This 90 year old entrepreneur is making waves with her potli bags - upcycled and handcrafted with love

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If you find it hard to inspire yourself, then here's a story that's going to do the trick! Meet Latika Chakravorty, a grandmother who became an entrepreneur at the age of 89 with the support of her family. Her incredible story will inspire you to find your passion no matter what your age is. 

And that’s not it, she will also remind you that age is just a number and how old or young you are shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want to do.

She was born about 90 years ago in Dhubri, Assam. She was married to Krishna Lal Chakravorty, an Indian Survey Officer, and after her husband died, she lived with her son, Capt Raj Chakravorty, an Indian Naval Officer. This guided her to a life of travel. On her trip through the length and breadth of India, she found some stunning saris, kurtas, and assorted pieces of clothing, each with its own special story. And these very pieces have been handcrafted into one-of-a-kind handbags by her.

She's always loved sewing and designing new items from old. And she's now focussing her energy on designing and making handbags or potlis using her natural creativity and 64-year-old sewing skills.

So how did the business start? "Around four or five years ago, once my daughter-in-law Sumita asked me to create a potli bag which matches her suit. Suddenly, I found that I had a natural talent for making bags. That's how my bag-making started," Chakravorty says.

Then she started making potli bags, much loved by friends and family, and started giving it to people she knew and loved on birthdays and special occasions.

Chakravorty would not have begun her venture, had it not been for the support she received from her family, especially her grandchildren. In fact, her story is an inspiration that many families of professional and talented seniors should pursue, not only to utilise their skills but also to protect their heritage.

 

"Thanks to my grandson, Joy who is largely responsible for my business venture to kickstart. He saw me working on a potli bag when he was on a visit from Germany last month, and he thought I should have an online presence. He also created the website. Later, my grand-daughter Priyanka and Joy shared the message through social media, Facebook, FB and Instagram. Rana, who is my grandchild living in Auckland, New Zealand, was my first client” she recollects.

With creativity running in her blood, it's no surprise that she had zero reservations about going into business at the age of 89. Surprisingly, the energetic senior seems to have been looking forward to it, with her family.

‘’In fact, unlike most of us who can only work out a design after we have all the materials with us, she can look at a piece of fabric and immediately form a design in her mind," says Capt (retd.) Raj Chakravorty, Latika's son. Because of her age and the fact that she does this out of passion, Chakravorty is not aiming for a big rush in orders. However, she has her share of customers and admirers, who visit her regularly, and she often features them on her Instagram profile.

"Most of my orders come from my family and friends who have settled abroad, or from my grandson's friends who live abroad. We had to cancel certain orders from overseas because it was too expensive to send them by courier. It's a new business, but revenues are steadily rising. Often people come home and buy stuff. But much of the time, I am pursuing this project because of my legacy to leave behind for the future generations."

Many of the raw material she uses are exquisite saris, kurtas, and diverse items of clothes, each with its own special story. And, in many ways, her family feels that each of Chakravorty's bags tells the tale of a particular time and place in India.

 

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