Success Stories:
Her Story Her Way

“Started with 3 challenged youngsters, it is now proud to provide livelihood to 35 young disabled youngsters and their families”  

Brief introduction about yourself and tell us something about Aranya Naturals?
I am associated with Aranya Natural -natural dyeing unit from the day of inception in the year of 1994. Started with 3 challenged youngsters, it is now proud to provide livelihood to 35 young disabled youngsters and their families. Starting with just 3 trainees, we boiled and dyed with every shrub that we could lay our hands on. Some weeds turned out to be our best bets, providing us with multitude of colour and hues with amazing colour fastness. Soon we were confident that we could go commercial and we did. But we realized that to sustain Aranya, we had to go beyond plain dyeing. We started learning Shibori, batik, tie-dye, block printing etc. with the help of eminent teachers.  

What ignited the spark in you to start Aranya Naturals?
Our managing Trustee Mrs. Ratna Krishnakumar inspired me to start this business. Having settled in a place like Munnar with abundance of natural raw material, developed keenness to explore avenues to create nature friendly products with a vision to sustain the future with less used organic products. Empowered with disabled youngsters is the most interesting part in my job.  

Something about your professional journey.
Our trainees, to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude to their commitment and energy, have been our inspiration. It has been a delight to watch them flower into creative geniuses. With no background of textiles, these young adults who are all physically or mentally challenged have blossomed into wonderful human beings, positive in their outlook, willing to experiment and cross frontiers never tried before. The ones who were depressed on joining soon shook off their burden and joined the main stream to be useful and productive people contributing to their household instead of being a burden. That I think has been the most satisfying achievement of Aranya.

Did you face any challenges?
I am a self-learned artist and I motivated the disabled youngsters to innovate designs to use their undisclosed and hidden imagination tapping their precious talents, though we don’t have an in house designer. Yet we meet the needs in the global market.

What are your views on the thought, that as compared to male counterparts, it’s harder and more struggling for females to make a mark professionally?
My views are different. There is no comparison to male counterparts and there are no difficulties for females to make a mark in their profession.

What piece of advice would you like to give to the aspiring youth who their dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
To start the business one should have innovative drive, passion for this art. Continuous learning and practicing is very important. Investment depends upon the number of workers. This is a laborious job. Production can start steadily material procurement and marketing online.

According to you, what are the top three essential skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Passion for a career for promoting natural products Drive to innovate new ventures Interest to learn new techniques and skills

How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
My work didn't affect my family life. In fact I am supported by my family to reach this level.

What are your views and opinions towards the ambiguous need to promote women entrepreneurship and women empowerment in India?  
I feel that women entrepreneurship and women empowerment in India has shown a remarkable progress over the last few centuries, fading the inequalities between men and women and the discrimination against women. Though exist worldwide, India with its varied customs, religion, and language and believes has shown remarkable improvement in a rapid pace with strong legislations.   Increasing women associations and movements, improved performances of girls in schools and colleges, Deployment in almost all vital roles in health, commerce, finance, information and technology fields make this socially visible.   I feel that with stronger legislations this growth and development should be allowed to progress unabated to promote women entrepreneurship and women empowerment in less accessed areas in India to curtail the ambiguity.