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13 Dec 2019, Edition - 1613, Friday

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Coimbatore

Paper passion: how a young woman’s hobby turned into business

Umaima Shafiq

Radhika is afflicted with brittle bones, but nothing has stopped her from turning her talent for making craft into a business venture that are now marketed online.

Radhika J A, a young woman afflicted with a bone disease, is determined to promote her hobby of making handicrafts from old newspaper and paper waste into a business in Coimbatore.

She tells The Covai Post, “From my childhood I was always interested in handicrafts particularly in paper. I would make greeting cards, paper bowls and other curios by paper folding. Then I gave it up as I got busy with school.”

However, she resumed her hobby three years ago and is now selling her craft as curios and corporate gifts.

“I learned everything through online videos of origami and kirigami (Japanese paper folding and paper cutting). First I learnt to make wall hangings which came out well and after giving some of them away as gifts in our immediate circle, my elder brother Rajmohan decided to market my craft.”

Next Radhika began making African stick dolls painted in bright paints, which also she learnt through videos.

“I made around 10 types of dolls and they all sold fast. Now customers want them in pairs and tableaux also. I use old newspapers, rolled tightly into tubules, which I then shape around sticks with glue and water to hold them upright. Painting the dolls helps to strengthen them and prevent damage if they fall down.”

“My brother also markets them online and seeing the success I hope to turn it into a full time business. I will design my products according to client preference,” says Radhika.

Other products made by this young woman are newspaper baskets, gift frames, greeting cards and customised gifts.

She also plans to learn other crafts and hobbies and train others to help her in the future.

“Currently, I am busy trying to finish my school. Then I will concentrate on my hobby. I am grateful to my parents and brother for all their support,” she said.

Radhika has been suffering from brittle bone disease since childhood and is injured easily. She has undergone multiple surgeries to install four plates in her legs. She is mostly home-schooled and walks with a stick but is determined to help herself. She can be contacted at 9345184593.

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