Selling Love In An Envelope – Shivani Rajesh Ram

Shivani Rajesh Ram is in the business of expressing feelings ‘with love’

Most of us have that favourite memory, the one where we made a birthday card for our mums and dads or even that special someone. Her story begins the same way. RITZ takes a walk down memory lane with Shivani Rajesh Ram on her creative journey as the proprietor at Avec Amour

In the age of the digital, when movies hit your cell phones before theatres, pictures are WhatsApp-ed and Facebook reminds you to wish a friend, is a bold entrepreneur who is in the business of producing handmade personalized cards and gifts. Shivani truly defies convention and prefers to relate instead, to matters of the heart – the unparalleled joy of receiving a handmade gift.

Delving into past memories, this young entrepreneur went out on a limb when she set out to revive the art of making gifts and cards. Today, Shivani is in the business of expressing feelings ‘with love’. “That is the reason I chose to call my firm Avec Amour.”

While most of us are content with owning bespoke fashion, Avec Amour takes it a little further by making bespoke gifts. Shivani says, “I never reuse a design – be it a card, or a photo album, everything is unique. The only time I am open to the idea of reusing a design is on customer request.” Rest assured the gifts you pick up from Avec Amour are as original and one-off as they come!

Since her cards are only available through her Facebook page Avec Amour Cards, Shivani plans on starting up a little store in the city. “Currently I am in the process of launching my website, However, as of now I don’t have plans of retailing with other gift stores.”

With the website, Shivani says that the cards will be available for shipping throughout the country. Currently her cards range from `100 to `500 based on the amount of detail and work that has gone into its making.

Shivani Rajesh

While Shivani goes the whole 9 yards to make her designs, she is open to sharing her methods through her blog. “I believe in sharing my creative process. I am very confident about my work.” Avec Amour cards include the whole spectrum of art supplies – from frills, to lace, to glitter, cut-outs and pop-ups. “Designing gifts is an intensely personal experience. Your customer entrusts you with their feelings and it is your job to do that justice,” she says.

Diving into financial matters, this 29-year-old entrepreneur reveals that she spends almost `4 lakhs on her art supplies and keeps buying more as they hit the market. “I am very particular about what I use. Most of the time, the material that I use is imported.”

A Viscom Graduate from Chennai and a double MA in Fashion Marketing and Photography, Shivani knows her way around aesthetics and marketing. While her marketing and publicity strategy is simple – social media, this artist cum designer keeps herself up-to-date on techniques that go in to making handmade gifts. “I read a lot on handicraft and painters. I am inspired by the simple things in nature – like the spirals of a flower, so simple, yet complex” she laughs. Shivani also tells us that she’s been trying her hand at brush lettering and this form of calligraphy may make an appearance in her future gifts.

Though time-consuming, Shivani insists on making everything on her own. Her latest assignment of making 300 wedding cards set her back a good 3 weeks. Perhaps that is her secret to her ever-growing and very satisfied clientele.

Recalling her first card for Avec Amour she says, “I have a toddler and he loves to sketch as well. I think that is how I decided the first card I would make would be a baby card.”

While most of her cards are ‘dressed to impress’, Shivani refrains from writing in them. “I believe the designs should do the talking,” she says. Going by the colours and the textures that Shivani uses, Avec Amour is the fullest expression of her love for colour and the romantic in her. “Years down the line, I would like my cards to bring back memories of happiness, of delight…of all things positive,” she smiles.

On an ending note she lets us in on a little secret about a card she has refused to part with – a love card for her husband. “As much as I want to give it to him, I haven’t because it is a constant reminder of our love.” Gestures certainly do mean a lot!