Sneha Prabeen’s business venture — ‘Yuvanta’ — is no lockdown baby; it is stemmed from her love for beads and her desire to explore her creative side. This Kochi-based entrepreneur and jewellery designer recently launched a campaign— ‘show your straps’ that encourages girls/women to show their bra straps and not be ashamed or apologetic about it. Every woman, including Sneha, sometime in her lifetime has been told at least once to adjust or hide their bra straps. So this entrepreneur decided to make bra straps look dressy enough to be flaunted. Sneha’s dislike for plastic straps pushed her to explore options that came with style and comfort. She was sure that the straps she makes won’t be beads stitched to elastic.
Sneha started her journey as a sand bead jewellery maker when she decided to take a break from her studies for a year before proceeding for her post-graduation. She called it Yuvanta Sneha says, “I picked up lots of sand beads and made basic jewellery like anklets and bracelets, bookmarks etc. I love beads so I wanted to learn a craft and I chose jewellery making with sand beads. I gifted them to friends and family members but they are not the right people to look for feedback, especially if they are always supportive of what you do. To see if my works are of any worth, I joined a fete in 2014 where I sat with a very small collection. To my surprise, all my beaded trinkets were sold out. But I knew they were very ordinary. I didn’t have a technique or the skill to turn it into a business, nor did I know about the best accessories to use to make my jewellery sturdy.” After a year-long break, Sneha went on to complete her MBA. After that, she sat her family down for a presentation. She elaborates, “I made a proper business pitch to my family, to explain why I don’t want to go for placement and instead, take Yuvanta forward. Convincing them was not as hard as making a business pitch to an investor, but I wanted this pressure to improve my work. In the meantime, I heard about Sunday Soul Sante in Bengaluru and went for it.”
At the Sante, she not only got a good response for her products, but she also met Madhavi, a bead jewellery expert who helped clear Sneha’s doubts but also taught her about technique, and selection of material and beads. “I visited Madhavi over three months and learnt a lot from her. After that my craft and quality improved considerably. I knew what to select and what not to. This made me confident enough to make bra straps for myself. I wanted to make something that will be appealing and yet not eat into the skin. I got enquiries through the exhibitions and I started creating a few more while making mine. The beads I use are smooth handmade glass beads which I personally pick from the craftsmen in Delhi and UP,” informs Sneha.
She adds. “I took a long time to work on the materials of beads and the thread used. I used a very strong thread that will not break when stretched and the beads are sturdy and durable until they are dropped on the ground. To avoid bleaching of coloured beads into the skin we started incorporating colour while making the beads. So, we do not have to dye them on on the surface.”
To her surprise, an international lingerie brand reached out to her and placed an order. Even though Sneha was not ready with the manpower to meet the order, she took up the challenge. She agreed to fulfil the order and insisted it be a collaboration. “I didn’t want to sell my idea to any brand. It is my baby and I am fiercely possessive and protective about it. Eventually, I met the orders and it was a successful collaboration.”
On showing straps
“The taboo on a bra strap showing is annoying. Why is a piece of clothing that is a necessity a shame? If someone is wearing a bra, it will have a strap, so why do we need to be ashamed or apologetic about it? Some women aren’t comfortable with a strapless bra, they need that support. So, I thought of accessorising it and making it as a part of one’s dressing. Women have written back, thanking me for the idea and enabling them to wear dresses with a lot of confidence along with style.”