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Name: Akshaya Borkar 

Business: The Art and Craft Gallery 

Location: Pune, India 

Industry: Arts & Entertainment 

Reason for starting? I started The Art and Craft Gallery as I faced many challenges growing my art and handmade business online after 2 years of building it. I realized that unlike other professionals (lawyers, doctors, engineers) there’s no associations worldwide that can help guide artists to grow their career. Plus all the selling platforms online or offline require a lot of dedication and selling commission charges for artists, resulting in physical and financial burnout for the artists and artisans. This is why The Art and Craft Gallery was started, to not only provide a selling platform but also a hub that connects artists to services like craft supplies, copyright lawyers, business education and more, without charging any selling commissions. 

Related: Read about another Arts entrepreneur here. 

How do you define success? Success for The Art and Craft Gallery is to see our artist members becoming more professional in their approach towards selling their creations and getting them established as business with consistent business across the year. Success for me personally means having a positive impact on the arts and crafts industry, making it a mainstream business generating many career opportunities for creative people. 

Biggest success: We organised a branding event in India titled “Sport+Art=SPART” where Australian Cricketer Mr. Brett Lee was invited as our guest of honor. This day-long exhibition of art showcased works and handicrafts of 25 artists and artisans across India. It was followed by a talk between Mr. Brett Lee and Mr. Sunandan Lele, a sports journalist, that focused on Mr. Lee’s journey from cricket to art. This whole event not only inspired the artists, but also generated a lot of demand for their artworks due to the media exposure this event received. So this event became a flagship event that disrupted the stereotypical art exhibitions or handicrafts market where the benefits for participants are unknown. After this event, our artists were getting orders from India, Australia and the U.K. 

Related: The Independent Life – Susan Johnson 

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Bootstrapping a start-up for the past 3 years has been a big learning curve, which we have managed to maneuver successfully. However, now, to scale up our business, we have to think outside the box. We’re coming up with ideas for partnerships and collaborations to penetrate the artists markets further, while creating more demand for their creations from the buyers. 

Who is your most important role model? There are so many people who inspire me in this journey of entrepreneurship, but one person who inspired me in the art and craft industry is Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart has revived American’s love of art, craft and homemaking, while taking it to the next level. We look forward to making a positive impact in creating business and employment in the arts and crafts industry worldwide. 

Twitter   @craftgallerygal
Instagram   @theartandcraftgallery

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Edited by The Story Exchange