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Ergo: Ten fingers worth

BY
Anusha Parthasarathy

Deepa Sekar is surprised at the instant success of her unlikely trade. “‘Is it really paper?’ is the first thing they ask,” she laughs good-naturedly, placing a star-and-leaf-shaped earring into my open palm. After much inspection, I ask her “Is it really paper?” Deepa’s business requires her to use all her ten fingers and is called ‘10 Fingers’ too. What does she use them for? Making paper jewellery and running her online business via her blog.

Surprisingly, she claims she is not a jewellery person. “I worked as a freelancer for a dotcom company for a while and this made me comfortable with the Internet. In fact, my flickr pages where I posted most of my jewellery pieces caught a lot of attention. That’s when the blog began and the business became official,” she explains.

A part of the arts and crafts scenario ever since childhood, Deepa was forever intrigued by the patterns and designs one could make with paper. She started it as a hobby, playing around, making random designs. To get comments about her work, she photographed a few and put it up online. Just as she expected, comments and requests for purchase started pouring in and she realised she was “sitting on a gold mine”.

“I decided to work on something wearable for women of any age. The earrings that I make work well for an Indian audience. The first batch of 10 Fingers earrings were launched in December 2008 at DakshinaChitra and were received well. People started getting curious and placed more orders online. Then there was no turning back.”

Paper for the earrings is picked up wherever she shops, while the hooks and stones attached to them are brought in from dealers in various states, according to the required design. Though jewellery makes up most of her business, she also does card and gift toppers on a small scale.

And yes, they’re made of paper too. Six months into the trade, Deepa is now thinking of more retail outlets to distribute her products. But she insists she is most comfortable online. With two outlets – DakshinaChitra and Vanilla Place – already selling her brand, she is happy doing her custom-based design and delivery online, saying it is “easier to work with”.

“With 10 Fingers, I see myself heading somewhere. But I don’t make too many plans. It’s better to just go with the flow. The product works well because its niche is paper. I think paper is seriously underrated. My challenge is to refine its position,” smiles Deepa, her hand carefully lifting up the earring from my hand and sliding it back into its cover.

10 Fingers earrings range from Rs. 175 to Rs. 500 and are available at DakshinaChitra and Vanilla Place, Mylapore. You can also place orders directly at https://paperjewellery.wordpress.com

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