Present: Starting up

Iram Ahmed exploring crafts

A year ago, after boldly starting The All India Co, I was struck with the immensity of taking the first step. While I knew the direction, I didn't know where to begin.

Surprisingly, lessons from business school stayed with me like life lessons and were my north star.

The first lesson:

Econ 101: I remember our professor, marching into the class without casting so much as a glance at us and hurriedly scribbling, "no free lunch." This didn't make any sense to me, as just that morning, I had grabbed one of Timmie's freebies - a small coffee. By the end of the class, I had realized that, in fact, it wasn't free. I was the cost - my information, my health, my share of wallet...

In the same vein, the H&M and Joe Fresh shirts easily available for $5, also weren't actually cheap. Someone somewhere had paid for it in more than full. In this (famous) case, the ill-treated, underpaid factory workers paid for it (sometimes) with their lives, in other cases it may be the planet with the careless harmful factory effluents, emissions and pollution.

And the second lesson:

Stats 101: Make the best choice with information available instead of waiting to know every single option out there.

So I took my savings, earnings from a side job and kind gifts from family and went on to explore the key craft areas near my city, New Delhi, in India. I returned with motivating stories on one hand and, on the other, the learning that creating a product line was going to be neither easy (artisans live in remote areas with little to no resources) nor cost effective (textile and surface design can take up to months to create a single product!) but it was going to be totally worth it.

Yep, completely worth it.

It's the awe-inspiring 7th and 8th generation artisans that I met in Bhuj, Gujarat, and Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, that made me start with the crafts of these cities.

Stay tuned to learn about behind-the-scenes of the upcoming product line! They are bound to move you! :)

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