Meet young Mitali, the artist behind the venture Flutterby Ink. She enjoys creating customised wall deco, photo grids, party deco and many other masterpieces - all at an affordable range of prices with a touch of uniqueness. Her creations make great gifts you could present to a loved one to see their smile grow.
We caught up with her for a chat.
1. How did you stumble upon this great idea?
I've always felt like art was my happy place. It’s my place of tranquility and creating art is something I truly enjoy doing since I was young.
Flutterby Ink. or being an entrepreneur was never a part of the plan when I was growing up. I had a very different plan from the time that I was a little girl and I was so focused on it that I never thought that I would need a backup plan, in case it never worked out.
The idea for Flutterby Ink. didn’t just come up one day when I was sulking at home over where I was in my life. It began when I created something for myself. I had an idea in my head for something I would like to have in my room and that’s all that it was. Something I created for myself! I was surprised with the feedback I received when my friends saw it and started asking me if I could make something for them as well. This was when I realised that I could turn my hobby into something more.
2. Why the name Flutterby Ink.?
When I decided to start with Flutterby Ink., the only people that I confided in and introduced the idea to were my parents and my best friend. All the initial pieces that I was creating were butterfly themed and when my best friend and I were brainstorming ideas on what I should name the start-up, his play on the word butterfly was flutterby. Our first attempt at a real name was Flutterby Inc. and even though I liked it, it just felt like we weren’t there yet. A few suggestions later inc. was Ink. and Flutterby Ink. was born in March 2015.
3. When was the plan put into action?
With Flutterby Ink. the plan was made along the way. My first actual order was just an enquiry I received on facebook asking me whether I take orders after I posted up a personal piece and this is what got Flutterby Ink. going. This was something new, it’s not an idea that I copied off social media or a venture that I've planned out in my head. I didn’t know how to get my business off the ground and where I am now does include a lot of trial and error. One of the few people that have been a key part of Flutterby Ink. for me would be my teacher Miss Apsara, she’s someone who’s supported me from day one, guided, coached and just been my all round super mentor throughout the process.
4. How did you gather your following?
Social media and the good old fashioned grapevine. Facebook and Instagram have been the biggest platforms for Flutterby Ink. since the beginning and the reach that it has provided me with is phenomenal. Even with social media there are certain tricks and tips that you pick up that help with your following and for me this was purely based on experience and my enthusiasm in building up a loyal fan base that actually comes back for more.
5. What inspires you and how many hours do you put in regularly to ensure that clients receive their orders on time?
The inspiration for most of the concepts is from designs that I want for myself. Each piece I create is handcrafted and custom made based on the vision that the client has in mind. Everyone has a creative spark in them and the custom designs that I make are an extension of just that. When I started out I focused a lot on the canvas 3D art. I was using cardboard butterflies and mini circles and each detail was hand crafted and I would spend a minimum of a day or two on each piece. Later on somewhere a year into Flutterby Ink., I decided that I wanted a photo wall up in my room but was astonished by how much it would cost to put up my memories on a wall. While I contemplated on which organ would fetch me the highest dollar to fund my new photo wall I came up with the concept of the mini cardboard frames which I received an overwhelming response for.
At Flutterby Ink., I try to keep it as personal as possible. When I take on an order I always make it an interactive process. This isn’t about just meeting deadlines or doing as many orders as possible, I will never see what I do in that light. It’s always going to be a two way street and feedback or criticism helps me create exactly what the client wants.
6. What do you believe in as a creative entrepreneur?
My theory here is quite simple; you need to be passionate about what you do. If you’re starting up something from scratch you need to be ready to put in the hours and you need to be prepared to fail before you succeed. For me when I started this out, I was extremely nervous about putting my creations out on social media. Why would anyone buy something I made? What makes me stand out from the rest? I’m just a girl next door and there were plenty of doubts in my mind, but we’re human and venturing out into the unknown will always be scary. The encouragement I had from my family and friends helped me push through and take a leap of faith that eventually paid off. Another main factor for anyone starting out is that you need to stay relevant but also go with your instincts. Do things that you love so that you will never have to work a day in your life.
7. How can anyone reach you?
Flutterby Ink. is based on Instagram and Facebook where you can send me a message on either of those platforms and place your orders. It's mainly based on personalised decor, photo frames or even my new venture which is personalised party decor.
Would I buy it? When it comes to pricing, I try to look at it from the client's perspective; it needs to be in a price range that I would pull my wallet out for instead of a ‘I will come back later’. As all my custom orders are handmade and crafted, I do take a couple of days to finalise the design and it takes roughly around 4 to 7 days depending on the orders I have in hand as well. Currently I don't deliver but clients can pick their orders up from Rajagiriya.
By Eshani Seneviratne