The small coffee table in Sobanoo’s living room is piled high with goodies. Beads and sequins sparkle and little rolls of fabric await their turn in her hands.
It’s clear that Sobanoo is running what amounts to a little cottage industry – and it’s one propelled by her creativity and flair for design. But what sets her apart from others creating similar costume jewellery is that Sobanoo thrives on customising her earrings so that they make great accessories to any outfit. Included in the selection is her very first pair of earrings. A geometric design in yellow and red, they feature beadwork that sparkles in the light.
The young designer says she was inspired to create them when she couldn’t find jewellery to match a new sari. “I simply loved the sari,” she says, adding that combination of the late hour and a looming party made her consider what she could create herself. It’s not something every girl would attempt but tinkering with her old earrings is something of a compulsion confesses Sobanoo. “What do you do when you don’t like your earrings? You take them apart and you design something else!” she says.
Though she’s all of 26, Sobanoo doesn’t look it. She works the night shift as a graphic designer and says that she enjoys having her mornings to herself – this way she can work on her designs before she leaves for work and they leave her invigorated and ready to face anything. Small and slender, she and her mother share a sprawling, old house down a crowded lane off Union Place.
The two women collaborate on the work, but Sobanoo is the mastermind behind the design. Of late she’s been experimenting with fabric – the results are the clever little rolls of handloom cloth that she models for us. Some of her other designs are even more contemporary, in part due to her choice of materials. Stiff cardboard helped her experiment with sharp geometric patterns and fanciful circles, but Sobanoo quickly realised they needed to be heavily guarded from water. Now she says she’s found a simpler solution: dress lining.
Her simple materials keep her costs relatively low and earrings range from about Rs.125 to Rs.300 depending on how work intensive the design is and how costly the fabric. Though she dreams of having her own place, Sobanoo sells her pieces in most part to friends. Her Facebook group, Jbox (by boo), has just over eighty fans and showcases some of her newer designs.
She emphasises her willingness to customise her creations to suit your outfit and personality – in fact she sees it as a collaboration between herself and her customers. What if all you had to do to have matching accessories was to snip a piece off your sari? She’s contactable by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.