Artisans: The Backbone of Indian Culture and Heritage
According to a study conducted in 2019, almost 40–50% of the most popular Instagram accounts are based on cultural crafts and handmade product creations in some form or the other. The research emphasised the importance current consumers place on handmade products. This new-found interest in cultural art has also helped people channel their individualistic tastes and personalise everyday objects. Despite the demand for newer, personalised and more unique products, the cultural crafts of India remain largely unexplored by established brands. This is where artisans come into the picture.
Artisans are people who create handmade products based on specific techniques that define a craft. Needless to say, artisans and the products they create are one of the strongest ways of preserving India’s cultural heritage. In today's world, where art and individuality are best portrayed via handmade objects, artisans are beginning to carve a niche for themselves with the help of new start-ups.
The Inspiration Behind A Tiny Mistake
On 22nd February 2016, in Yelahanka, Bangalore, a small Shih Tzu puppy was born. Little did he know that one day he would end up inspiring the birth of a home décor brand. His big brown eyes and never-ending antics were compelling enough for Akanksha to figure out a way to be around him at all times. Wincing each time she cleaned up after him and jokingly started calling him a mistake, though a tiny one. This is how A Tiny Mistake was conceptualised.
Probably not the most professional story, but this little one has been one of the biggest motivators throughout her journey. It was definitely a happy accident that A Tiny Mistake is attuned to the fact that all their products are handcrafted and therefore no two pieces are the same. This makes each of them unique and adds a certain character to them, unlike the factory-made products that are exact replicas of each other. Thus, the name “A Tiny Mistake” does justice to these unique differences in each of their products.
A Tiny Mistake was founded with the ideology of promoting handmade Indian products in domestic and international markets. We promote handmade products to generate employment to the Indian youth and make a small attempt to promote Indian art forms. Awareness about these art forms is what will eventually play a big role in preserving them. We strive to reflect the talent of these diverse artisans from across the country, through our products.
Akanksha Tandon – Founder, A Tiny Mistake
Looking for Home Décor Ideas? A Tiny Mistake is the Perfect Platform for Unique Handcrafted Products to Decorate Your Home
Founded in 2016, A Tiny Mistake brings together artisans from all over the country to create specially curated home décor products. Each décor product is handmade and unique. This handmade quality preserves the natural unique properties of the raw materials used, such as the knots in the wood or the small inherent imperfections of the cloth. Thus, every product has a tale of its own, reflecting the talent of the artisan involved while also becoming irreplaceable, unlike bulk products manufactured in a factory.
Sustainability is practised at every stage of production, be it during designing where products are designed to reduce wastage, sourcing of good quality long-lasting raw materials and creation of functional yet beautiful products that preserve and promote the unique Indian art form. This results in aesthetically unique products which satisfy various utilities.
A Tiny Mistake is a conscious effort to:
- Provide a platform to Indian artisans to showcase their talent and earn a livelihood.
- Preserve and bring to the fore India’s latent but extremely rich culture and heritage.
- Encourage the use of environment-friendly and earthly raw materials like wood, stone and ceramics.
- Meet the expectations and demands of new-age home-owners to decorate their homes with good quality, long lasting, aesthetically pleasing and unique home décor products.
Akanksha Tandon's Journey to Creating A Tiny Mistake
- Q. What led you to create A Tiny Mistake and how did you go about it?
- I have grown up wanting, and more importantly believing, that one person can make a difference. Even when I was practicing law, I derived a lot of meaning from my work and knew that the effort I was putting in did make a difference. Then I went to ISB and was able to actually structure a lot of the ideas that I had. While most of my peers were looking for jobs in multinationals and consulting firms, I was clear that I’d prefer a start-up which would give me hands-on experience from the ground up.
I joined a pottery course there and thoroughly enjoyed it. I realised that the interiors and home décor market in India is highly unstructured. You have clear brands in place for apparel, footwear, etc. but not in this space. Plus, in Bangalore I came across so many studio potters who were making beautiful things but did not have the right platform to market them. That’s where we come in, to preserve art and promote artists.
A Tiny Mistake was founded with the ideology of promoting handmade Indian products in the domestic and international markets. We promote handmade products to generate employment for the Indian youth and make a small attempt to promote Indian art forms. Awareness about these art forms is what will eventually play a big role in preserving them. We strive to reflect the talent of these diverse artisans from across the country, through our products.
#vocalforlocal and #makeinindia are what we stand for. In the prevailing circumstances, it’s getting more and more important to rely on locally sourced and locally made products to meet our requirements.
We don’t believe in making something that’s just pretty. Utility is a very big factor that drives us. One look at our organisers will showcase this fact. We also draw inspiration from experimenting with earthy materials like ceramics, wood and stone. In today’s era of sustainability, we believe in making products that last and are environment friendly. We try to minimise the use of plastics at every step.
- Q. Please tell us about your inspiration, your pet Shih Tzu.
- My baby I feel is my lucky charm. I got Pint (my pet Shih Tzu) and met my husband on the same day. Being an entrepreneur can get very lonely. The long hours that you have to put in can really wear you out. I was lucky to have Pint right by my side through all this. Whether it be 1 in the night or 5 in the morning, Pint was there right beside me. It might sound strange to people who don’t have pets but I’m sure that those who do will surely relate to my sentiment.
