Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Air Force wife Meghna Johar's 'wood be lovely' story of a handmade brand

Hello everyone! How have you been? I’ve been a bit slow on the blog, taking time out to travel back after a long trip, clean up the dust that Delhi is known for, and get back into the groove of the daily routine. Today, I’m back with another edition of The Brigade that Builds Brands. This series is all about Fauji wives who create businesses or stay uber creative while juggling all the social + family commitments. Please meet Meghna Johar, founder & creator of a handmade décor brand WBL by Meghna and Air Force wife. It truly “wood be lovely” to find out more about her unique brand and story.

 C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

M. Through my joy called WBL by Meghna, I I enjoy my occupation of  creative expression in wood, upcycling and interior design. WBL which started out as “wood be lovely” has many impressions now. Some of them being “wood brass and all things lovely” , “wood be lively” , “wood by and large”....
I am presently based in Delhi.

I so cherish my two decades plus years as a fauji wife.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

M. My initially creative hobby has slowly evolved into a business. It has been an exciting and challenging run up until now and the urge to continuously grow creatively has kept me going.

I started my venture in 2010 with a carton full of woody goodies, a shoe string budget and a head buzzing with ideas! Gladly haven't looked back since.

C. Were you in a different profession and re-trained for the current one? If yes, can you share how/where you learned the skills required for your current profession?

M. Way back in the 90's teaching was the preferred profession for a fauji wife. I too had stepped into military matrimony equipped with a B.ed degree. But that was not meant to be!!!

So after many demanding years as a fauji spouse, I let my  innate love for wood manifest itself in quirky and pretty pieces .With no formal training in the chosen line, it has been an on the job learning by and large. A keen eye and some experimentation. I continue to learn with each new product and project.

C. Fauji wives make their home in an assortment of obscure places across the country. Our lives are about living in the moment and doing what we can, when we can. Can you share how you stayed creative or found work that satisfied you while moving across the country?

M. I strongly believe that there is always something to do! Having been posted to places of varied cultures, I found great satisfaction in learning about the local crafts. Walking through back alleys of local bazaars (for that's where one gets a peep into the processes of local crafts) and rummaging through piles of old bartan shops for vintage brass pieces to sourcing traditional wooden artefacts and convincing local karigars to custom make a thing….. this was how I often spent my so called “me time” ! Tiny steps towards my dream of WBL.

C. How do you market your business and products while moving from base to base, place to place, and often to remote areas?

M. It started out simply through word of mouth. Exhibitions and more recently social media like Facebook and Instagram.

C. How do you juggle that load of social commitments & welfare activities that are an integral part of the fauji community, while nurturing your passions and meeting work deadlines?

M. Planning and prioritizing has worked well for me. I try to strike a balance while staying focused on my work .

C. As a creative/entrepreneur + fauji wife, is there something that you cherish very much about being part of this community? And is there something you feel must/can change for the better?

M. Cliched as it may sound...it's a feeling of immense joy and pride to be the  spouse of a military man. The change is already happening , a lot of women today are doing extremely well in their careers while gracefully abiding by fauji norms. They no longer adhere to the limitations!!!!

C. What challenges have you faced in balancing work and fauji life?

M. The biggest challenge has been to keep going!!! Limited resources has been the number one struggle.

C. What tips would you give to fauji wives out there who’d like to pursue their dreams while living at small and busy bases (many still believe or led to believe that you can either be a fauji wife or a professional, and that’s not true)?

M. So not true!! One can be a professional and a fauji wife. The trick is to keep going...let not minor hurdles discourage you. There is always a way to figure things out. Let the energy never die down. Fauji life is a roller coaster...hold on tight!

C. A parting quote or philosophy that helps you stay calm and do what you do?

M. Keep going , take the leap and listen to your inner voice…. don't lose focus of your joyous aim.

Thank you, Meghna, for answering these questions!

Note: If you'd like to to be featured in this series, write to me with details about your work & how long have your been doing what you do at chandanabanerjeewrites@gmail.com (we feature creative spouses who move along with their husbands on postings & make their project/brand work from the boondocks).

And before you go - here's a bucket-load of wellness & green lifestyle goodies at Gorgeous Girls Go Green.

#militaryspouse #workfromhome #creativeentrepreneur #faujiwife #airforcewife #thebrigadethatbuildsbrands #vintagecraft #crafttraditions #upcycled #recycled #metalcraft 


  1. So good to read about Meghna Johar , whom I had the chance to meet back in 2008. Wish had an idea about her interest ... looking forward to get some woody goodness from her for my home too �� ... thanks Chandana for opening this up for so many of us .best wishes

  2. We fauji wives need to look beyond teaching as the only profession possible for us. As my dear friend Meghna did with her innate creativity, as i have done as a freelance writer, or as other military spouses I have seen, who gamely carry on, follow their passion. For years now, I have received the compliments on behalf of Meghna, for her lovely, quirky and yes, funny pieces that i have in various corners of my home and garden!


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