Gold has never been a king in Sunitha Hansar’s jewel box, although she loved wearing ornaments. Perhaps that’s the reason why she chose an unlikely raw material for her ornament making: coconut fiber.
Born and brought up in the land of coir, Alappuzha, Sunitha’s love affair with coconut fiber dates back to her school days. She would adoringly watch her friends make simple ornaments using coconut fiber. Sometimes, she would offer to help them too. The girls would sell their small collection to local shopkeepers for a small sum.
For the girls, it was more like a part time job to support their studies. But Sunitha took it a step further and practiced it to perfection through a friend.
Once she got married, her experiments were encouraged by her husband and he tried to market them in his textile shop. However, the business soon closed down because people took those for free. “They were not ready to pay for something as 'cheap' as coconut fibre. None paid any regard to the amount of hard work that went into its making,” says Sunitha.
However, she had a second chance when she showed her collection to some foreigners, who bought it for a fair price. Soon, her business picked up pace. Sunitha does not go around trying to sell her ornaments. People who know its worth come to her for purchasing them.
“These ornaments are long lasting and they won’t get damaged even after years of use. They can be restored to their original colour with some lime juice or one can opt to keep them as antique ornaments,” says Sunitha.
Sunitha can be contacted at 9947700701
(In arrangement with the Karshakasree)