An attack of polio when she was two left Gunavathy Chandrasekaran with a limp. "I couldn’t walk even a few steps without support."
Gunavathy found solace in simple hand-made art work, especially paper quilling. Today, she is an award-winning micro-entrepreneur from the village of Chinnalapatti in Tamil Nadu's Dindigul district. The variety of products and her craftsmanship awed a number of people, and what started as a passion project soon become a business venture – Guna's Quilling.
In addition to getting in-bound orders, she also began participating in exhibitions of hand-made products. Today, she also retails her products through social media and her e-commerce website. "But, 50 percent of my business comes through WhatsApp referrals and return customers."
Gunavathy began using WhatsApp for her venture about two years ago. Since then, she has been using her profile picture to drive business. "I upload the pictures of my craft work every day as my [profile] picture and that brings me a lot of inquiries. Today, I am able to upload more pictures through Status messages. There have been instances when the images that are uploaded get immediately sold."
"WhatsApp has helped to increase the business by 30 percent"
Gunavathy also leverages the broadcast and group feature to get more orders. "WhatsApp has helped to increase the business by 30 percent," she says.
"We have a turnover of Rs 5 lakh," she says. "Yet, Guna’s Quilling or the quilling craft is not just an income-generating venture for me alone. I want to support women and specially-abled people by helping them learn a craft that will open up possibilities."