- Q. What is your process and how do you introduce new products?
- We regularly engage with our customers and obtain feedback from them. We try to gauge if there are gaps in the market and how we can fulfil them. For example, when we started out we had flat cutlery holders. Through feedback from customers we figured that they’ll prefer vertical ones. We now have an entire range of standing cutlery holders.
Similarly for our makeup organisers. We got feedback from our customers based out of Mumbai that the organisers are too big, a problem that Delhi people didn't face. From there evolved our medium and small organisers, also our buffet organisers for dinner parties.
There are some artisans who are with us constantly, others we employ contractually for projects. For instance, if you see our peacock hexagon tray, which has a block printed fabric at the bottom and matching peacock brass handles that go with it. Our team of designers curate the concept and then we discuss the idea with our artisans for their take on it. The design process is extremely collaborative with multiple teams coming together to create something unique.
Feedback from customers helps us identify the need for a certain product and then the above design process.
The Most Popular Offerings from A Tiny Mistake
Three Part Wooden Planter Stand Dark Finish with White Ceramic Pots
A unique style of home décor accessory, this planter stand comes in three parts, each at a different height, and with 3 white ceramic pots which add a contrasting touch of sophistication to the stand's dark finish. Minimalistic and durable, this stand adds a touch of character to any space it inhabits. Available for ₹ 5,900.00 you can buy this stand here.
Teal and Floral Gold Wooden Nesting Tables (Set of 2)
Extremely lightweight and easy to move around, these round nesting tables are the perfect solution for an evening coffee. The table features a teal base with light gold floral patterns which blend in perfectly with all settings. The subtle hues set the mood perfectly for beautiful, modern interiors. This is priced at ₹ 6,600.00 on their website.
Royal White Big Makeup Organiser and Vanity Box
This specially curated makeup organiser from A Tiny Mistake can be your go-to solution for organising your tiny knick-knacks as well as livening up the space. Having 3 deep drawers accompanied by open partitions on the top, this helps you organise your daily essentials without taking up any space. The bottom drawer can even house most of the heavier makeup products like curlers, straightener, etc. All in all, the perfect gift for the ardent makeup lover! Available for only ₹ 4,850.00 here.
Where Can You Find Them?
What Goes into Making Handcrafted Home Décor
- Q. Your website mentions that the products are all handmade. Why handmade and how do you source items?
- We believe that each product, each piece that we make tells a story. Making something by hand brings you closer to the material, the nuances of design and the product truth. You converse with the material, working around the knots in the wood, adjusting the small imperfections in the cloth. These are not just products made in bulk in a factory where everything is replaceable and replicas of one another, where you can’t discern one product from the next. We strive to make each piece unique so that no one else possesses the same product as you.
Also, we feel that handmade products are in sync with our ideology and also allow us to generate employment and safeguard those art forms that would otherwise not be able to compete in this environment.
- Q. What are some challenges you faced when starting out and how did you overcome them?
- We started out almost 4 years ago in a scenario where the people working for us were mostly men. The artisans were also used to their contractors and their supervisors being men as well and it was a little difficult being a woman and assigning them work. Working with vendors, traveling across the country, I realised how little female representation existed in the workforce of this industry. Being a woman in this space has been a challenge and an interesting learning experience.
- Q. What are you trying to achieve?
- We are trying to strike a balance between generating employment, making high quality bespoke products, making them available to the masses, all while building a beloved and profitable brand. Even if one of these links is broken we feel we wouldn’t be true to our purpose.
- Q. How do you ensure the quality of your products?
- There are three ways we do this - through the use of high quality raw materials, by working with exceptional artisans who put their heart and soul into the products they make and a fixed turnaround time (TAT). We don’t make false promises of providing products in a stringent timeframe at the cost of compromising on the product. For example, paint and varnish takes longer to dry in different months, so our TAT changes accordingly.
- Q. What makes products from A Tiny Mistake better/different from those of other home décor brands?
- Quality, utility and customer care.
When you buy something from A Tiny Mistake, you don’t just own one of our products, you become a part of our community, our family. You’re our mascot. We strive each and every day to give you the products you desire, that serve you well and we are open to feedback as to how to improve.
- Q. What’s next for A Tiny Mistake?
- We plan to reach international online audiences in the coming year. We are also exploring offline expansion pan India.
Recommendations for Buying and Gifting Home Décor
- Q. What would you recommend to someone shopping from A Tiny Mistake for the first time?
- Our planters are the apple of our eye. With the growing number of people resorting to indoor planters these are a must-have. We have options for all corners of your house. Check them out, we’re sure you’ll end up buying more than one.
- Q. Please can you give some tips to people on how to select home décor as gifts?
- When people get a gift, it should bring with it an element of personalisation. It shouldn't be that you’ve simply picked up something without giving much thought to it. We have dedicated a section of our website to gifting for this purpose. Give the person something that they will value. We have a section for gifts by personality for this purpose. Also, we have a multitude of options in tissue boxes, trays, cutlery holders and coasters that will allow you to gift something that matches with their décor.