The Brave Little Shopkeeper

When school projects help a business grow

Tooth Truth Roopa Vikesh
3 min readMay 11, 2022


The pretty Mrs. Patra in her ingenious shop. Photo by the author.

What if your skill was pretty craft projects for school?
What if you were jobless despite your papier-mâché and paper-folding skills?
This is the picture-story of that person.
The shop went from a service-providing one (prettifying projects) to being a “Variety Shop” — a shop that sells a variety of goods, like perfumes, stationery, gifts, yoga mats, badminton rackets toys and crockery.

Photo by the author.

This successful young entrepreneur started her shop with the premise: not everybody likes to slave over school projects, but everyone would love to see the teacher smiling when a pretty project is submitted.

Inside of the lady’s shop. Photo by the author.

She started a shop called Project World, where she takes the bare bones of a school project written out by a student, and then adds a calligraphy subtitle, a pretty cover and then prepares it for submission.

As she started to do well, her shop took over the empty shop next door where she stocks gifts, crockery and toys. Photo by the author.

For the junior classes, she can craft entire three-dimensional maps for children, complete with acrylic coloring.
Over time, as kids started to discuss the fine aspects of their projects with her, her shop expanded into a stationery and gift shop which is doing very well, thank you.
The original premise of the store, to help kids make better projects, is now worn thin as more parents have home printers even as the kids convince teachers that soft copies are better than hard ones.

An example of the lady’s work: the title of the project is entered by Mrs. Patra while the sheets have been handwritten by the student. Photo by the author.

India’s online payment revolution with its shiny new QR codes makes it easy to pay for stuff she has.
Her shop isn’t quite Staples, or Landmark (Indian book and stationery shop chain in air conditioned malls) but it is the go-to place for kids because they are so grateful to her for having helped them score points with their teachers.
Thank you for reading, and if you didn’t enjoy the story too much I do hope the pictures and Mrs. Patra’s beautiful smile held your attention.



Tooth Truth Roopa Vikesh

I don’t just create smiles, I inspire them! Dentist, mom—Jamshedpur, India.