Meet the multi-tasking women entrepreneur, Kavitha Govind. She is a Chartered Accountant by profession working full-time as a Finance Professional while also managing her exquisite collection of curated jewellery. Her artistry, passion, charm touch with all those she interacts permeates into everything she creates and I got a deeper glimpse into this enchantment! We talk about how she started, her inspiration, challenges, and just all about where the magic comes from.
When did you start Quills and Spills? Interesting name, what prompted you to name it so?
I started Quills & Spills in March 2016, It has been 3 years since I started and my fiancé named it. It all started with when I started doing Paper Quilled jewelry for myself. I used to do it as a stress buster from my otherwise very hectic educational and professional life back then. The small interest as a hobby grew into a major passion. However, the quilling was extremely limited to doing it for my own self and nothing more. One day, a colleague of mine from my ex organization wanted to get a quilled earring done from me and that’s how it all started. I still remember how nervous I was the first time I handed over the poorly done packaging to her!
What was your vision for Quills and Spills after you quit your job?
I had no specific vision per se. I just liked what I was doing! Especially when I quit my job it gave me a lot of independence and freedom and waking up to doing something about Quills and Spills. Each day gave me immense joy. I always handled one day at a time.
When did you decide or know that, this is your calling and you’re going to pursue it on a larger scale?
Well actually as soon as I started Q&S, I had to travel on a personal trip to USA for a year. I had no plans of continuing Quills and Spills from there as I had no idea how to manage a page in the first place then my stocks and the orders etc. Gladly I found a couple of amazing friends in this journey who helped me to a GREAT extent right from receiving and planning the stocks till handling the orders and packing etc. But for their help I don’t think I would have kick-started in the first place. So after a brief period in the US, Q&S really grew onto me and I decided that It needs to go as long as I can. Someday hopefully I will make it to larger scale but for now I am happy with the tiny brand I hold on to!
How did people react when you decided to do it full-time?
Well, it was hard for people to come to terms that a CA is “selling jewellery” however they came over it really quickly when they saw what I was really doing. I had an amazing set of friends at business circle who have supported me throughout this.
Take us through a day in your life of Quills and Spills. From the morning till you unwind for the day?
Currently the day is sandwiched between my office work and packing for Quills & Spills and handling orders. However typically, I read through mails almost everyday or atleast once in every 2 days. The turn-around time for an email will typically be 2-5 days. I hold a website now and launching that was the best thing in the world as it reduced my human labour by almost half which was otherwise spent on manually processing each individual order, earmarking the items , following up for payment etc. So the mornings are kept for processing the orders and packing and the nights are for website updation, stock / collection planning and email replies.
Do you have a team? Or you like to be a superwoman and do it all!
Haha! I am no superwoman but no as such I do not have a team, I so wish I have one. But as of today I handle the queries and the order processing, including the pictures of the product that goes up on the website. My father helps with packaging. At times I collaborate with photographers for curating fashion shoots for my products.
Let’s talk about the challenges. How difficult was it when you started out brand new? Was it scary? Was it exciting?
Each day was as exciting as it was challenging. I have had some really difficult times establishing this brand owing to sheer competition. There were days where the survival of this brand was questioned. As I said I handled one day at a time and was never deterred by any of the challenges that was put my way. Every day is a first day of job at Q&S. It is exciting and challenging but I look forward to handling it.
What are some of the misconceptions that people have about your job? Why do you think it is not right?
Well the major misconception that I see is, “She is doing it as a pastime only” or “There are 1000 other people selling the same thing only”, which is very very true. I am not doing anything different, I am only trying to do things differently.
The right thing is each brand has a motto behind them and I feel that people have to look at the brand value than what they are selling , as we all know every brand will have a something extra and unique to offer.
What are the kinds of ornaments that are Quills and Spills speciality? How do you go about curating them?
We specialize in German Silver, Statement earrings and traditional temple jewellery. We have added a little bit of Kundan, American Diamond and pure silver to our list recently. All our jewelleries are handcrafted by rural artisans across India. Sometimes we get to discuss the design and model as per our specification and customize it for my customers.
The average processing and shipping time would be 3-5 working days and the transit may range anywhere between 1-5 days based on their location, however predominantly the customer would get it within a week of placing orders.
What is the one unique thing about Quills and Spills according to you?
May be the way I do what I do? I try to put me in every customer’s shoe before launching every single item. I always view from the stand point of a customer to check if I will be able to appreciate the product given the price range If I am a customer. May be that’s what makes me special!
Best part about your job?
There are 2 utmost best things about the job: Getting happy flaunts from customers & witnessing my vision come to reality in terms of bringing out a collection and when people appreciate that.
If you had to share the most challenging thing?
Keeping up with the trend and the competition Is the most challenging part. It is such a fast fashion world today that what is in trend at 8.00 AM is no longer a trend at 8.00 PM and it all spreads across so fast that everybody wants the same thing leaving us no option but to succumb to the commonality and be part of the rat race. It is difficult to envision something and it changes suddenly and we have to do everything all over again.
Tell us about your collaborations?
Well the best collaboration ever in the history of Q&S goes to Vikatan Awards 2017 when I had the opportunity to adorn the Lady Super Star- Nayantara. She wore our German Silver rings and Bangles which became a huge hit. The moment is still surreal.
There are also 2 very very interesting collaboration that I did in 2018. We pulled out a Halloween cosplay look with the actress Janani Iyer, We named the series “Jasmine”. It was a cosplay look based on the Disney princess, It was one of the best thing that I ever did. It was the toughest shoot I have pulled so far! It will forever be close to my heart.
The next was a simple breezy shoot that I did with singer Pooja Vaidyanathan ! The series was Named “Magalir Mattum” as it was a women only team. It was also a debut for me in modelling for my page. The whole series was so close to home and felt so breezy and very different from my jasmine shoot!
What is your favorite amongst your collections? The most sought after piece?
All my jewelleries are favorites of mine but the German Silver temple jewellery is the favorite most and the most sought after as well.
What have you envisioned for Q&S for the future?
I have no vision as such for Quills & Spills as it always worked out that way. I just want to keep growing organically with a good set of customer base. I am aiming to start a bridal styling service from this year end, where I get to talk to brides about what they want and style them based on their preference. Let us see how this new plunge works!
What would be your advice to young entrepreneurs who wish to trod a similar path?
Give your best shot in what you do and it does take you somewhere. We may be imagining a path and it may take a detour but we have to just keep repeating what we do best in order to reach where we want to. Never succumb to competition and do not do anything because someone else is doing. It is natural to be tempted to compare your performance with competes, but refraining from doing so will be the best thing that can happen to your venture.
Jewellery clearly is a form of expression. Every piece of jewellery has a story to tell and a journey that goes with it. Great going, Kavitha! More power to Quills and Spills.
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