‘I'm not advocating not taking care of yourself’

Burnout and the cult of overwork are major issues but, for creative Anuradha Bhaumick, cutting corners isn't the solution. You have to grab an opportunity when it presents itself and learn to set your own standards.
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‘When starting a creative business, don't be afraid to be fastidious,’ says Anuradha Bhaumick. The Bangalore-based embroidery artist is herself a case in point: she has gone through three different prescriptions for her glasses this year alone, partly, she says, because of the attention to detail that she puts into her embroidery. 

Anuradha was working as a designer at jeans manufacturer Wrangler when she started to feel burnt out and creatively uninspired, before she turned embroidery into a successful career in late 2019. She started an Instagram account where she posts colorful stitched creations that often feature figures reading in parks, on couches or in bathtubs, usually surrounded by art, bookshelves, plants and pets. ‘I celebrate the beauty in domesticity,’ she says. 

Initially, the 29-year-old started the Instagram account as a hobby. ‘But, by early 2020, I was looking for the next chapter of work,’ she says. Then, in April the same year, the Instagram account of Belletrist, a book club co-founded by actor Emma Roberts, posted an image of one of her designs and, overnight, a few hundred followers turned into a few thousand. ‘I've been trying to make the most of this opportunity since.’ 

She's had to work hard to stay on top of the workload, she says. She has a waitlist of 76 commissions and each piece takes 50 to 150 hours to finish. ‘It's a labor of love,’ she says. ‘I'm not advocating not taking care of yourself; I'm still working on finding the balance. But I think only when you're uncompromising in your standards do you truly flourish.’

For our ‘25 big lessons from small business’ series, we scoured the world to find inspiring people to share the lessons they've learned from running their own companies. Click here to read the other stories.

This special feature was first published in Courier issue 45, February/March 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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