Shree Baladia Leva Patel

Sarvodal (UK)

'More than just a competition winner'
by Sunita Kerai

As many of us know, from Sunita Kerai’s countless creative entries to the annual Diwali competition over the years and not to mention the many first prize accolades she has taken home, she exuberates creative talent.

In recent years, she has driven this creativity into a venture that has seen her unique one-off hair pieces not only being showcased at a wedding hall near you, but in Dubai!

What started as a personal hobby some years ago, when she realised after the umpteenth time of someone asking her, ‘Wow! Where did you get that stunning hairpiece?’ that there was a niche in the market that she could not only satisfy, but at the same time continue to enjoy what she loved as a hobby, she decided to see where her hobby could take her!

Initially, she did some pieces for a wedding package that was being sold by her husband in Dubai. As we all know, Dubai once was and in some cases still is a city that loves all things that sparkle. This was nothing short of the truth when Sunita’s creations shimmered under the Arabic sun. On the back of that wedding she got commissioned to create 30 pieces all for shipment to Dubai. It was a blur of beads and wire and most of all a platform for her to create and develop original one off designs in an array of colours.

So what initially started as a hobby soon fast tracked into what seemed to be a wholesale empire. Sunita had to improvise and learn fast how to tackle this, particularly since the time taken for each beautifully crafted piece often exceeds 2 hours and since the prices are more than reasonable for what could be considered a bespoke piece of art, buying beads and wires from the local high street retailers was not cost effective. Sunita was learning fast; upgrading from using ready made components and establishing how to create them at home using the raw materials.

Sourcing the beads also led her back to her roots fused with a little twenty first century technology! She managed to find a small back alley shop in neighbour to Baladia, Kera in Kutch that sourced the beads at far more reasonable prices. She then complimented this with locally sourced products, looking to the internet to get value for money and quality items from wires to glass beads to Swarovski crystals. What started as a few accessories in a small box to make hair pieces ended up being small cupboards worth of items!

Sunita takes great pleasure in seeing her hair pieces on other’s heads. It is clear to see from her pieces, that each one is a beautifully created organic sculpture made with a lot of love, care and attention to the smallest of details. Whether it be matching colours to the ladies’ outfits or taking elements from the embroidery to inspire the design, what you can be sure of is that each piece is a one off.

So the investment is slowly paying off, albeit not financially! Sunita knows her market and she respects those that she creates pieces for and keeps prices very low. This is not a commercial venture as much as it is a hobby and an outlet for her to let the creative juices flow. After all a girl can never have too many accessories to bring an outfit to life!