Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Air Force wife Sanyukta's Children's Room Decor & Linen Biz

Hello friends! I’m back with another story from #thebrigadethatbuildsbrands series. We’re featuring Air Force wife Sanyukta Bhardwaj today and her ‘Apple of My Eye’ – a handmade children’s room linen and art venture. I’d  like to mention that we will also feature veterans, veteran ladies and Veer Naari’s as well as Armed Forces wives, who have set up interesting businesses and brands. If you know anyone we can feature, drop us a line (contact details below). 
Now, on to our chat with Sanyukta.

Sanyukta Bhardwaj - #Milpreneur

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.
S. I’m an Air Force wife, stay-at-home parent and an Architect by education. Currently based out of the outskirts of Delhi NCR and have been married to my man in blue since 10 years.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?
S. The venture honestly started by chance; it all started when I was packing the hospital bag for my yet to be born son. Being an architect and a daughter of an artist (my mother), I have had a flair for painting, so both of us decided to hand paint and stitch linen for him. Post the birth I happened to show all the hand painted stuff to my fellow Air Force friends. And they motivated me to start this venture when they mentioned how such kind of linen and accessories are not available and even if it is, it costs a bomb.

So that is how ‘Apple of my eye’ was conceived and formed. My very first order for customized bedding set was from the same dear friend (an Air Force wife herself).

My mother and I run this venture together. I mostly do the PR, managing the Facebook page, handling client orders, and my mother does the execution or field work ( since she is stationed and I move from place to place) so we discuss all the details of fabrics, textures, designs, colors etc over the phone.
I however, do most of the wall art orders myself as sourcing canvases and stocking on art and craft supplies is easy with the constant moving!

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?

S. I’m an architect by education and all architects are artists/designers by default, so I’m the jack of all trades; the trades being sketching, drawing, doodling, painting and scribbling. So I just had to polish my skills when I started with ‘Apple of my eye’, and now I’m planning to learn stitching too.

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?

S. Finding work was my main concern when I got married as a flourishing career in architecture requires being stationed at a single place, which was obviously not possible in my case. But fortunately we have had our postings in places where I did have my stint as an architect. Apart from this the constant moving, packing and unpacking and setting up new houses also gets me to explore my interior styling skills, which I do with as much zeal and enthusiasm as I did in my first posting!

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

S. Well we should thank the internet and social media! Many people consider it addictive and fake but for us Fauji mompreneurs it is a blessing! I’m sure all the beautiful ladies married to defense personnel would completely and whole heartedly agree to this fact! Talking of moving to remote areas, as I mentioned it is sheer luck that I haven’t seen such posting as yet, but I’m prepared for anything!

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?

S. The best part about working from home and also being your own boss at the same time, is that you can plan and prioritize in advance so the deadlines never become a ‘load’ along with all the social activities of the Fauji wife life.

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?

S. I cherish almost every little thing about the Fauji community, the best thing being, you’re never a stranger at a new station and you instantly bond like family with the fellow ladies. A few upgrades of the welfare activities suiting the current times and relevance would definitely benefit, and from what I’ve seen things are changing and for the good!

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

S. The constant moving around the country every 2-3 years, sometimes twice in a year, single-handedly parenting the kids are the main challenges, because of which, I admit, the growth of my venture has been sporadic. But I have been working upon it, and that’s exactly what you have to tackle and just keep going. The positive side however is that it teaches you to be more patient with yourself.

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)?

S. To all the Fauji wives out there I’d like to tell them nothing is impossible; it just requires a bit of will power.

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

S. Just go with the flow! Don’t lose focus and most important of all be kind to yourself. Life’s short and it’s not always easy for us Fauji wives!

Thanks Sanyukta, for sharing your story with us!

A note from me: I recently released a #KindleBook called ‘The Work-At-Home Military Wife’ for Armed Forces ladies and anyone who desires to create self-employment for themselves on the move. Check it out here:

(For Women's Day celebration, this week the book is on 50% discount!)

A gift: And hey, if you’d like to explore work-from-home career ideas that you can pack and carry, download my FREE ebook '25 Work-from-home Careers for Military Wives’ by signing-up for my email updates, here.

Connect with me:

Twitter @ChandanaMilSpo
Instagram @chandanamilspo

#thebrigadethatbuildsbrands #milpreneur #MilSpouse #smallbusiness #workfromhome #workathome #selfemployed 

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