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DIFFERENT SHAPES, DIFFERENT HUES

A chance encounter at a stationery shop has opened the magical world of quilling to Hazel Tony, who was then a student in Thrissur. Over the years, she has made her passion into a business model and she is all set to open an online store. A banker now in Pune, Hazel tells Team Fayz how she balances her busy work-life and passion/business.

Want to know more about her quilling business or for orders, visit her instagram handle: @hazld_quills

shruthy_cake_doll_20190708084120
shruthy_cake_20190708084120

What was your first quilling experiment?

It was quite a strange and unexpected introduction for me to the world of quilling and papers altogether. I came across quilling strips when I went to an art and craft store to buy materials to make a DIY birthday card for my friend. In the store I saw a crowd checking out strips of different coloured papers. Since I had no idea then what it was, I asked the shopkeeper and and he had the most simplest answer - quilling papers. I immediately googled and found different artworks by different artists which left me mesmerized. How could someone create those beautiful pieces of artwork from such small strips!? I was so curious and keen to try this craft form to see what I can do with it.

So what did you do next?

I went again to the same store and took home with a bunch of colourful paper strips. Frankly, I had no idea what and how to use this and so I rolled these strips to coils using safety pins, toothpick and pen refills to make circular shapes and put together to make a heart shape out of it and gave it as a birthday card to my friend. That’s how the whole story began.

Did your parents know what you were doing or did they spot the talent?

I would not say my parents recognised the talent, but they have been very much supportive of me, trying and figuring out my own things. As I mentioned, it was an unexpected introduction for me to quilling while I was in college back in 2013. Unlike other crafts I was acquainted of, this stayed with me and will stay with me for the years to come.

When did you realise that quilling can be a business option?

Back in 2015, when I moved to Bangalore for my first job with an MNC, my friends saw the pictures of the ‘quilled’ birthday cards which I made when I was in college and they found it interesting. Their curiosity and queries induced a sense of motivation in me to push myself and make more artwork for my friends as a gift. Slowly I started making wall frames out of artworks and one of my colleagues who saw my artwork gave me the first official paid gig. There was no looking back then and my friends brainstormed with me on how to take it to the next level. Thus the brand “Hazld” came into existence.

shruthy_cake_doll_20190708084120
shruthy_cake_20190708084120

How did you build the brand then?

Another major milestone was a flea market in Kochi where I got a lot of appreciation and feedback first-hand from people who came to my little store which I put with another artist friend of mine. Even though the event was a loss for me in terms of financial aspects, it was a big learning experience in understanding potential customers and the customised craft gifts market.

Since you are a banker, how tough is to balance between work and passion?

[Huh! Sigh]. At the beginning it wasn’t that hectic as I was working on my own projects and learning and improving my skills. I started taking orders from clients after I moved to Pune to work with Deutsche Bank back in 2017. In Pune I fixed a routine where I spent all my weekends working on orders and getting it framed, packing it and shipping it to clients, while weekdays are for office. It used to be a tedious task to keep myself organised to balance both my day job and quilling, but looking back now, quilling has helped me big time improve my personality primarily around patience and discipline. Which eventually helped me balance my day job and quilling and find harmony in them.

Do you have plans to take it online? How has the business been?

Not a definitive answer, but I am exploring the possibilities of setting up my online store by partnering with Etsy India. I majorly receive a steady amount of customised requests through my instagram handle “@hazld_quills”.

What has been the most-selling item?

My forte has been around typography, so the majority of the work I sold are around customised name frames as wedding and birthday gifts. In the initial days, I used to sell a lot of 3D quilled pieces such as dolls and minions etc.

shruthy_cake_doll_20190708084120
shruthy_cake_20190708084120
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