The pandemic is taking a toll on humans around the world. So it is indeed encouraging to know that this downtime has given many the free time and will to pick up a hobby or start a home venture. Reading about, or talking to such enterprising folks, has given me ample reasons to see the silver lining during this time of gloom. I hope these stories will inspire you too.
Very recently, I came across a hobby venture by two sisters Nulevino and Vitsino from Kohima called ‘Ira Homespun.’ These soft-spoken and talented siblings create all sorts of handmade goodies – from embroidered tote bags, to wall pieces to crochet dolls and pretty face masks – with their signature aesthetic of cute. I had a chat with them to know more about what they do full-time, how they picked up their talent (apparently they have a creative mom who has taught them most of their crafts), their future plans, and more. Scroll below to know more about the talented Iralu Sisters and their hobby venture ‘Ira Homespun’.
Sisters Nulevino (L) and Vitsino (R) – Creative Minds and Hands Behind ‘Ira Homespun’ from Nagaland
Menule: Hello, please introduce yourselves 🙂
We are two sisters Nulevino and Vitsino from Kohima, creators of ‘Ira Homespun.’
Nulevino: Hi I’m Nulevino Iralu, a 20-year-old from Kohima, currently pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from SASRD, Medziphema Nagaland. I love doing embroidery and all the embroidery crafts of ‘Ira Homespun’s are done by me.
Vitsino: Hi, my name is Vitsino Iralu. I’m a 24-year-old from Kohima and I recently completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics.I make the crochet stuff (dolls and others) for ‘Ira Homespun.’
Embroidery by Nulevino ‘Ira Homespun’
Embroidery by Vitsino ‘Ira Homespun’
Menule: How would your friends describe you both individually?
Nulevino: I think my friends would probably describe me as someone who is outgoing and a total ‘coffeeholic’; I am known for my love of coffee.
Vitsino: My friends would probably describe me as someone who’s usually quiet and reserved, with the few occasional bursts of chatter.
Menule: I am in awe of your creations at ‘Ira Homespun.’ Tell me more about your work, and how it all started.
Nulevino and Vitsino: Back in March of 2020, during the COVID lockdown, both of us decided to use the free time we had to try to learn a new skill. Around the same time, Instagram business pages were starting to gain popularity as well. So we decided to give it a go and started Ira Homespun. The response we received as well as the support of our family and friends was overwhelming, and it is what has kept us going.
Our mom has been a great inspiration for us. She loves to stitch and is the one who’s behind all the carefully tailored items. She has always encouraged us to earn our own pocket money using our hobbies. She also suggested that we try selling some of our works.
Embroidered Tote Bag by ‘Ira Homespun’
Menule: Tell us about your firsts – which in a way opened your way to your love for handcrafted items. What were the first things you guys made? Did you sell it?
Nulevino: The first thing I tried making was simple embroidery for a pouch that my mom had stitched. It led me to the start of my love for embroidery.
Vitsino: My first project was a teddy bear that honestly looked nothing like one. It ended up going with my sister when she left for the hostel.
Embroidered pouch by Ira Homespun
Menule: How do you manage your time for ‘Ira Homespun’ along with your other commitments (as students). How many hours in a day do you spend on your craft activities?
Nulevino and Vitsino: On average, spend 4 to 6 hours a day on our hobbies. Our initial days of starting this small business began with working at any free time of the day or skipping few hours of sleep at night just to complete the orders. But it proved to be unhealthy and very stressful, so we decided it best to work (on our orders) at night after all our other work and online classes are done. At the same time, we are trying our best to stop skipping sleep for work. So we find ourselves working on our orders during the day, whenever we are free. So you see, we are still figuring out in terms of managing our time to find a workable balance between work and academics.
Crochet bunny by ‘Ira Homespun’
Embroidered wall art by ‘Ira Homespun’
Menule: Juggling academic coursework and running a business page may take a toll on your mental health as well. If you are having a bad day, how you deal with it/make it better?
Nulevino and Vitsino: Having a warm drink, like coffee, or watching a show helps us in chasing the blues away. We can’t always have good days, so when we have bad days we make sure to take good rest and to clear our minds.
Menule: Yes indeed! We should give ample time to ourselves to relax and unwind as well. Do you have any role models or someone who inspires you every day?
Nulevino and Vitsino: Our parents are our role models; they have always been supportive of us and our venture. But when it comes to our creative journey, it has to be our mom.
Our mom has taught us by example, to use our hands and creativity to make crafts. She also encouraged us to earn our own pocket money through our handmade creations. Basically, everything! She got us started when we were as young as 8-9 years old, by giving us wool and knitting sticks to practice; then we would make small rags with a ton of holes 😀 that our aunts would buy from us for 5-10 rupees to use as dishwashing scrubbers.
As we got older, she taught us how to press flowers and dry them to make Christmas cards, which were once again bought by our aunts. She taught us the basics of baking when we were around 13-14 years and encouraged us to learn from new recipes, helping us to adjust the recipes whenever we messed up. Mom has always encouraged us to learn new things and taught us the basics of a lot of it herself. So we’re always thankful to her for helping us in setting the stepping stones in our creative journey!
Russian Honey Cake by Ira Homespun
Menule: We all have that one piece of advice that we hold on to. What’s the best piece of advice you have received – and from whom?
Nulevino and Vitsino: The best piece of advice we’ve received would have to be from our Mom. She has always told us to value quality over quantity, and that has not failed us till now.
Menule: Share your favorite afternoon/midnight snack recipe.
Nulevino and Vitsino: We don’t really have any particular recipes, but noodles would definitely be one of our all-time favorites. We can’t say no to noodles, a good bowl of noodles is our ultimate comfort food!
Menule: Before we wrap up can you tell us your goals for the year 2021?
Nulevino and Vitsino: We hope to be able to introduce new additions to our works and continue to make items that are personalized and made with care for our clients.
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