They say your sibling would always be your first best friend — no matter what, they will always get your back!
When a dear friend of mine shared a post with me on Instagram quoting “do chukti Sanskaar, society anusaar!”, I was compelled to check the entire profile!
What followed was a series of some rebellious and satirical posts displaying few amazing customised products and heartfelt words. The brain behind this intriguing profile is an ecstatic and empathetic woman who wish to change the society with her arts and words.
Her sister, on the other hand, is an emotive craft maker who finds joy in small unwanted things and converts them into beautiful art pieces. Oh, and she loves poetries more than her desserts!
This story is about two sisters — Noopur Mishra & Neha Mishra — who dared to leave their cushy jobs to do what they love and change how society looks at others’ through their art venture.
Noopur & Neha were born in Punjab and were brought up in different parts of the country — being army kids they were pro at settling down at new places and making new friends. They belonged to a disciplined but independent life and were always taught to follow their hearts.
Noopur Mishra, a NIFT Chennai graduate, has spent most of her life in Punjab, Hyderabad, Assam, and Gujarat and started her career as a Visual Designer in 2016 with Landmark Group.
She always loved writing stories/ poems on situations revolving around her. Two years back when she left her job to pursue her love for stories-making, she landed on another job in Chennai — which took her back to her college days, and she met several people who inspired her to do what she loved. And again, she quitted her job, went back to her parents’ place for a leap.
“During this time, I got back at doodling and drawing and realised that this is what I loved the most. I did it more, learnt digital illustration via YouTube, and started using my Instagram profile to put my artwork with my words and stories; and that’s how ‘Drapes & Thoughts’ was born. One of my artworks got really popular and hit the audience too hard, and few people pinged me asking if I can print those and give it to them. That’s when the idea of starting this venture came to my mind. I started putting all my artwork on different products, and people were kind enough to show so much love for that,” says the 28YO digital artist.
Most of Noopur’s works are statement products which address and stand against societal issues, “I started off with less investment as I wasn’t sure how well would it go, but now that the response is great, I plan to scale it up even more. This venture taught me that one won’t know the outcome until s/he don’t start — eventually, you learn on the way!”
“As an artist,” Noopur says “one must responsibly use their voice and art for things that matter. Society needs more artists who can enlighten people through their art and people, at the same time, should understand that artistry is not some fancy job or hobby — it pays our bills, and it takes a part of ours every time we end up creating something new!”
Noopur urges other aspiring artists to ignore chaar logon ki baatein and follow their heart, to keep creating and never stop being original. She believes that learning is a lifestyle which improves over time — just like her sister, Neha, who always thought of herself an average student but ended up in one of the best demanding industries.
“I was never a brilliant child, but always wished to do something different from the crowd. Challenged fascinated me, and it was only my tenth board exams when I became conscious of my studies and career. I somehow scored well and went on to complete my engineering in Automobiles. I always aspired to join the Indian Air Force but couldn’t clear the interviews and hence landed in Mahindra & Mahindra Automobile as GAT (sales & marketing)”, Neha Mishra shares.
While working with M&M, she realised that she didn’t complete her engineering to work into marketing domain. “I wanted something real — which could keep me closer to the production lines but back then, girls were rarely seen into production plants, and I quit M&M,” says the lady who has performed poetry in more than 100 events and published a book on Kindle.
“I have always been a stage person since childhood, so I did my masters in event management and went on handling several small & big events, fashion shows, destination weddings, launch events, literature fests, corporate events etc. I joined marketing agencies and kept working, and between all this, I never stopped attempting for the Indian Armed Forces. I tried until my last attempt, and I’m glad that I never gave up. I kept doing open mic events and poetries until I got married. And even after that, I continued doing art and craft in my leisure time. I used to take small orders from friends and family for customised gifts, and it was then that my family and in-laws convinced me to start something of my own,” says the founder of Atrang Art which specialises in sustainable and customised gifting.
People these days spend a lot of money on buying gifts for their loved ones, but Neha believes that a gift is worthless unless you invest a bit of your time and heart into it. “I focus more on customised gifts/ products so it can have a personal touch,” she continues. Patience and practice is indeed a huge investment, according to her. “I prefer sending out a product that speaks quality, and hence the raw material cost is huge for me. The profit hugely depends on the final product and the agreed cost by the customer as people negotiate a lot when it comes to handmade products,” Neha shares that she learnt a lesson that no matter what, one must be firm about products’ pricings and be confident their quality & USP.
She later to plans to open her own studio with handcrafted products. In the end, she says that one must not stop due to age/ condition/ situation. “People told me that marriage would change my life, yes it did but in a better way. I’m more confident and strong now,” she concludes.
The duo believes that the biggest challenge for artists these days is recognition. People don’t really value handmade products and find the costings too high — they fail to see the hard work and precision behind it. But despite all, they encourage to do that really makes you happy from within.
Life is all about learning and unlearning and for that every experience matters. So keep moving!
This amazing sister duo has turned their passion into a profession and is doing some amazing work out there. Share your love and support them. You can find Drapes & Thoughts and Atrang Art on Instagram. Click here to read more stories from our #PassionToProfession series.