The early human beings learnt to function within the ambit of nature’s intricately arranged food chain, a complex system of multiple systems kept in balance by the population of every species who consumed resources to survive and maintain their place on earth.
As we began to understand more, we began to communicate our thoughts and beliefs by being creative with respect to the materials we could find and tinker with, like stone, wood and clay. We made the wheel, the boat and went on to construct elaborate structures with specific objectives. As we understood more about plants and other materials present on the earth’s surface, we began to make newer materials, and in turn found materials that went on to become the foundation of cheap energy and capital.
Today, we can sense the subtle shift back towards nature, as we increasingly seek out alternatives that are good for the environment around us, a kind of responsible consumerism if you wish. People and the spaces around them, primarily their work space and their home, are an extension of their own values, beliefs and personalities. In today’s day and age when each and everyone is surrounded by products, surrounding oneself with the right people and artefacts carries the sense of making deliberate choices.
Today, at Bangalore Insider, we spoke to Madhu Chandrika, the founder of Earthen Symphony, a design brand that makes artefacts to liven up one’s personal spaces, personal or professional. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.
Give a brief info about your startup?
I, Madhu Chandrika, started my journey in 1995 as a design studio. Over the years we have touched the lives of several others who have joined me to transform every space into a visual masterpiece. From eclectic to ethnic, from traditional to contemporary, all our artefacts have now culminated into an online catalog with over 900 off the shelf products.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
I discovered that there is a unique desire for people to adorn their living spaces with artefacts that resonate with them, which they might have picked up on their travels or which reflect their personality. There was nothing available in the market to address this segment, so I saw an opportunity here and delved into this wholeheartedly.
Earthen Symphony also has a signature catalogue line that I am passionate about. There is a huge lacuna in finding the right artwork to adorn your living or working spaces. There are a very few options available so my intention is to create artwork that is so unique that everyone finds at least one that resonates with them,
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
It was a natural progression from my passion to profession. I had an innate desire to create and to beautify all kinds of spaces. During my college years I put up my first exhibition in May 1994 as a student at the ChitraKala Parishath, College of Fine Arts in Bangalore. The show was a whopping success and from thereon, there was no looking back!
Earthen Symphony studio was launched with tiny seed capital, operating out of a friend’s father’s garage initially. Today we have a steady workforce of 40 personnel and 2 workshops. Honeywell, Manipal Group, Adani Realty, Brigade group, Cellcom, ITC, Deloitte, JW Marriott, Infosys, Accenture, Target, are some of our esteemed clients!
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Earthen Symphony Design Studio is based at Kasturi Nagar, Bangalore and this is the ideal location for us as I have both my workshops, my studio, my showroom and office all together located in one composite unit. Coordination between the design department and the production department is facilitated by the proximity of all units.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
I would not say that I’m paranoid about anything but yes, sometimes I worry about the salaries of my employees. As a startup Founder, one has to be on one’s toes, keep abreast of the latest in art and material usage, and constantly endeavour to create inspiring art without being repetitive. I sleep pretty well and nothing would make me paranoid!
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
I have created a niche for myself and my company. My expertise lies in blending different materials and telling a story through art. I admire other artists and take inspiration from them. There is no room for any negative or competitive feelings. Each artist has their own style and their USP.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
It’s about juggling things around. I do not segregate work and life as separate activities. My WORK is my LIFE! My passion is my work and it allows me to immerse myself in it completely!
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have not raised any funds as we are a self-funded enterprise.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
For me it’s difficult to put myself in any bracket. I don’t know if people have any misconceptions ……. we would have to ask them. I am what I am. The art scene is evolving and there is scope for all types of art to develop. With what I do as an artist, maybe there could be some as people don’t know the depth of our services.
What gets you excited about this company?
What excites me is the idea of reaching out to people who are looking for unique ways to spruce up their spaces and tell their story through art. The sheer number of people we could reach out through an online presence is just awe-inspiring. Our reach now extends to people in every corner of the country and they can shop in the luxury of their homes.
Another aspect that keeps me excited is that we provide a livelihood to so many people (40 ) Unskilled apprentices are sometimes hired and then they are groomed to perfection.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day starts at 5.45 am. I start by putting my thoughts together for the day with regards to meetings and work schedules as I prepare to send my son off to school. 7 am to 8.30 am is my time to send out emails and replies and agenda for the day to my team. 9 am is when I leave for my studio. At the studio, there is always high energy activity and a buzz going on! Be it either design discussions, production detailing or meeting clients. There’s never a dull moment! Most of the days I have site visits or presentations at clients offices. I leave from work around 6.30pm. Once I reach home I have just enough time to walk my dog Choco and by the time by fitness trainer arrives. I enjoy my workouts which I find very stress relieving ! I work out for about an hour and from 9 pm to 11pm is my undisturbed focus time for doing my design and sketching for new projects as during the day at the studio! My day ends at 11pm most of the days.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Most of our employees are through referrals and known people. All of us work together as a team to achieve the end result. My team is my support and we work together as a family.