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Rashmi Singh, an NID graduate deeply committed to the Indian craft heritage began Moya, as a way to bring innovative craft-based products to a discerning audience.
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Coming from a place where the word ‘Fashion’ was synonymous with being sparsely clothed and a family where anything other than a doctor or engineer was beyond acceptance, I had to fight for every single step to reach my career goals. Though going to NID solved a lot of issues back home, it raised a new challenge for me, where almost every face questioned me, “Do I belong there? Why?”
It was a huge culture shift for me. I still remember the very first assignment in college where I went to present and with jitters in my feet and tears in my eyes, I could not utter a word! Anyhow, I fought my battle there and passed out with good grades, thanks to an amazing bunch of friends who helped me evolve.
The battle wasn’t over yet. I had to choose either my passion or a job that was a well accepted path for my family and the world – and of course, I took up the job. Yet, I always felt that I was not made for the corporate world; and one fine day, I decided, “This is it!”
I left my job as a designer with a men’s fashion brand. I forayed as an entrepreneur with another love of my life, food and launched a very specialized health food catering venture called Homespoon, back in 2010 when the trend had just started picking up. But as destiny would have it, I had to shut it down after running it for a year and a half because of severe health issues and because I had someone most important to care for, my son.
Life is full of surprises and I believe in them.
My son gave me a lot of time to be at home and the time to think. Who did I want to be? Where does my heart belong? And there, in those thoughts I found Moya….
Moya is my dream, my passion which was somewhere lost while pursuing the so-called standards of success and achievement. Moya is an Irish word which simply means “Great”.
A Zeitgeist of Indian art and craft, I thrive on the rich heritage of India. My label Moya therefore houses a range of products from lifestyle accessories to home furnishings and apparel; all Moya products have a signature style of depicting regional art from the various regions of India with an eclectic mix of pattern and material and a vintage touch to it.
We believe that “All our products are a work of art” which need to be treasured. They are meant for few who understand art and know where it belongs, understand the story behind it, and love to experience it, and hence take pride in owning them.
We do a range of work related to Crafts, be conducting craft workshops, developing craft product ranges or innovative products to craft up your home!
I am until now a ‘one woman army’, with one amazingly supportive partner and a few co-operative people who have helped me through to get things done. Though I have launched Moya quite recently, in August 2014 I have been working on it since a long time, on my travels and otherwise in my research, readings etc. not really knowing that it would help so much. I met a lot of craft clusters, NGOs and self help groups, talking to them and developing products a little differently than the usual.
Each day at work often shapes up differently, and comes forward with new challenges and surprises which just break into all that I might have planned for that day!
However, on a normal working day, I start my mornings at about 7:00 am, do my yoga (at least 3 days a week), and then spend some time chatting with my husband over a cup of green tea and an apple. My work involves lot of networking with people, so my most of the time goes in calling and writing mails and responses throughout the day. I make sure to call each of the craft groups I am working with, at least twice a week.
Creativity needs some quiet and silent corners to come out… I spend my Fridays mostly doing that, conceptualizing a new product, and thinking of new ways to innovate.
I am a family person; spending time with my son and family charges me up. My evenings belong to my son – we play, paint, sing and just ‘be’ together. Once he goes off to sleep, I get back to work. I have always loved working through the night. It is the most productive time for me, and the silence somehow adds to my productivity!
Working with Crafts is a journey. It involves understanding the soul of it, the skill of the artisan, and then comes the difficult task of convincing the artisan to do something different yet maintain the soul of the art. I always say that Moya is a platform where Skill meets Design and Art meets Style. I am deliberately omitting the word Fashion because I feel Fashion is outdated now – it’s all about Style; it stays, and is something you discover and acquire, with experience and taste.
While working with Crafts and artisans is a lot of fun, it comes with many challenges, such as language barriers, low commitment levels with some artisans and time constraints to name a few. For instance, when I was working with Madhubani artisan groups from Madhubani (a village in Bihar), it was difficult to convince them to work on a different fabric than cotton and silk which they were used to. I wanted them to use a completely different fabric…chiffon, difficult to handle and not explored by them.
Anyhow, these challenges have taught me a lot and in the end they have come out with amazing results that you can see in the product range.
When the canvas is so big possibilities are many! I want Moya to be the lifestyle destination for people looking for quality innovative products having their roots in Crafts. Anything to do with Crafts cannot be without the Artisans behind it; I wish to light up the lives of the people behind Moya as well, helping them by expanding their scope of work and raising their standards of living, as we progress.
I firmly believe that following your passion might not always lead to success in terms of finances, but never give up for that reason – follow your heart with dedication and you will find a way.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
No law in the country recognises enabling the rapist to walk free after marrying the survivor. However, in reality, it is something that families and communities often push for.
In the same week where the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, 11 May, saw a split decision on the constitutionality of the marital rape exception, another equally reactionary decision was handed by a divisional bench of the Supreme Court when they set aside the conviction and sentence of a man who had repeatedly raped his 14 year old niece
The facts of the case are simple. The accused, K Dhandapani, enticed his 14 year old niece with the promise of marriage and raped her several times. The family came to know of the offence when the girl became pregnant, and a case was lodged against him under the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. After trying his case, in 2018, the Sessions Court found him guilty on all three counts, and convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. The accused appealed to the Madras High Court which upheld the conviction and the sentence in 2019.
The girl gave birth in 2017, before the case came up in court. Despite the pending case against him, he continued to have sexual relations with the girl, and she gave birth to her second child at the age of 17.