This lady comes from a large family of 5 sisters and a brother, spending her childhood in a region which is rich in textiles and silks – incredible highlands of the north-eastern India. Being from the richest place in weaving, she was disappointed by the fact the marvelous handicrafts were not available outside the region. This thought gave birth to “Heeya” which means heart in Sanskrit,
Assamese and Bengali. Please welcome this inspirational lady – Jonali Saikia Khasnabish.
She has helped to create a vast market for the products from North East as well as created economic base for those brilliant artisans. Jonali left 14 years of her corporate career and moved towards where her heart was calling. She started off producing selected products which were made of Eri silk and selling them online and through exhibitions. She also worked closely with weaving groups (Mishings, Bodos, and Nagas). Heeya is all about pouring the heart of weavers into the work which turns into elegant handicrafts. Heeya not only provides economic base to the artisans but also provide visibility, growth, skill development, respect to the craftsmen and their products too.
The road has been a challenging one for Jonali. She took lot of pain in bringing her dreams into reality. She traveled to the locations of various groups of weavers, spent time to understand them,their work and their capabilities. She also provides training wherever it is necessary. She works with the government to provide proper infrastructure and also technical training and support. Heeya also organised heath camps and counselling sessions too. When asked about the ups and downs, Jonali politely replied, “Ups when the products find appreciation with people and when the weavers are happy. The down was when I did not have enough money and when the production in villages does not happen in the way they should”.
Jonali credits her husband’s support to be the biggest strength which allowed her to pursue her dreams. She defines him as her mentor, guide and partner in every possible aspect. Jonali is also gifted with a 9 year old daughter who, she says, is also her biggest critic.
Heeya offers a wide variety of sarees which has the unique style of weaving from North East. The colour combinations used in Heeya’s designs are bright and beautiful. Their target audience are women of all age groups who love and appreciate hand-crafted products. Heeya also weave stoles, dupattas, cushion covers and table mats.
Heeya promotes their products through Exhibitions and sells through online social media. They launch their collections in facebook and users can get them by referring the product code numbers via messages. Transaction takes place through cash or draft or a transfer.
I think we can do great things if we start appreciating our roots, take pain in understanding it better and start working on it. Unwind wishes Jonali a very bright future for “Heeya”.