Meet the Artisan: Mrinalika Jain
The founder of Kaushalam is mostly known for her gorgeous hand-painted teapots, made in Jaipur, India. How did it all start? Read more to find out.
How did you become an artisan?
I wandered through the narrow alleys of Jaipur city and discovered I found many traditional objects very interesting. At the time, I was totally influenced by Indian art forms. The culture, architecture, palaces, forts, and old city markets really inspired me. So, I decided to use this inspiration to paint traditional items that piqued my interest. That’s how the hand-painted items of Kaushalam came to be.
At first, I showcased just two hand-painted teapots in one of my exhibitions. Although the teapots were surrounded by canvas paintings, they were the center of attention! That was the turning point of my career. Since then, I have hand-painted millions of teapots and other home decor items and shipped them to people worldwide.
I have been painting ever since I was a child. Later, I decided to pursue a degree in fine arts. While I did this, I also started putting up exhibitions of my artworks. I always wanted to be an independent person, though for a very long period of my life I didn’t work for money. So, that’s how I started earning money during my college days.
Life took a sharp turn and being financially independent became mandatory for me. Circumstance showed up in the form of Kaushalam and this journey has been providing livelihood to so many people ever since.
I believe Kaushalam’s hand-painted items are love at first sight for most people. Indians tend to feel emotionally connected to the hand-painted items; it takes them back to their childhood. And most foreigners find these rare, yet typical, Indian items wonderful to look at.
What are your favorite items?
The tea kettles! They have been my buddies for almost 8 years. That’s why they are my passion and I am quite emotional about them. It sounds crazy, but it’s true!
The technique makes my products very long-lasting, even after multiple washings! I achieved the technique after much trial & error. I mostly like to work with metallic and wood. However, I am planning to paint any object that is useful!
Could you describe a typical working day?
A typical working day is around 13 to 15 hours long for me. I start the day in my studio, where all the production takes place. I guide artisans and test new samples, while also coordinating the planning, so we don’t miss the deadline for delivering our orders. I personally take care of the product design, business development and management.
Post-lunch I prefer to spend time at a different location: my retail outlet. Here I meet so many people from different walks of life! I love interacting and getting to know more about them and their perspective toward life.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, we hope to start with a plan that will provide employment to many more needy people. We hope to create a platform where we can teach art to people who always wanted to learn arts and other art activities.
Therefore, we hope our customers are people with a good understanding of the impact of their purchase. If our customers value the efforts we have put in in each and every product we really appreciate that! And of course, we would love to see our product on the shelves of international chain stores.