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Saturday, March 02 2024

The more I create, the better I get: Shreyasi Pathak

The more I create the better I get Shreyasi Pathak 13
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The more I create the better I get Shreyasi Pathak

Say hello to Ms. Pathak’s April Moon, a dreamy and appealing home decor company. April Moon, sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Wall arts, wall hangings and many delicately created embroidery products are available here. Surprisingly, April Moon is just 4 months old! With over 32,000 followers on Instagram, this little brainchild has surely gained much love and attention. In an exclusive interview with News Karnataka, the 28-year-old founder of April Moon, Shreyasi Pathak from Uttar Pradesh, spoke about her journey.

Yesterday’s tears waters today’s garden

Before venturing into designing illustrations and creating art, Shreyasi was a Science student who was on her way to become an engineer or a lawyer, as they were the most ‘safe’ choices. However, she paid attention to that true little voice in herself that asserted her to change the direction. Shreyasi went on to pursue her Bachelor’s in Design and graduated in Fashion and Lifestyle Accessories from NIFT – National Institute of Fashion Technology, which provided the essential sense of design, eventually helping her in formulating her own design language. She later worked for a lifestyle brand as Head of Content for 5 years! Nonetheless, making illustrations was completely a self-taught process for Shreyasi. “Later that year, I was mesmerised by the illustrators all over the world who were creating art that I could only dream of. I was obsessed with their work on Pinterest and Instagram,” she expressed. In 2018, she bought an iPad and began to teach herself the art of digital illustration, which is presently very popular in the market. She said, “I am sure my younger self would be awestruck with where I am today. I believe nothing happens overnight. One needs to have, not only a burning desire to pursue their dream, but also dedication, discipline and consistency.” She reminded of Robert Frost, affirming that the road less taken might appear to be highly risky and it may be so. But the confidence and conviction in one’s abilities and constantly educating oneself shall always keep one on foot. What makes the path easier, is having enough support from family, friends and mentors. “The more I create, the better I get,” she added.

The beginning is always today

In conversation on the founding of April Moon, a home decor company, Shreyasi disclosed that April Moon has been a long time coming, although it was officially started as a small business from April 2021 on Instagram. “Last year when the pandemic hit, like many others, I lost my job. This was when my art came to my rescue. I earned a living by freelancing and licensing my art to brands globally. Once I saw people actually showing love and buying my art all over the world, I decided it was time to start my own small business” Shreyasi revealed.

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Albeit her second thoughts about her ability to run a business per se, she managed to do pretty well with the help of her family, friends and most of all, her mother who stepped in and encouraged her that boosted Shreyasi’s confidence.

Pandemic and other stones on the way

Shreyasi informed that April Moon was a result of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the home decor establishment did not seem to escape the clutches of the pandemic and its hurdles. Shreyasi mentioned that she and the team had to innovate ways of working from home, and methods of dealing with vendors and karigars remotely. Sourcing the raw material was thus limited to what is available in the vicinity, while the process of expansion has been slowed down, considering the unpredictability in the market. “Every time a lockdown is imposed, we do see a drop in sales,” she added. However, April Moon has managed to build a community of kind, encouraging, genuine art lovers who make it easier to get over their fears of failure. Speaking of difficulties, the founder of April Moon maintained that every day teaches something new when running a small business. While she faced issues such as quality control getting tedious and time consuming, there are other aspects such as packaging and shipping that she needed to give attention to. She asserted that April Moon has been trying to find economical and eco-friendly alternatives for their product packaging. “We are 70% there I’d say. It’s a journey of constantly making mistakes and learning from them,” she added.

What makes April Moon different?

April Moon is unique for its creators are a mother-daughter duo. The Pathaks play a crucial role in establishing a face for the home decor company. Her mother and Shreyasi are partners through and through in this business. While the elder Pathak is street-smart, a champion at all things handmade and is more far-sighted, the younger one is great at illustrations, conceptualising, handling social media and branding. “We have a strong personal bond that definitely makes running this business together a lot of fun,” Shreyasi said.

She also held that April Moon’s uniqueness comes from the different products and its presentation.

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“We create art that is vibrant, cheerful and meaningful. We share the symbolism and inspiration behind each piece and customers always tell us they are moved by our storytelling because they can either relate to it or it brings them joy,” claimed a proud Shreyasi.

Many likes, shares and views

For a small business to bloom, earning over 32000 followers on Instagram in hardly 4 months is definitely remarkable. For Shreyasi, however, it just wasn’t a platform, it was a door to exposure. Through social media, she found the most inspiring people and the world of illustrations. April Moon, on the other hand, is currently an entirely Instagram-based business. It has crossed over 100 orders and managed to earn a profit in just 3 months! Shreyasi had decided to grow her account rather organically and used to create and post reels 5 to 6 days of a week. Initially, it was a challenge since she is an introvert and being on camera could be tough for one. But all that hard work paid off when 2 of their reels went viral, one of them crossing 4.5 million views and the other reaching close to 2 million, skyrocketing their followers from 500 to 30,000 in a span of 2 weeks! She said, “social media has also been a big help in building a community of not just customers but fellow small business owners who have been a solid support system. We boost each other, share our knowledge, exchange our learnings and basically believe in support over competition, which is such a beautiful thing.”

Shining under the moonlight

April Moon is currently sold out on most of its artworks in 2 and a half months.

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The Birds Paradise Wall Art, however, has received immense love and much adoration, reaching so many homes; so high on demand that April Moon started opening it for pre-bookings every three weeks now. Its customer reviews are evidently heart-warming: I bought a new house and I want to keep at least one design of yours in each room. With such less time, April Moon has gained its loyal customer base. Shreyasi informed that she intends to expand April Moon into not only various home decor and furnishing categories but also a clothing line soon. “At the end of the day, we want our art to bring people joy in multiple forms,” she signed off.

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Siri Shekar

The author is a student reporter who is also pursuing Psychology and English Literature. A wanderer searching for faces that inspire an optimistic place about the world, she hunts for different human experiences, not just leads for a story.

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