Meet Sugandha Thakran, née Krishnan.
An ex-Indian Air Force officer turned entrepreneur, who now lives a dream of her own. Since inception in 2006, her Tattoo Studio- Phoeninks Tattoos, has expanded into different media aside from ink on skin…. selling oils on canvas, from pencil, charcoal, acrylic emulsion, fabric paints, wax crayons, watercolours, silks and even undertaking murals on order.
Brimming with confidence, Sugandha has established herself as a fiercely independent artist, aside from bringing up a family with two teenaged children and two large dogs. As an illustrator, she is realistic, follows a roadmap that lets her remain faithful to art. Indian divinity as a theme is close to her soul. Tradition, inspirations, originality, and experiments are often feted in her works. Certain experiences, subjects, themes, and times leave their traces on the growth of her work. Her intense and boundless sensibility is clearly visible in all her customer-oriented designs.
“If I were to attribute my having reached this point in life to anything in my childhood, it would probably be three things- my having grown up in a military home, being raised to be a leader, and a girl growing up at the end of the 20th century”, says Sugandha.
Encouraged by a feminist father, she was brought up to be disciplined, punctual, analytical, fit, decisive, confident, mature, and people-oriented. In her words “My father threw me into the middle of innumerable learning and grooming sessions, and in fact, my entire life as a child and teenager was a boot camp for leadership training. I represented my school and district in athletics and badminton, my college in dramatics, music, art, and my country in kayaking. I was a school captain, captain of my college debating team, and a district appointee in the National Cadet Corps.
Constant moves made me overcome an inherent shyness and helped build my social skills. Living with minimum resources while having to fit into a fairly active social scenario taught me the value of time and material management. This was another talent which helped me to scrape through all the challenging phases in life when I was juggling changes in career, bringing up my family and moving all over the country on postings.
The times I grew up in, were unusual to say the least, for women. While there was rampant chauvinism, of course, there was also a brave new breed of women venturing into the world and cutting out paths for the rest of us to follow. Women who joined the armed forces were strong enough to kick start the tidal wave of women emerging from home and hearth to walk shoulder to shoulder with men.
Running a business while living a nomad’s life is no small order, but staying focused on the positive has helped me through all the shutting down and reopening of my business every 2–3 years. Having a supportive family and being able to keep that family together has been a big motivation in keeping me going. I have now operated my studio in Bhuj, Agra, Jaisalmer, and Bangalore, aside from doing some freelance work in Kolkata and Hyderabad. An Autoimmune disorder and the worldwide pandemic of 2020 has been a hiccup for my tattoo business, but I continue to take orders for all other art forms.”
Sugandha can be approached at email@example.com and +91 9001032097.
Each of us is a unique product of our own time and circumstances, but certain factors remain constant in the pursuit of life’s goals. Life gives us many reasons to give up, but you just have to dress up and show up. That is discipline. Sometimes, even when everything indicates that you are doomed, but you believe strongly in yourself and your cause, you have to hang on. You have to lower your head and keep going. That is doggedness.
And last, the most important quality you could possess to succeed, is the ability to find something positive in every situation… the glowing spirit of optimism. With these tools in your belt, there is very little you cannot achieve, whether on the professional or personal front!