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Progress and Patience

Updated: Jan 25

I've been busy these past few weeks, getting more puzzle pieces in place to having Soul Sari fully operational. I've been immersed in:

  • Going through the photos and materials from my India trip

  • Getting the logo and trademark finalized (done!)

  • Setting up an Instagram account (also done)

  • Organizing inventory (we have 9 complete items and enough materials for at least 50 more)

  • Creating the first in a series of Panchaali tapestry wall hangings (listings and post coming soon)

  • Working on a beautiful teal Panchaali twin size cotton quilt

  • Quality checking four new quilts from our Jaipur partner

  • Doing competitive analysis by buying from another source online

  • Setting up an Etsy shop (success!)

  • Setting up Amazon Business for supplies and testing out the shipping process

  • Finding the right setup for proper product photos (this has proven really challenging)

I'll be writing about some of these more in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, the most important things I've realized is that patience is paramount and that my drive hasn't dwindled.

Still, it always comes back to the sari and India.

Blonde woman wearing a pastel blue and pink bordered sari, standing under a flower arch at a wedding venue
Me at my friend's pastel-themed wedding in Gurugram, Haryana

Silk Sources

In an upcoming post I'll do a deep dive into the supply chain trip I made to Tamil Nadu. I wanted to find silk saris at the source and with the hospitality and guidance of my friend Nuvena, I got to see one of the weaver communities first hand.

There I not only got to witness how saris go from undyed silk strand to elaborately woven Kanchivaram designs, but I got to meet the weavers directly and watch them work. As we sat exploring all the saris, we were even able to get ones that had been completed that very afternoon.

Blond woman standing to the right of a smiling Indian man who is holding a folded turquoise silk sari
Getting a freshly woven kutni sari from the weaver, Janardanan in Ayyampettai, Tamil Nadu

I have started what has turned out to be an incredibly challenging process of photographing the saris in their "before" state so that I can use them for marketing and storytelling after I've turned them into products.

Getting the lighting right is tough. I also specifically want to have a way for people to choose from several saris for products like the Panchaali tapestry. I am playing around with different layouts and the tools like removing backgrounds.

So I'm making progress there but I'm not exactly happy with it yet. My husband is setting up a photo studio space that should hopefully give us a better result, but we're finding that space is a problem.

When quilts are your primary product, it's very difficult to display them to their full potential, as you can see.

Here I'm using a fold-out futon to display the Panchaali No. 1 as best I can but you can see how defeated I look

Showing the Tala Taal was even worse, considering it's a King size.

Even if I were to cut out the background, it looks nothing like it would on an actual King size mattress. The lighting also does not do justice to just how vibrant and stunning the fabrics are in this beautiful pattern.

My husband Nick has some ideas to improve this with a display that doesn't try to replicate the bed but still helps you see the design and at least picture it in your home.

Logo Love

For the Soul Sari Designs logo, I wanted something that could reflect the deep inspiration we have and the uniqueness of our designs, plus reflect the Indian roots. I collaborated with a friend and product designer, Adarsh Malviya (portfolio). We went through quite a few variations that eventually gravitated toward something that reflected the "SS" initials for Soul Sari, the Panchaali drape design, and Indian inspired form. I also always envisioned red and marigold as the primary colors and in a spark of serendipity, Adarsh came up with the same colors. The end result is nothing short of magic.

In addition to the logo, I also wanted a trademark that I could use on product labels - something I could actually stitch myself. Together, Adarsh and I arrived at a beautiful pattern that incorporates the "SS" and the vibe of the brand.

Further to our brand presence, I've set up a new Instagram handle - @soulsaridesigns. I'm intimidated by what it takes to keep up engagement in the social media world, but all I can hope for right now is to give updates that have visual interest and then hopefully grow into having product listings as well. For that I'll need better photography like I mentioned earlier.

Panchaali Tapestry

A lot of my production time these past few weeks has been dedicated to honing my technique for the Panchaali tapestry wall hanging. These have the traditional sari drape design of the Panchaali quilt, but are small enough to hang on your wall - about the same size as some of my original prototypes. I'll be setting up the listings soon, but here is a quick preview.

Thanks for following along and I hope you're enjoying the peek into my process. I'm really looking forward to sharing more. In the meantime...patience and diligence.

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