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Ooh-la-la ideas online

Delhi has traditionally been seen as more classic in its taste, compared to say Mumbai, which is seen as funkier, but now small entrepreneurs are shaking things up. Using the online medium, they are giving a twist to traditional handicrafts available at places like Dilli Haat. Samar Khurshid writes. Our pick

art and culture Updated: Jan 21, 2012 02:09 IST
Samar Khurshid

Delhi has traditionally been seen as more classic in its taste, compared to say Mumbai, which is seen as funkier, but now small entrepreneurs are shaking things up. Using the online medium, they are giving a twist to traditional handicrafts available at places like Dilli Haat.

Small brands are redefining tradition with off-beat products.

Kirin Vas, 23, who sells handmade earrings under the banner Funkanatomy uses junk - bottle caps to old colonial coins - everyday things to make unusual and unique jewellery. These niche products are making their way into the marketplace via the internet.

Rishma Lath, 23, set up Crazy Palette to take her passion for fashion up another notch. Her embroidered cushions and hand-painted sneakers are popular among younger buyers.

"There's a growing demand for out-of-the-box ideas and products versus the typical branded ones," she says.

Some brands have taken to this trend recently. Haathi Chaap, set up by Mahima Mehra in 2004, started online sales last year. As the name suggests, raw material is sourced from elephants - their dung, to be precise.

Mehra, looking for commercially viable options for recycling, decided to make paper from elephant and camel dung. Now, they make everything from books and clocks to paper bags and decorative hangings. Mind you, they don't smell of dung and have the same texture as recycled paper.

Others, while using ordinary goods have given them new avatars.

Swati Seth, 33, owner of The Color Caravan prides herself in selling age-old handicrafts in new-age forms. Her catalogue includes tea kettles and recycled alcohol bottles painted in minute detail with pattachitra and madhubani art forms. Other products include skirts printed with hand-block paints, hand-painted coasters, trays and little figurines of Ganesha in different poses.

Another recent brand is Tungs10, owned by Kani and Kunal Raheja. Their products combine east and west to create an experimental look. Painted with objects and locations from India and the West, their lifestyle range is quirky and fashionable. The line includes salt and pepper shakers, toothpick holders, candle holders, coasters and cushions.

The internet has emerged as a marketplace where these entrepreneurs dealing in off-beat novelties can sell their wares. With the mall and bazaar experience in a web browser window, these funky products are just a push of a button away.

Our pick of the funkiest hand-made products