Akhono Kulnu- Soyachunks

1. Tell us about yourself
I’m a mother of three very active boys. Was working in the IT sector for close to five years and now with kids, a full time homemaker and a small business to take care of side by side.
2. The story behind your brand
It all started off with the idea of making ethnic greeting cards with traditional designs. A Naga shawl is a very much valued gift, so we came up with this idea of converting a shawl into a card which will be simple yet have the Naga value. My husband is a self taught graphic designer and he is the one behind all the designs. Most of the cards, we take pictures of the shawls of different tribes and illustrate them from scratch. The first display of our products here in Nagaland was Hornbill Festival 2008, where we sent a few cards to someone who had a stall and the response was great for a first timer. Thereafter, we have been running a stall at Hornbill Festival every year after that.
From greeting cards, bookmarks and gift tags, we have progressed on with more products. We have partnered with few like minded friends who have helped us in coming up with more products like posters, stickers, t shirts etc..
The brand name Soyachunks, was coined for the love of soyachunks, made famous by the brand Nutrella. Soyachunks used to be a frequent item in our meals during our days in South India and hence, we adopted the name.


3. The struggles you faced and how you overcome those obstacles as you grew your brand.
We were unable to find any major investors but somehow managed with the small capital we invested. And it was at such a time when mobile phones had taken a hit along with e cards, our journey was not a very smooth one. But there are certain occasions where sms and e cards alone can’t replace the good old greeting cards.

We are still struggling but proud to say it’s a brand known to many now and our cards have gone as far as Europe, US and the Far East. And very soon, we will be opening an outlet in Dimapur, hopefully by June.
zeliangrong motif greeting card4. The work life balance and how you can handle it as a mother
The highest time consumed is during the designing stage. Sleepless nights were spent when the cards were designed. After coming back from a 9 hour shift of work, we used to put in extra 4-5 hours at home working on the cards. Now the job is less tedious since the ground work is done unless a new design has to be created, it is manageable.
Being a mother with small kids, time management is really important. The phrase ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ would be the most appropriate liner for me right now.

5. Some words of encouragement to all the mothers that it’s never too late to follow your passion especially if it’s about starting their own business
It’s never too late to learn a new trade, if you have the interest. Once the foundation is laid, success follows suit. For some it may come at a slow pace, for some it may be quicker, however, one should be patient enough for results to yield.