Colours of perseverance and passion

Khyati Mehra Sharma, Founder, KhyatiWorks
Born & brought up in Amritsar, North India, KHyati Mehra Sharma is living her passion in arts painting, handicrafts at KhyatiWorks. (www.khyatiworks.com). She owns an ecommerce store that houses a large number of handpainted and handcrafted things like jewelry, stationery, home décor, quirky accessories, artwork, gifting, shoes etc.

Khyati also has her IT work going along that hinders her participation in lots of exhibits, but her merchandise is available at select stores in Bangalore and Mumbai. Planning to have her own boutique in Bangalore in 4 years’ time, the USP of Khyatiworks is that none of the products is factory made. “Each piece is handcrafted by me and takes anywhere between 1-5 days to get made. That makes all the products unique and so different, the proud entrepreneur says.

Her choice of profession came without a second thought – it had to be engineering! While she was completely into academics, Khyati was equally fond of painting. She never received a formal training in it but she enjoyed sketching and painting a lot.  Her IT career started just after graduation, but she set aside some time to paint on & off  and once she came across a couple of psychedelic artworks online, there was no turning back since then.

Khyati started creating abstract artworks which were completely intuitive. She says she would have a blank canvas in front of her and next thing she would just start filling it. And within 2-3 months, Khyati had finished a couple of them. Looking at them filled her with so much joy and she had found her calling. I knew this was now a major part of me, she says.

Khyati never wanted to showcase her artwork in an exhibition but she wanted to share the joy that it brought to her along with people. They were such happy colors and she knew it would brighten up the lives of anyone who saw it. So she thought of starting with Artwork souvenirs and got mugs and greeting cards printed. However, the question was – how to market it. She had no background in this field, so she had to literally go to every gift shop in Connaught place in Delhi who she thought could house these cards. In a month’s time, Khyati got an order for 300 cards and that’s how ‘Khyatiworks’ was born!

High point in career

2015 was very kind in terms of accolades for my work. Last year I was featured in a number of national dailies – The Hindu, Deccan Herald, Times of India, YourStory etc. This year I was invited to the prestigious Startup India campaign launch initiated by the Govt of India in New Delhi, I was among the 2000 startups that were invited for the event and I am really proud of that!

Most challenging assignment so far

My most challenging assignment has to be my first exhibit in Dilli Haat, New Delhi. It was a 3 day event and being my first exhibit I had very little idea with regard to what should be the quantity of products that I should make, how to go about the marketing, so many things. Also, as I make each piece myself, I had to work a lot of extra hours, weekends, after office to get the things ready. I had a lot of family support; I guess that was the biggest reason of that exhibit being an absolute success. But it was the most grueling 2 months for me.

Greatest inspiration

My greatest inspiration is the Honey Badger. It is unperturbed, unaffected by what happens around it, it just gets what it wants. Whenever I am feeling low or things don’t go as planned, I thing about how a honey badger only worries about what it wants, any hurdles or obstacles can’t change what it wants. And that is so awesome! If we are focused on our goal to make things happen, without worrying about the highs and lows, we can achieve whatever we set our mind to.

Most important milestone in life

To be able to carve a niche for my brand and to be able to justify my IT work at the same time gives me immense happiness. Both are an integral part of me and I would never want one to suffer because of the other, they both are equal priority at this point. I take life as it comes so I am open to taking chances and looking forward to what it has in store for me!

Women are the better halves”- Have we moved beyond this?

Honestly, this line does not make a lot of sense to me. Yes, we have moved beyond this to an extent, but there are a lot of places where women are still pulled down and are tried to be brought within the so called ‘boundaries’. Having said that, I feel instead of being ‘better’ or ‘worse’, why not be equal? Why not compare accomplishments based on the person rather than gender? And this also means I am definitely against the extra privileges or ‘crutches’ provided to women, I feel I can accomplish whatever I want to with my ability and I do not need that extra leeway just because I am a woman. Just like taking away privileges because you are a woman is demeaning, granting extra privileges because you are a woman is equally demeaning.

In my view, an ideal society will be one where we will not need ‘the first WOMAN to have done this’ Instead we will have ‘the first person to have done this’ irrespective of whether its a man or a woman – when we realize we don’t need to shout out our accomplishments loud coz I am a woman, that is when the world will be a much better place to live in!