We represent our name ‘Samoolam’ = ‘collective origins’.
We believe in 'giving back to the roots.’
We connect souls using the art of crochet.
We make hearty products dancing with love.
We empower over 130 rural women artisans.
We create 1000-watt smiles as part of our ‘profit’.
Working her way up from a humble background in Bihar (India), starting a business in her early twenties, and balancing work-life across countries, Usha Prajapati-Varia, a social entrepreneur, is an inspiration to many in the world of Indian craft and design. With over 15 years of experience, Usha’s clear mind loves creating sustainable enterprises in rural India and taking them to the world. Her belief is ‘giving back to the roots’ philosophy using compassionate leadership skills. Usha is a Textile Design Graduate from NID (Ahmedabad, India), International Development & Social Change Master from Clark University (USA) and Ford Foundation International Fellow. Besides Samoolam (which empowers over 100 women in Gaya, Bihar, India), her son and family fill her life.
Co-Founder, Business Head, Samoolam
Rupinder Kaur (a.k.a. Renee) believes a) when love meets design change happens. But it has to be purposeful b) women empowerment combined with social design practices are key to bringing about this revolution. As an independent communication and graphic design specialist running a boutique design studio - Daalcheeni, Renee speaks an Indian visual language. Her connection with Samoolam is personal given she was born in Bihar. Contributing to the brand’s ‘giving back to the roots’ philosophy is her way of contributing to the community. Besides working on impactful projects, Renee, under-grad design and an alumnus of NIFT, loves sketching, eating out and travelling. In the past she was Assistant Professor at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi.
Sathya Bhavana Datta
With a mixed nativity, Bhavana loves everything Indian, handmade and old-world. An earthy and nomadic common link keeps her close to Samoolam’s storytelling. As Fashion Editor (formerly with Femina, lifestyle magazine with Times of India/BBC Magazines), she now consults through her Indian Slow & Spiritual Fashion Research Lab. Her other projects include 300+ articles for digital and print publications, content for 15+ brands, and 20+ academic modules for design institutes. Bhavana is an alumnus of NIIFT (fashion design), NIFT (fashion journalism) and Mysore University (masters in communication). Apart from #rephilosophy, sketching, Yoga, Ayurveda, Origami, pottery and snakes keep her sane. After being bitten three times by the reptiles, she wishes she was a Parselmouth!
Founder, Ruchi Bhakoo Designs
An innate sense of seeing everyday-ness with awe drives Ruchi. One can spot it in her artwork that tells mundane stories with a philosophical angle. But when the same aesthetic is married to artistic precision, it becomes dreamy clothing under her atelier Ruchi Bhakoo Designs. Ruchi has been designing for the last 15 years and her clientele cuts across culture barriers. They all love well-made clothes, which they blindly trust her with. She now calls herself a Revivalist who loves to restore heritage textiles with care. In the past Ruchi has studied design (NIIFT) and worked in the realm of garment exports, where she has churned out thousands of orders. When not playing with colours or fabrics, she enjoys close-knit socialising and spending time with her family.
Project Leader, Gaya
Guiding and handling a team of 100 rural women artisans, scattered across local villages and areas, in batches, is not an easy job. And that too with all their socio-economic challenges in place. Amit seamlessly manages this task, and then some more. Although educated in Chemistry, his project management skills, leadership talent and managerial acumen shine through. There is nothing at Samoolam’s functioning at Gaya that misses Amit’s eyes. If and when he has some time, playing or watching cricket consumes those phases.
Crochet Guide, Gaya
Fondly called AnjuJi, she has been with the design team from the beginning, which is over a decade. Every crochet product and project go through the lens of her keen eye for detail. She, as an artisan herself, chaperons Samoolam’s growing team of younger and new artisans with Total, Love and Care (TLC). Once a fledgling rural woman artisan is taken under her experienced wing, she makes sure the lady flies with and flaunts all her creative glory — cushioned by skill, confidence and economic power.
Stock In-Charge, New Delhi
So-called little and unseen backend jobs push a system or a business to growth. Samoolam’s is largely supported by Rubi on a regular basis. Making sure crochet stock is organised and production is streamlined is one of her many responsibilities. Along with professional work she is studying at Delhi University to graduate in Political Science. This ‘Dilli Ki Ladki’ (Delhi girl) enjoys listening to music and surfing the Net for interesting news in her free time.
Raw Material Coordinator, Gaya
She handles crochet raw materials and production for Samoolam with focus. She also does all the activities with artisans to make sure pretty crochet products are delivered in time. Born and brough up in Gaya (Bihar), loves cooking, embroidery and picking up any new skills that can add to her personality. Educated till 10th Grade, Pretty is a quick learner and a dedicated soul.
Quality Controller, Gaya
For years Samoolam products have maintained their rawness yet their handmade quality thanks to controllers like Chanda Devi. Her life revolves around looking for blatant flaws that can affect the assembly line at Samoolam. After her high schooling (12th Grade), Chanda, from Gaya, went on to earning for her family. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, reading and embroidering. A simple lady with a keen-eye-for-detail brain.
Stock Coordinator, Gaya
We believe certificates sometimes do not do justice to the innate professional quality someone has. Kanta Devi is a case in point. Although she has studied till 9th Grade, her material and production management skills, like of the other rural women artisans at Samoolam, are par excellence. Music and embroidery destress her and keep her going.