Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Meet Navy wife & handmade entrepreneur Rupinder Kaur

Hello, dear readers! I’m back after a longish break – a surprising, out-of-the-blue break, where I launched a whole new career as an artist, making and selling quirky, cure, out-of-the-box artwork (here's my Jugnoo Story Art FB page). I was also recovering from some health issues, and giving all the required TLC to my spine ;-). I’m back here again, with new ideas, new challenges (i.e. balancing writing, art, homeschooling my son & my military spouse portfolio), and the gumption to nudge more of you into the ‘Boss Lady’ life as a self-employed, work-from-home, fauji wife.

self-employed entrepreneur

I’m launching a brand new series every week with posts designed to help you banish those issues and create your own Girl Boss life, from anywhere in the country! Do subscribe to the blog to stay tuned. And, don't forget to join our new group: Be Your Own Boss From Anywhere.

Today, I’ve invited Navy wife and Jewellery Designer, Rupinder Kaur at The Brigade that Builds Brands, to share her creative journey as she juggled military life, motherhood and a business. Without further ado, here’s what we chatted about.

For those who are new to my blog: The Brigade that Builds Brands  is an interview series about Fauji wives who create businesses or stay uber creative while juggling all the social + family commitments.

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

R.  By education I am a trained Hindustani classical vocalist and also have completed my B Ed. I spent my initial 10 years of married life looking after and raising my two lovely daughters. In 20114-15 I realized that I had some time to spare. Also my husband’s job took him for long sailings and to utilized my time gainfully I got involved with NWWA and also started making utility items from paper weaving. I started my brand ‘Recreation – The Inner Voice’ in February 2015. The page has been a huge success for me and today I have more than 800+ followers of my page.  My paper weaving art was a huge success but regular transfers thereafter ruined some of my artifacts due to their delicate nature and this made me think that I needed to do something different.

So I started making jewelry with a difference. I started investing my time in learning about fabric art and making jewelry out of jewelry. I also started hand embroidery and crafted my embroidery into jhumkas and neck pieces which were liked by my inner circle of friends. I started exhibiting my art within Naval community and also got chance to display my art during Kala Ghoda festival in 2017. NWWA, at Mumbai, was very supportive of my effort as well as that of other artists. Since that time there has been no looking back and my effort has been recognized by art lovers across India.

I am presently at Delhi. I am married into Naval family since 2002.

small business
Rupinder's handmade jewellery


CB. 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?

R. Being a Navy Wife, we are blessed to stay in coastal cities. So I have spent my married life in Kochi, Visakhapatnam, briefly in Goa and for a long time in Mumbai. These are more of metropolitans than obscure cities and we get to see a variety of cultures within our naval community itself. We fauji wives take pride in maintaining our abodes with best of artifacts and displayable craft pieces from across the country. So that has been the case with me too.

NWWA also provides us avenues to remain active and contribute in social activities with whatever talent we could bring with us. I remained active in NWWA and this helped me remain in touch with creativity.

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

R. Social media, FACEBOOK and Whatsapp has helped me remain in touch with art lovers across the country. I have also been actively participating in exhibitions like Kala Ghoda, Dastkar etc.

military spouse
Work & play & social commitments

CB. 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?

R. So, I work at pace of my choice. Handling social commitments becomes part of our lives from the day one and I have not found it interfering with my work at all. Rather, social engagements become an avenue to showcase my art and talent as I sport art jewelry crafted by me during such functions and garner required appreciation that keeps me motivated.

CB. 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?

R. It’s a family away from family. For initial ten years of my married life when my husband was away for long time, this community only helped me sustain. Further, since I have started this journey in the field of art jewelry, naval community has been my first support and appreciators. I don’t think I would have reached here without the initial push that Naval community provided me.

I also strongly feel that there are a number of talented fauji wives who have not found much support as artists in the community. My effort to bring these ladies on to a common platform has been to create our group “Kritya – The Talented Ones” and do exhibitions together. I only wish if there was an institutionalized support provided to our groups and other such ladies to showcase our art and craft on regular basis.

self-employed navy wife
Rupinder displaying her handmade creations at an exhibition

CB. 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)?

R. Being a fauji wife is a great honor and responsibility in itself. Initial years of our lives are lonely for long separations keep our husbands away. I worked with the philosophy that providing a peaceful and loving abode for my family was my first and foremost responsibility. I made sure that my little ones are stable enough and taken well care of by me before I ventured into my present enterprise. So, balancing your ambitions with your responsibilities is the most important task.

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

R. Support your kids and your husband in their endeavors and enjoy your calling. Work without pressure. Communicate with your partner freely and express yourself frankly. If your family is settled and stable, you can go out and pursue your dreams without fear.

Thank you for answering these questions, Rupinder! J

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