Baby photographer: Amrita Samant
Amrita Samant, engineer-turned-photographer, dabbled in various art forms before she found that her heart belonged behind the lens. As she began her journey by clicking pictures of her sister’s twin girls, she realised she could flourish in a unique field – photography of infants. After much struggle, Amrita launched Mommy Shots in the year 2013 but, there was one major obstacle – trust. How would the parents trust the photographer with their newborn? That’s when she began educating her clients on how safe and happy the shoot would be. The first few months were bumpy until Amrita took the initiative to educate new parents. In a matter of 2 to 3 months, she started to receive a lot of inquiries for shoots of all age groups, including newborns that were below the age of 15 days. She says, “I wouldn’t call any part of the process troublesome! I have a lot of patience so am ready for any situation that arises. The best part is that my little humans are naturally very happy – we just have to make sure our process doesn’t trouble them.”
Amrita had even campaigned during the breastfeeding week and the campaign gained a lot of momentum. She says, “It’s been 4-5 years of capturing babies, as a profession, and my soul wanted to do more to help kids in some way. I’ve been restless trying to figure how I can help, given my capacity. So earlier this year, I came across the concept of breast milk donation through a mommy-friend and have since been pursuing the effort to help raise awareness on donating excess breast milk to save babies in the NICU, via my images.” Amrita continues to pursue her art, often working in a cause with her creative genius.
Make ‘em laugh!
Stand-up comedian: Mervyn Rosario
Mervyn Rosario’s journey towards stand-up comedy began at an unlikely point. He entered Loyola College, Chennai, with the dreams of experiencing an MBA classroom. He soon found himself composing excel sheets and roaming around the streets as a sales manager. Life, with its other plans however, steered him away from monthly targets and towards open mics. It wasn’t long before he managed relatable content drawn from real experiences, which gave him a favourable rapport with his audience. Soon, it was ‘Goodbye, salesman job!’ and ‘Hello, comic life.’ He didn’t completely abandon his previous life though; his gigs now used the persona of a formal salesman – attire and all. His best acts today are based on his memories, even failures. In just a couple of years in the field, he has managed to earn opportunities of performing alongside some renowned comedians in the country at various corporate companies. Rosario approaches comedy as a writer, actor, director and a talk show host as well. He is currently touring across the globe with his one-by-two special, “Oru Time Paakalam” alongside a fellow comic and friend, Jagan Krishnan. He has also had the pleasure of hosting the upcoming stand-up comedy show, “Comicstaan Tamil”, produced by Amazon Prime.
Made in Heaven
Founder and chef, Brownie Heaven: Nishant Vijaykumar
With the singular focus on anything and everything to do with brownies, chef Nishant Vijaykumar started Brownie Heaven in Chennai. There are 20 locations now spread across Chennai, Bengaluru and Delhi NCR. Two of the primary reasons he conceptualised and started Brownie Heaven were ‘ Almost Zero Product Wastage’ and ‘non-existence of a product centric brand around brownies’. Being a hospitality graduate and having worked in various hotels and restaurants across the country with his last job as Junior Sous Chef at ITC Hotels, he felt he could channelise all his learnings with his own brand.
What began as a one man company from home, has now grown into a 60 member family in a matter of a little over three years. His ultimate aim is to be the number one player in the Indian market for Brownies across all segments – be it cafes, gifting, HORECA and so on. “When you think brownies, it must be from BROWNIE HEAVEN.” he says. He is now aiming at having an active presence in at least 50 cities in India with a turnover in excess of 100 crores. “In a nutshell, I would like to make this a sustainable, employee friendly business implementing the best practices which in turn will give back to society and environment,” he ends.
From bark to bag
Founder and designer, Arture: Shivani Patel
Shivani Patel is the founder and designer of Arture, a premium eco-friendly lifestyle accessories brand that uses 100% natural (vegan) cork fabrics, from the Mediterranean, to create wallets, handbags, sleeves and travel accessories for both men and women. Their cruelty-free range of products earned them the PETA-approved Vegan certification.
Aside from creating designed accessories, the brand believes in using sustainable materials, ethical production practices and giving back to our planet in every way they can.
Throughout her childhood Shivani grew up looking at her father work in the leather goods export industry. She fell in love with accessories right then, but was thinking about a more sustainable way to venture into fashion. “Why can’t I create something that’s fashionable, practical, cruelty-free and eco-friendly, all at the same time? – I thought that this was a valid point, and looked at it as a challenge.” says the 27-year-old entrepreneur.
After graduating in Design with a specialisation in Footwear and Leather Goods, from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai, she launched her own company in 2015. While most people associate cork with the stoppers used to on wine bottles, the brand uses the same raw material to make fashionable accessories.
Shivani hopes to extend her brand’s product line and experiment with other sustainable fabrics and materials by reducing the carbon footprint fashion leaves behind.