Can a hashtag change your life? Or at least give a leg up to your business? Yes, says Anuradha Bhaumick, an embroidery artist from Bengaluru. Her Instagram post with the hashtag #BookClub #LiteratureOnCanvas caught the attention of American actor Emma Roberts, founder of the online book club Belletrist and niece of Hollywood star Julia Roberts.
Bhaumick had posted an embroidered work of a girl reading a book in a bathtub on her Insta handle @hooplaback.girl. Roberts shared it on her Insta Story and within minutes on that beautiful April noon in 2020, Bhaumick started getting inquiries from prospective buyers. About 18 months later, the inquiries and sales continue unabated.
The 29-year-old embroiderer from Kasturi Nagar in the Garden City is busier than ever.
"People ask me to capture a slice of their lives. Sometimes, it is as simple as visualising the morning ritual of relishing tea with their partner on their apartment’s patio. Or one of their pet cat which has died. They send me the relevant photographs and I create the art and ship them," elaborates this NIFT graduate.
Most of her commissions that come via Instagram and her portal are executed on poplin or muslin. Bhaumick spends anywhere between three days and a week to complete a piece of bespoke embroidery. The work is good old-fashioned thread and needlework which is like meditation for her.
A Bengali settled in Bengaluru, Bhaumick is in no hurry to pander to anyone's expectations. "My pieces are truly based on what I feel like working on. Although summer is over and autumn is here, I am currently on the theme of summer flowers," she adds.
Bhaumick knows that being an entrepreneur is hard work but the creative part is enjoyable. "I can never think of expanding or asking anyone else to embroider just to expand my business. I can perhaps outsource the marketing or bookkeeping of my business, but am too selfish to let go of the creative aspect of my job," she says.
Thanks to the single Hollywood Instashare, Bhaumick was able to quit her 9-to-5 job in a branded garment chain to start her own line. "I remember my colleagues and boss asking me if embroidery is really a career option in 2021. I said yes and pursued it. Being able to earn far more than what I would, had I to continue in my previous job makes my current gig super fun," she adds.
Favourite work so far
"A friend commissioned a piece featuring his recently deceased grandma sewing a blanket. It reminded me of my own grandmother. She practiced sustainability and upcycled everything in the house. So creating this one was super special, since making it was like a tribute to her," she says.