience, as in those days women weren’t encouraged to work nor were they encouraged to set up business, especially in the field which I choose as my career- the field of Kutchi handwork – in which at that time many big names and players existed in the market with a well established reputation. What a huge task it was to carve a niche of my own!! Although my elders were very skeptical it was my husband, who stood by me and with his support and encouragement I set up a small boutique. In spite of being from a well to do family I didn’t want any kind of financial support, hence I started applying for loans from banks and Co-operative societies, which in itself was quite an ordeal as the banks knew about my families background and status, they enquired why I needed a loan!! After tedious explanations of my wishes and intention, I finally managed in securing a loan to take off my initiative’s first baby step…..OH! It felt and feels wonderful even today. The early years were spent earning an enriching experience rather than money, Oh! how hard that was then. The boutique I started depended solely on trading and outsourcing a few select pieces available from the market and lack of choice of sizes as well as variety motivated me to market un-stiched material and upon their insistence I came into the business of made to order designer dresses, for which I had to have a machine and a tailor of my own. The work was good enough during the season but when season ended the machine was idle, which motivated me to use my keen designer skills and that made a big difference, to my delight my designs started moving beyond my expectations. Even though it wasn’t my aim to stay very long in the market where I had to fight every inch of my way to make my presence be felt, it was my misconception that the market was saturated but to my amazement I found that people wanted unique and ethnic wear that’s where I made mark be acknowledged, the clients who were tired of the one and same repeat designs and was able to take a giant leap. Thanks to the patronage of good clients am not only surviving but thriving and overjoyed to have been in an enterprise which is struggling to maintain its existence. Gradually my infancy stage got over when, the wholesale enquiries slowly turned into supplying them with designer touch ethnic wear, which indicated that it was time to set up my own unit and to procure the fabric from all the corners of the country and a variety of Handwork from far off remote villages of Kutch. It was an opportunity to finally operate the way I wanted to, and feel blessed to be a provider of source of income to women with dignity and self respect and that too where they live.
By God’s grace “आँगन of Kutch” has been successful in contributing to the field of Art’s and Craft; which has suffered quiet set backs due to mass machine made computer embroidery which is almost killing the Handwork industry, the care and time consuming fine, intricate and artistic Handwork. Many experts of the industry feel that real Handwork due to tough competion and changing life style patterns of the artisans will only one day be seen hanging on the museum walls, however I am still hopeful and positive because the the utmost passion that involved in bringing about the Handwork with designer’s touch which requires hard work that the real connoisseurs of art wouldn’t settle for imitation. I am lucky to have a team which takes care from right from beginning till the end. “आँगन of Kutch” sustains and supports more than 200 women artisans in the villages along with 40 member full time workers.