Sunday, March 09, 2014

Buy Handmade vol 98 and GIVEAWAY!!

This week we head to India..

Name: Misha Gurnanee Gudibanda
Age: 33
Occupation: Graphic Designer; Creative Director at Sky Design, Mumbai, and Creative Director at Sky Goodies, Mumbai.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a Graphic Designer by profession. Along with my husband and partner, Amit, I run a design firm called Sky Design in Mumbai, India. We have a team of 9, and a homely informal and rather chaotic office in a rare quiet and green corner of Mumbai. We have a daughter who is almost 5 years old, who comes to office to play with the toys we create and to add to the chaos. I have a huge love for color and paper; both came together to create ‘Sky Goodies’.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
To start with, I would just like to mention that I am not the sole creator of the Sky Goodies products. I am part of a team of 4 lovely, talented and slightly mad people with fidgety fingers. 

Personally, I have been making paper models and crafts since childhood. As a team, we had been working on very serious and large client and corporate projects for the past 7 years. In September 2013 we were taking a short break and we started making some paper toys and calendars. We published these on our Etsy shop in September 2013. We got a great response, so we continued making more paper toys. In all it has been just 6 months of selling on Etsy. 

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
‘Sky Design’ is the brand established by my husband and partner, Amit Gudibanda, and I, in 2006 ( Later, when we wanted to create our own intellectual property, we decided to carry forward the legacy of Sky Design into the new company, by using ‘Sky’ in the name. 
‘Goodies’ refers to the nature of the products we want to make; just delicious fun stuff for all ages to enjoy. ‘Goodies’ is also a pun on our surname ‘Gudibanda’, as my husband and I are called ‘the Goodies’ by our friends. 

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? 
Not yet. 

If not, would you like it to be?
Yes, we are working towards it becoming half our job. The other half of our time is devoted to making and publishing video games. This is also a new venture, and Amit’s life-long dream, and our first game will be hitting the iTunes and Google stores in a few months. 

How would you describe your creative process?
Normally for design projects, we follow a strict process. But for the Sky Goodies products, it is more of an explorative process. We have brainstorming sessions to discuss ideas, but more often than not, ideas are triggered by an image or a view or a random conversation, rather than a discussion. We put together our ideas, and shortlist ones which would fit into our brand and qualify as ‘goodies’. Then we start executing ideas. Sometimes it can be a quick process to turn an idea into a finished product. For some products, we explore many alternatives till we arrive at the best solution. 

(the development of a geometric paper easter egg.) 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
The biggest inspiration for us is the country and city we live in, which is full of color, traditional and pop art and patterns. Some of our products are decorated with Indian Pop / Street Art style graphics. We had been documenting the vanishing art of hand-painted trucks in India for the past few years, just for ourselves. A lot of the colors, textures and patterns are derived from this art form. 

Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 
We have just finished mass-publishing all the paper toys, in the form of pre-printed, pre-creased and pre-cut ready-to-assemble kits. We have applied to some exhibitions in India and will be starting to tour exhibitions with our products very soon. These will soon also be available on

What is your most cherished handmade item?
My personal favorite from our shop is the Colorful Typewriter Calendar. I love charming old vintage objects. I spent a large part of my childhood hammering away on an old typewriter in my father’s office. I wish I could have a typewriter sitting on my desk, but sadly typewriters are not so useful any more. So this Typewriter Desk Calendar is a good alternative and it makes me smile. The Typewriter Calendars also became the best-selling products in our shop, and were featured by the Etsy blog,, among others. 

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I like to go on road trips with my husband and daughter. We love exploring new places. We love the outdoors, especially cooking outdoors, even in the midst of rain. As a teenager I went for many treks in the Himalayas, and hope to be able to go again soon, when my daughter is a little older. 

I love singing and reading. My favorite books are children’s stories; I love their innocence and imagination. 

I also spend a lot of time as a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism; as part of this practice I love meeting people and sharing our experiences and struggles. 

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
Yes, strangely, my only ambition for most of my life was to be a pilot in the navy. I wanted to fly, spend a lot of time outdoors, and I wanted to serve my country. But fate had other things in store, and I am not complaining at all! I was too short to become a pilot, so I chose design school instead, as art was my other passion.

Five years from now you will be…
Very rich! 
Jokes apart, I want to be able to really contribute to society. Make a difference in some small way. I have started working towards this, and in 5 years I hope I can look back with some satisfaction.

Describe yourself in five words:

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your iPad and Bose, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
‘Windmills of your mind’ by Noel Harrison (soundtrack of the Thomas Crown Affair)
‘Elderly woman behind a counter in a small town’ by Pearl Jam
‘Moment of surrender’ by U2
‘The scientist’ by Coldplay
‘I’ll take the rain’ by REM

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Do what you love. 

In Etsy, my experience has been that the more one interacts with the community by creating treasury lists, viewing other people’s work and appreciating it, participating in teams, etc, the more traffic comes to your page. 

Creating a continuity in products and brand image is also important.

With Spring right around the corner, Misha would like to give one lucky reader a set of three flower pots!

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