Meet the maker: Shipra and Megha Agarwal – KalaGhar

The story behind KalaGhar and two young women entrepreneurs (and sisters) on a mission to do something meaningful and fulfilling with their lives.

Shipra Agarwal finished her Engineering and MBA. She had worked with the Essar Group and Axis Bank. She was well on her way to building a successful career as a Management professional. But Shipra wanted more. And so, she got in touch with her younger sister, Megha.

Megha Agarwal was a media professional. She had been associated in various capacities with reputed brands like Teach For India, Bernard Van Leer, Humara media labs Pvt Ltd, Seagull Foundation for the Arts, and Milaap. Like her sister, Shipra, Meghaa, too, wanted to do something more purposeful with her life.

Shipra and Megha, Founders – KalaGhar

While Megha was doing her fellowship with Milaap, she often used to tell Shipra about the innumerable struggles small, Self Help Groups (SHG) and rural artisans face while trying to sell their products. Both felt the opportunity to provide a much-needed service existed here.

Deeply interested in Indian arts and crafts, dreaming of creating products based on the idea of “arteutil” i.e., useful arts keeps us moving, and huge fans of Laila Tyabji, the chairperson of Dastkar, one of India’s most prominent NGOs working with craftspeople across the country to promote and revive the traditional Indian crafts, Shipra and Megha inclined towards doing something significant in the social sector. They wanted nothing more than to build a business that created lasting social value.

Thus was birthed the idea of KalaGhar by two young women entrepreneurs (and sisters) on a mission to do something meaningful and fulfilling with their lives.

Come April 2016, they launched KalaGhar (realm of art) a place where art flourishes in its own unique manner. It is based in the eastern Indian state of Odisha and the products are handcrafted in association with SHGs and Non-government Organisations (NGOs) in various rural locations across the state.

The road ahead

KalaGhar would like to be seen as a proudly-Indian craft brand that creates world-class art-based utility products with a touch of heritage and luxury.

Most importantly, the sisters want the craftspeople of KalaGhar to benefit. In fact, KalaGhar’s long-term vision is to create a business sustainable enough to build an ecosystem that provides amenities like quality primary education and basic health services for artisans and their families.

It’s still early days, but the experience of setting up KalaGhar has already taught the sisters a great deal. They learn from their mistakes and from every person, organization, and designer they collaborate with.

With the unstinting support and valuable guidance from family, friends, colleagues, and business associates, KalaGhar is confident of weathering every challenge it encounters.

We wish KalaGhar well on its journey. What’s more, we look forward to being an integral part of it. Way to go, folks!

Visit the Kalaghar Shop on Engrave.

To read stories about all our makers, click here.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.


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