What We Do – Our Business
Hi, I am Priyanka - Owner and Designer of BaublesNBloom. Absolutely thrilled with what we do, I work with a small talent pool of creative individuals. We are dedicated to the cause of ‘HANDMADE’. Our tastes are strongly influenced by traditional and ethnic Indian embroidery and textile design practices like mithila, chikankari, zardosi, phulkari, kantha, bandhani, and many more. While I work from Utah on the design aspect here in the US, my sister and her team execute and bring them to life in her studio in India. What makes the entire initiative and our venture more fulfilling is that we are doing our bit to revitalize these dying arts.
India is rich in innumerable traditional arts and crafts. Every region, city, and village boasts of its own handmade traditions and skills. However, with multiple job avenues opening up in cities, the lure of good money has tempted many talented artisans to move away from these age-old practices and leave home to work in cities as daily wage labourers. Thankfully, a whole tribe of designers in India and elsewhere are working towards reviving, restoring, celebrating, and marketing these handicrafts. The conscious designer is going the extra mile to create offerings that not only celebrate crafts but are also commercially viable. And, we are proud to be a part of the revolution. We hope you have as much fun wearing these as we have making them.
How We Do What We Do – Our Process
BaublesNBloom is a fashion label and an online business, providing a no hassles and transparent online shopping experience. We believe in fair and ethical practice. We strive to ensure the fabrics we choose and the quality of our products is second to none. Our garments are produced in the Land of Colors – India. Our manufacturing partners are chosen after stringent scrutiny to ensure they fit our operation. Their equipment is well-maintained, free of dust and oil, and in great condition. We believe in forging long-term, nurturing relationships with our employees, and believe in creating a happy environment for them to work in. Our manufacturing takes place in a smoke-free and pet-free environment. Our valued artisans take pride in their workmanship to ensure that every item from the folds of BaublesNBloom is perfect. Our small studio is bright, airy, well-ventilated, and spotlessly clean.
How It All Began – Our Story
One day as I read an article about the plight of Madhubani artists in my native state of Bihar in India, a chord struck and i found my creative calling. Stories about how talented artisans were forced to leave their generations-old craft to work as daily-wage workers doing menial physical labour in cities stirred something in me. I was already looking to do something different in the field of women's fashion at that time - as an attempt to break away from the monotone of minimalistic fashion. This article came at an opportune moment and I just knew in an instant that I wanted to explore more of my roots and work with these artisans. It was ‘east meets west’ – I wanted to incorporate an Indian influence into elements that would subtly blend with the global design aesthetics of today. Doing something you love and at the same time impacting lives in whatever small way felt like a win-win mantra. And, that's how BaublesNBloom was incepted.
What Lies Ahead - Our Challenges
The road has not been easy since then. With a meagre budget to begin with, I was concerned that the venture would crumble. But with steely determination and with a thought that success smiles on the brave , I decided to plunge into the business. Getting together a fantastic team was the first step. We started building a good number of loyal customers who left us healthy feedback – mostly positive and a few negative ones too. This helped enormously to better our craft.
We received multiple requests from customers to cater to different sizes, especially plus sizes. It made us realize that there was a demand for plus-size clothing and customised apparel. That's how kaftans came into the picture; a garment when done right could effortlessly look good on all body types and sizes. We explored further into this potential area and were shocked to realize the stigma and body image issues associated with women of certain sizes; the challenges they face at the workplace and elsewhere and that they have to compromise on their selection with whatever little choices they get at a retail outlet. Today, it feels fabulous and meaningful when we receive messages from women thanking us for catering to their body size.
Yet another special validation for our unique niche in the clothing and traditional crafts’ business came in the form of an invitation to showcase our products at the Paris Fashion Week. In fact, this was a dream come true. It also brought onto us the exhilarating possibility that we could go places literally – London, Paris, Milan and New York... Apparently, we were chosen from among 50,000 designers worldwide as the curators acknowledged that our work was different. At this point, one is bound to think the business was making moolah, right? On the contrary, the venture was doing just about okay and was barely breaking even. People close to me suggested I should just quit as I was working way too hard in lieu of sustaining others in a distant country and not making sufficient for myself. I had seen a fair share of highs and lows in my life but was not prepared for the lowest of lows that followed thereafter. It has taken a lot of will power, resilience and strength to emerge from a particularly dark phase. As the business continued to suffer, I knew I couldn't give up. To make matters worse, the pandemic arrived.
The cloud indeed had a silver lining. Many online businesses were doing very well and we noticed a sudden spike in ours too. We received plenty of orders. Unfortunately, we were unable to supply as manufacturing and production suffered severely due to lockdown back in India. It was hard coping with building expenses like buying raw material and paying salaries to our employees during the pandemic. Still, we are very proud to say that we did not let go of any of our employees during these dark times. It meant paying them full salaries and not expecting anything in return. We had to incur some losses during the time, but it was worth it in the end as we were able to gain the love, loyalty, and respect of our workers. As the months passed and with easing of the lockdown, they came forward and suggested that they wanted to help – and were more than eager to work from home.
Our staff , generally consists of hardworking and talented local artisans from India who belong to the deprived strata of society and who find it difficult to make ends meet. These are the people who are the backbone of my small company. I dread to disappoint these people. And, strongly believe we will overcome all challenges and flourish once again.