Nupur, founder of Pretty Ponytails, is from Kolkata, India. She loves spaghetti with cheese, reading, and drawing. But, her whole business was founded on the fact that she loves to create pieces of unique hair jewelry. Read on to discover Nupur’s story.
How did you become an artisan?
I started my career in the jewelry industry at one of the leading jewelry brands in India. But, later on, I gave that up. I decided to take a break from work to raise my children. Eventually, my children became the reason I decided to start my own business creating unique hair jewelry.
Nearly four years ago, I did everything I could to adorn my daughters’ hair. At the time, there weren’t a lot of accessories to choose from. So, I decided that the simple hair clip needed a serious makeover! Designing hair accessories became my hobby, which turned into a passion, eventually an obsession, and ultimately my own brand.
As my girls started growing up, I kept experimenting with materials; blending metal with fabric, felt, etc. The outcome surely was interesting, but at this point, I was still limiting my audience to the little ones. Then I gradually started making hair jewelry, our specialty since then, which lead to a robust line of body jewelry!
What do you love about your work?
The most beautiful part about making unique hair jewelry is the process of making the prototype. There are trials and errors, the learning and unlearning that each piece entails, and eventually the wear test. Moreover, the contentment and satisfaction that take over when a new piece fits beautifully against the skin, is a wonderful feeling. I believe the only feeling that is comparable, is when a client compliments our work.
My workday begins by readying orders I received the previous day for dispatch. After this, we typically check, update, or create our listings in the marketplaces online. Then, we interact with our partners and spend the second half of the day creating new pieces. I personally love to work with antique gold and Kundan stones.
What is your inspiration?
I largely get my inspiration from my daughters. Mostly from things they like to wear or what looks good on them. I also have a great fondness for heritage jewelry. So, the jewelry from my grandmother is another source of inspiration.
I unwind spending time crafting with my children, my young girls. I love to create any work of art or craft with them. Teaching them a song is another one of my favorite things to do. I feel spending time with them to teach them any skill gives a very fulfilling feeling to me, and I love to do that as often as I can.
What else do you make?
Next to unique hair jewelry, I also create Rakhi, a seasonal product for the holiday Raksha Bandhan. Raksha Bandhan is a beautiful festival that celebrates the love between siblings. This love at its purest is portrayed when the sister reminds the brother of their undying bond by tying a holy thread, or Rakhi, on his wrist. This Rakhi is a symbol to show the brother will always safeguard his sister in every way. The brother then also gifts something to the sister.
There were many reasons for me to start creating Rakhi. One of the reasons was that, as a customer, I just didn’t like what I could find. I did some research and noticed that Rakhi's could be improved through the use of rich and skilled handicrafts of India. We worked to find better color schemes and used multiple materials within a single piece for better aesthetics and design. Of course, Rakhi’s are a seasonal product, but for the emotion, the love, and the feelings behind it, we at Pretty Ponytails felt it was totally worth it.
Most importantly, I have an elder brother who is a great friend and confidante. He also played a key role in Pretty Ponytail’s growth. Every Raksha Bandhan is a celebration of our bond. We celebrate it with the utmost festivity and hope our love and friendship only grows.