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Dream platform

Artist Meher Bose is successfully using Instagram for promoting handcrafted products

There is one other thing that Instagram is slowly making a name for – boosting business. Over the past couple of years, Instagram has seen a plethora of young, budding artistes building up demand for their quirky skills, using the various tools that the platform provides.

One such artist, Meher Bose, took her hobby of making dreamcatchers, and turned her Insta page into a virtual store for all her friends and followers. “My hobby of making dreamcatchers actually started out when my mom refused to buy me one on trip to Goa,” she smiles, “when we came back home, I just decided to make one for myself!” Her zest for the pretty Native American protection charms became amplified when she saw one of her seniors making and selling her own handmade dreamcatchers on Instagram. The fact that someone not much older to her was making tons of these dreamcatchers and making profits at the same time prompted her to try it too. And soon enough, what was simply a knack for arts and crafts turned into a passion.
She admits that it took her a while to get a grasp of how to go about reaching out to her target audience, eventually she got a hang of it, expanding to making jewellery as well. “There was a time when people either got tired of dreamcatchers or already owned one, and I was compelled to start making jewellery as well,” explains Meher. Garnering support for a business like this tends to not come easily. Initially, her family and friends were quite skeptical about her business — but gradually, they too recognised her eye for the art, and her mother has been helping her source materials ever since. And a little help from friends when the demand was high.

As far as Instagram as a platform is concerned, Meher says that as long as it is an effective platform for communication, it is an effective platform for business. And considering the growing habit of communicating with pictures and captions in this generation, Instagram becomes a convenient place to market one’s product.

“At the end of the day, this is how the youth of today is going to function. Be it for politics, shopping, or even simple communication,” says Meher. According to Meher, the real hurdle, is creating the ‘brand name’. “It is easy as far as making the product and creating an account goes, but what takes effort is bringing that up to a certain level. To become a part of the competition.”

When she had just started out, she faced one specific managerial challenge — whether to make her products in bulk, or on order basis. She overcame that with experience. When she put up a stall at a fair and saw the sheer number of vendors with different kinds of wares, she learned that people have varied demands when it comes to dreamcatchers, and she cannot approximate what those might be. With time and trial and error, she managed to find the middle ground and conduct her online business fruitfully.

With likes, reposts and shares increasingly becoming the cornerstones of all our lives, it is not only prudent to jump on the bandwagon, but also quite satisfying. The edges of our personal worlds grow manifold even as they become restricted to the palms of our hands. Meher is one such artist who embraced this change and is making the most of it. Headed to Mumbai to study jewellery design, she has decided to seriously pursue her passion for making handicrafts, but she vows her business will not be ignored in the process.