Traditional Art Of Bihar Helped This Single Mother Become An Entrepreneur, Now She Is Helping Many Go Independent

Women Empowerment By Ritika Bidawat | 4 min read

India, a land steeped in cultural richness and diversity, has given birth to an array of traditional art forms that continue to mesmerize the world. Indian traditional art serves as a window into the soul of this remarkable country, reflecting its vibrant culture, religious diversity, and artistic brilliance.

However, the invasion of commercialization has begun to overshadow authenticity, offering cheap alternatives to consumers. Despite this, India’s cultural treasures, such as classical dances, traditional music, awe-inspiring architecture, art and heritage continue to amaze and inspire.

Amidst commercialization, many thanks to passionate individuals in India who are working to preserve and promote the nation’s authentic art and culture. Their honest efforts support local artisans and traditions, fostering a deeper appreciation for India’s rich heritage and inspiring a resurgence of interest in its diverse cultural legacy.

traditional art
Source – Aavran

One such individual is Ipsha Pathak, from Bihar. She is a remarkable individual who has found her true calling and success in the traditional art of Bihar’s Mithila paintings and other artworks.

Her journey not only exemplifies her talent and dedication but also serves as an inspiration to artists from Bihar and all over India.

Traditional Art & AAVARAN

We are aware of the difficulties and challenges faced by people all over the world, including India, during the time of COVID. It took jobs from millions of people and destroyed an uncountable number of businesses, and Ipsha Pathak was one of these unlucky individuals who suffered severely in those times.

She was working as a corporate professional, but she lost her job, and with family responsibilities on her shoulders and being a single mother, her future looked terrible.

But even during the difficult times of COVID, she did not lose hope and looked for opportunities. During these days, she happen to come across a very beutifully designed mask which she instenly wanted to by but she was not able to.

traditional art
Source – Instagram

In Bihar, lots of girls, including me, learn to make traditional art for school projects. But for a long time, I didn’t do any art. Then, I saw a stunning mask that inspired me to open my craft box again and start making a Mithila painting mask.

It was at this time she caught the idea of using hand-made traditional art of Mithila painting on a mask for herself and later took on the challenge of making this idea a commercial success.

Ipsha Pathak’s entrepreneurial journey started with discovering her passion for Bihar’s Mithila paintings. As her love for traditional art grew, the idea of “Aavaran” meaning ‘covering’ emerged.

Today, she is running a successful business where she not only sells traditional art of Mithila paintings,  artwork engraved sarees, and Gamcha but also paintings related to Bihar’s other traditional art work.

Putting artist’s interests and art before commercialization

aavran traditional art
Source – Instagram

Hailing from a small town in Bihar, her modest upbringing never hindered her determination. With an MBA and life coaching background, she pursued her true passion for Bihar’s traditional art while promoting true empowerment for artisans.

Her Brand Aavran is a commercial success that is giving an excellent platform to many artists who generally get low wages for their work and get exploited by businesses.

Money has a huge power to drive people and make them greedy, but it couldn’t change Ipsha Pathak.
Worldly things couldn’t change her interior fabric.

She saw the opportunity in the commercialization of Bihar’s traditional art by using it in paintings, sarees, and in many other ways. But she also saw the poor state of the artists, who are becoming a rare breed in this age of machines, computers, and AI.

traditional art
Source – Aavran

I realized that it was not just me who had lost her job; many people had been affected by the pandemic and were unable to feed themselves, particularly the working class. People who worked on a daily basis suffered greatly, and it was at this point that I realized I should find a way to help these people as well.

At the beginning, she shared her orders with a few artists, and gradually, more individuals became interested in working for her. She made it a point to provide fair compensation to the artists for each order, ensuring they didn’t feel exploited. Over time, she also reached out to the wives of labour-class men who were eager to contribute to their households but lacked opportunities.

mithila traditional art
Source – Instagram

These artists put hundreds of hours into creating a masterpiece like a saree with the traditional art of Mithila painting on it or a piece of garment looking every bit perfect, highlighting local artwork. So, while working with art and artwork, she has realized that she has a responsibility to support and promote local artwork and take that to thousands of people across the length and breadth of this great nation while giving artists the real worth of their efforts.

Not only an artwork supporter but a smart business acumen

Initially it was tricky, I didn’t even have an account on Instagram. But when I started out, after completing my research, I understood it could be great for my business.

Ipsha Pathak has a street-smart mind when it comes to running her business. She took to social media as a fish takes to water. Today, her social media presence is robust, and she uses platform the” Vibe City” and Instagram to take and deliver orders.

As each day passes, her journey becomes increasingly thrilling and fulfilling. However, at the start during the COVID pandemic, she encountered numerous obstacles, including economic restrictions and unfamiliar territory in her work.

traditional art
Source – Aavran

One major challenge she faced was the inability to find reliable courier partners to safely deliver her orders during the lockdown. Undeterred, she decided to take matters into her own hands and personally handle the deliveries without hesitation.

She even promoted her business among political parties and received big orders for political rallies. She has expanded her range from masks to sarees,  traditional wear, gamcha, and paintings, and has bagged international orders as well.

Unlike many others in the market, Ipsha’s uniqueness lies in uniqe yet traditional products, some of her best sellers are the Kohbar painting, mithila painting sarees and clutch bag, Mithila Painting Soop and many more.

traditional art
Source – Aavran

I try to experiment with art by incorporating it into regularly or mundane items so that it can become a part of our everyday lives.

Ipsha Pathak & Her Win

In just about 3 years, she has earned a respectful and deserving place in society, and her dreams are not even bigger. Looking at her will and determination, there is no stopping her.

Not only did Ipsha Pathak help her own life during the difficult times of Corona, but she was also able to help migrant workers during the COVID.

traditional art
Source – Aavran

Despite some of these workers returning to their previous lifestyles, they remain dedicated to working for her, as they deeply appreciate her noble actions. Her commitment to promoting desi art, especially the traditional art industry of local Bihar, sets her apart.

As a single woman, she embodies the essence of woman empowerment, successfully juggling her roles as a thriving businesswoman and a life coach. She serves as a remarkable example of empowerment and inspiration for others, breaking barriers and making a positive impact on the lives of those around her.

If you like this story, you can also check out – This Zero-Waste Clothing Line Is Redefining Fashion With Bihar’s Traditional Arts & Changing The Notion Of Bihar

If you know about more inspirational stories about a person, company, new idea, or social initiative, and want us to write them on, share such information with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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