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Ami Gandhi is the entrepreneur behind Fabrigamie, a venture that creates photobooks and photowalls that can be used to save and savour your precious memories.
After graduating in Applied Arts from M.S University and an Associate Program in Graphic Design from the Academy of Art College, USA, I returned home to join an advertising and graphic design firm in Vadodara. Six years later, I resigned to look after my two beautiful babies.
Yet, the learning bug never ceases. Taking up the opportunity of being a stay-at-home mom, I took up origami. The world wide web introduced me to the advancement of origami models and materials. I taught myself the complexity of folding paper into beautiful 3D objects like flowers and boxes. The Indian textiles prints fascinated me to fold boxes out of them. For 6 months, I experimented and succeeded to make the fabric stiff as paper and create beautiful boxes to use. What started as a hobby, became a potential business. Thus was born Fabrigamie – a creative world of fabric and paper.
My first exhibition was a complete sellout, after which I received bulk orders for Christmas from Yamini and Ayatana. I went on to create more complex origami models. I held and still hold workshops introducing children to the fascinating world of origami. I realized though, that this is not what I want to grow in. I just enjoy it as a hobby.
Entrepreneurship comes when you are ready to share your passion with the world.
One day, while browsing through photographs on the computer, I realized that I missed going through them in print and albums with family and friends and reliving memories.
Technology has advanced so much that we can share our photographs instantly and comment too. Then it all gets saved in the memory of a hard drive, which we rarely browse through. And if we do, its not always with someone to share the anecdotes and stories around them.
I wanted to create photo books for my children to relive the moments. The first one I made was for my daughter. It has 10 years of her life, from little poems to photographs of times spent with her family and friends. Whenever she picks it up, her face lights up as she browses through it.
As the word spread, I got opportunities to create albums for special birthdays, anniversaries, friendships and travel. Infact, a client gets one done on each of her son’s birthday, right from the day he was born. She says that this is the most precious gift she will give when her son turns 18!
Recently, I created a personalized wall for a loving father’s daughter. The wall has photographs of her childhood, with her parents, brother and husband. Appropriate quotes framed with the photographs added the sentiments of the father.
I work alone but have a great supplier who prints and makes the book for me. He has helped the book to evolve to what it is today.
A typical project starts with the client giving me a bunch of photographs in digital and print form. I ask them a little about the theme they would like for the book. And if they have special moments, people and incidents that they want to add. They leave it up to me to decide which photographs to use, where to place them and how they would print, as also which quotes and titles to use on a page. Once the theme is decided, I create a few designs for their approval.
The challenge is to I ensure that each photograph gets equal importance. That may be through either using one photograph a page, or using small photographs with spaces around them. The placement is very important. Sometimes, the client wants lots of photographs on a page to get value for money. I have to then patiently explain the theory of white space, that less is more!
I get so involved in projects, that it feels like I was there when the picture was clicked!
I use the time between projects, to market my product. Personalized marketing is a must in this space as it is a new concept and people are so caught up with sharing their life with others on social media, that they don’t realize the need of this for the future. Gone are the days of seeing photographs only if the film was developed and printed. We can still sit for hours with old printed photo-albums.
When I talk to people, they love the idea and want to get such a book created for their children. But somehow they don’t realize it as a need. They find it cumbersome to select the photographs to give to me. I have lots of friends who are amateur photographers. They click amazing compositions which are shared with us on social media. I have been constantly after them, to get to create coffee-table books of their works, so they know how they have evolved. But I am yet to create one for them !
The challenge is to create a necessity for this kind of product in everyday life.
My support system is my pillar of strength. My family has always encouraged me to find my path. They have been with me during the frustration phase and the celebratory days. Their belief and confidence in me, makes me who I am. Without my home staff , I wouldn’t be able to give so much time to my work.
I am passionate about my work, and my dream is to spread this passion into the everyday lives of others.
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