After completing her studies in Mumbai followed by a stint in fashion design, she soon moved back home to Vadodara and set up Unees Bees, initially as an experiment to see how her designs would be received. Ankita made a small collection of saris, created a Facebook page, and held an online sale. After her pieces were sold out, she decided to go ahead and create more collections.
“Through Unees Bees, it is my endeavor to embrace the beauty that lies in the imperfection, – she says, – that is inevitable in anything handmade; be it that extra drop of dye that falls on the fabric while hand block printing, the irregularity of tie and dye, or the patchy appearance of indigo dyeing. I love the esthetic appearance that can only be a result of hand crafting.”
As part of the creative process Ankita often blends her love for travel with her love for block prints:
“Different regions in our country have different ways of fabric printing and it is interesting to work with these artisans; for instance, ajrakh block printers in Kutch where I got to learn about indigo and natural dyes, or Sanganeri printing in Rajasthan, which is a form of pigment printing in refreshing pastel shades, and of course my local block printers in Vadodara with whom I have experimented with discharge print to clamp dyeing and everything in between! My focus was mostly on saris and scarves till now, but I will have more varieties of separates like kurtas and dresses in our signature prints now.”
She believes, that marketing is very important for a small business, especially when you’re trying to make something different:
“I try placing my products in stores that have a good following of customers with an appreciation for hand crafted products. It is also important for me to inform my consumers how these products are made. Being an introvert, it is a little difficult for me, but over the years I’ve become a little better at interacting with my customers.
What I have learnt though is that there are always setbacks in any organization or business, which is why it is important to keep reinventing yourself!”
Read this story in POOL 81.