Very early in my life, I considered business as an art that is an extension of the self. Unleashing creativity is like holding a pencil for the first time. You have a blank paper in front but you don’t know what to do with it. The phrase ‘business is art’ leaves many in confusion but its relationship is rather interesting.
While the self is a complex thread that needs untangling from time to time, creativity and patience contributes in shaping the identity. All of us have an artist residing in us. Some nurture it while others ignore. The process may differ but the final result is that of mental satisfaction.
When we bring art into our lives, our perspectives change. Then think about its effect in the workplace. When everyone in the workplace is carefully attending to create a work of art rather than simply working lifelessly to achieve a target, think about its possible outcome.
Four decades back when I was working at my father’s shop, I was unhappy. The environment in which I worked was completely that of negativity and ego. There was too much selfishness prevailing in the system. I realised it was no place for me to stay.
As I said earlier, businesses are an extension and reflection of self. Therefore when we establish the foundation of our business we need to sow the seeds of creativity and empathy so that it will remain intact in the roots forever.
When one is in the business of weaving which is itself a form of art therapy, everything related to it becomes a living personification of art. One of the things we do at Jaipur Rugs is to connect our artisans with our customers and employees. This gives out a feeling of pride among the artisan community, and a sense of completeness among the customers since they are helping many to attain their basic livelihood.
Our employees are taken to the villages and are given a chance to live with the artisan community and learn few tricks in weaving and experience the art in its rawest form. Through this sensing journey we tend to achieve mutual respect and love which are necessary factors in establishing a business.
Another one of the key decisions we made was to involve the artisans till the end process and give them a sense of the ownership mindset. The artisans are brought to the headquarters to have a look at their labour of love. Through this the artisans are empowered to create more. While they come, I interact with each one of them and learn more about their creative process. This helped me to understand and appreciate things all the more.
They often say that not all training is good. In fact, a lot of times the set process binds us, especially when you are in the business of art, you need to break the pattern once in a while to keep things fresh.
Often while we train ourselves we tend to lose our natural intelligence and go in a systematic routine. This destroys the creative flow and limits us to a specific format. The idea is to preserve natural intelligence through creative freedom.
I must give this credit to Kavita, who is the design director and also my daughter for making me realise this. Her observation and idea is what contributed to Jaipur Rugs becoming a household name in the world of design.
Kavita’s initiative the Manchaha taps into the untamed fashion from the villages of India. It experiments with the originality of rural craftsmen to nurture their creative potential, which is unexplored on a global stage.
For the first time ever, weavers get to be the designers of their own rugs. It is imbued with the individuality of its artisan. One such masterpiece is The Anthar rug, a great example of a creative social innovation that presented to the world a new way of design thinking and original art directly from the most repressed communities of rural India.
Unlike most designs born in the design studio, the Anthar rug was born directly on the loom and was influenced by the misalignment and alignment between its weavers.
This rug went on to win the prestigious German Design Award in 2016 bringing the weaver’s art directly to the global stage.
When art is inspired by daily life it gives out a unique perspective of something absolutely common. Extracting life and weaving it in different colours is to paint business with love and innocence and making it a filtered piece of art.
My journey has taught me that in life art is what gives clarity to a purpose unless we allow our creativity to flow naturally then we are building castles in the air. Therefore business for me is an art of weaving human connections into the tapestry of civilization.