BENGALURU: Like many of us who began picking up new skills during the lockdown, Manvi Gandotra decided to learn how to embroider. But Gandotra is different from several others. She is currently using her newfound skill to raise money for COVID-19 relief. The city-based photographer started a small initiative of selling hand-embroidered bookmarks, wherein 100 per cent of the proceedings are go towards the cause.
When she was confined indoors, Gandotra began learning the craft from her mother, who is a fashion designer, since it was always on her bucket list. “Since I come from Jammu, I always wanted it learn this skill. And what better way to utilise the time during lockdown than to get a hang of something new. Moreover, I wanted to take a small break from photography because business is down and it is not the safest time to pursue it, “ she says.
The idea of the initiative, however, came last month when she came across the struggles of the underprivileged during the pandemic, and felt lucky about being safe with her loved ones. Since she had been practising her newly-learnt craft on small linen pieces and making dresses for her 6-month-old child, she decided to use it for a cause. “My daughter, my family and I are safe. The thought made me feel so privileged, which turned into a driving force to do this,” says Gandotra, who sold 40 bookmarks in almost two hours.
The bookmarks come in sets of two, with each set priced at ‘600. Since her husband is an avid reader, she first made one for him, and her creations soon found fans on social media. “I was not sure how it would have panned out. Liking a picture on Instagram is one thing and buying something is a different thing altogether. So I wanted to start with something small to test the waters,” says Gandotra. Much to her surprise, not just Bengalureans, but people from Ludhiana, Jaipur and Mumbai also figure in her client list now. The 34-year-old now wants to focus on more such initiatives. “I am not thinking of starting my own business. Right now I am planning to come up with a bigger charitable initiative,” she says.