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Art & Life with Sakshi Mehrotra and Aditi Anand

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sakshi Mehrotra and Aditi Anand.

Sakshi and Aditi, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Meraki has been an unexpected and amazing journey. Six years back we were living in New Delhi, India and working together in a social enterprise that helped create employment opportunities and raise the standard of living of people in Indian Villages. Working in the villages really brought us closer to our communities and understand the need for backward and forward linkages for these rural communities to thrive.

After two years, one of us got married and moved to Austin, and the other one moved to Mumbai, India into Advertising. Despite scoring full-time jobs at multinational companies, we missed our work with the communities back in India, the culture and the social impact. That’s when we started to explore opportunities to connect back. We were nubies to the US market without family or friends and the difference in time zones plus distance made everything thrice as hard. However, our passion got the best of us. We were itching to explore our fun and creative side and decided to give our best to make this work.

Fast forward two years and Voila! MERAKI was launched. We wanted the name to reflect exactly what we were trying to pursue with this brand which is “doing something with soul, creativity or love.” So here we are, doing what we love along with our full-time jobs, to help sustain our passion.

Our mission is to empower artisans across the world by bringing their custom handmade products to global markets, whilst contributing to environmental sustainability.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
We promote talented artisans and traditional handmade crafts that have long been forgotten in this era of technological advancements. Every state in India is unique in its culture and craftsmanship which has limited outreach, most often to just their local markets.

We initiated our partnership with a small organization in India that works with these artisans, to hand make all our home décor line of handmade throw pillows, rugs, wall hangings and baskets. As we grew, we also partnered with a nonprofit in Africa that helps employ women to make natural straw raffia bags.
All these products provide employment opportunities in these communities which in turn helps raise their overall economic status.

We’ve made sure we use only use quality natural raw materials and natural dyes. Our aim is to connect our customers to the artisans in a way where they appreciate the love, care and time it takes in building each product.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
Like any other business, our Meraki journey came with its set of challenges and getting our finances in line was probably one of the tougher ones to combat. It’s unfortunate that it sometimes could be the biggest impediment to following your passion. We’re both working full-time jobs to help fund Meraki. There are days where we really struggle to keep up when we really want to quit our jobs, but then we keep reminding ourselves on our purpose and mission. Our jobs are just a means to an end. To achieve what we truly love.

It’s great however to see the growing support for small business communities across the country. There’s a whole infrastructure in place to help finance small businesses. Hence, for everyone who’s struggling to focus due to these challenges, our advice would be to find local resources in your cities. An east start could be getting access to your city’s chamber of commerce resources and events. The key is to keep on trying and not give up and most importantly surround yourself with people who support and motivate you.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
All Meraki products are available on our website and our home décor line on Wayfair. We also do local pop up shops and promote our upcoming events on our Instagram page.

By supporting Meraki, one wouldn’t just be supporting a small business but also the work of global artisans, clean environment and a charity that helps provide clean drinking water in developing countries. We contribute $3 to Charity: Water with every purchase. 100% of the money from our campaign “Ripple Effect” is used to build clean water projects, and when they’re complete, charity: water shares photos and GPS coordinates of the exact community we helped. One can also go and directly contribute to our campaign on our website.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Lochan Appannah

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