Embroidering the tapestry of life

Manjula’s burden of looking after her family was alleviated after her earnings went up with TCSRD’s entrepreneurship training and her embroidery skills


Manjula, aged 35 years, had learnt embroidery work from her parents, who managed to make a living out of it. She learnt the art early on in life, assisting her parents when she was just an adolescent. When she got married, she stopped the embroidery work as her husband’s income was sufficient for taking care of the family. Unfortunately, her husband passed away and she was compelled to single-handedly care for her two children.

The responsibility of supporting her family rested heavily on her shoulders and left her in despair. She soon went around searching for full-time employment but her efforts went in vain. She then started engaging in hand embroidery work on daily wages and piece rates, but found that her earnings were insufficient to support the growing needs of her family.

Luckily for her, she learnt of the Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) programme in Sriperumbudur and promptly expressed her keenness to embrace entrepreneurship. While her embroidery skill was her strength, the production and marketing aspects related to it clearly accounted for her weakness.

With unwavering support from TCSRD, Manjula attended the entrepreneurship development programme (EDP) in Vellore in May 2017. Through the comprehensive programme, Manjula learnt the art of goalsetting, selection of business, entrepreneurial characteristics, administration, the 4 Ps of marketing — product, price, place and promotion — and record-keeping, amongst others. Simultaneously, she was guided on catalogue development, high-end designing for customers and different kinds of swatches.

With the EDP training provided by TCSRD, Manjula gradually gained confidence to start her own business of embroidery work. Today, she runs her own saree-based embroidery unit, and is known for her quality work in her locality. She gets orders from individual customers as well as retailers. She has successfully and simultaneously managed her family and business. She also has three women employed to assist her run the unit. Manjula earns an average income of Rs5,000 from the unit, and also pays Rs3,000 to each of her women staff.