In the city that never sleeps, it appears that some people have all the time in the world for creativity. Armed with nothing more than a glue gun, paints, an oven or just a whole arsenal of witty one-liners, they have been putting their skills to amazing use, and earning quite a bit as well. Of course, you could settle for a boring T-shirt or sneakers, but that’s no fun. Take things up a notch with some creations that aren’t made in China, aren’t mass produced and go beyond your expectationsBakula
Leena Soumitra and Shivani Parasnis’ handmade stationery enterprise takes its name from the Marathi word for a fragrant flower and their stuff is just as charming. They sell finely-crafted bookmarks, gift tags, painted pebbles and paper lanterns. Soumitra, a graphic designer, and Parasnis, a student, started Bakula just under two years ago, and are both involved in the creative process. Bakula’s painted pebbles (the paperweights look like the Angry Birds) and magnetic bookmarks are hot sellers. Promotions are driven through Facebook and exhibitions, and everything they make is 100 per cent handmade.
Prices: Rs 10 for a paper clip to Rs 600 for painted pebbles
“These pretzels are making me thirsty.” Remember how Elaine, Jerry, George and Kramer contemplate different ways to deliver a line in a Woody Allen film in that episode of Seinfeld? Redwolf lets you wear the iconic quote on a T-shirt. It’s simple, unfussy, classy – just like the rest of their texty Ts. The one-line store is the brainchild of Ameya Thakur, Rahul Jaisheel and Vivek Malhotra, three pop-culture junkies who also happen to be engineers. “We want to keep all the designs minimalist,” says Malhotra, explaining that it counterbalances the flashy Ts that have flooded markets. In short, these guys take what’s on your mind and put it on your chest: references from Breaking Bad or Entourage, Balotelli quotes or Gangnam Style. You can pay online and get home delivery if you shop via their website, designed, of course, by them.
Price: Rs 449 for T-shirts
When a search for a photo frame yielded “ghastly” results, it prompted multimedia artist Soojata Kapoor to take matters into her own hands. And her hands began creating cool frames, mirrors, lamps, home accessories and decorative knick-knacks. “I suck at painting,” she says, laughing, and explains that her expertise lies in using ceramics, sculpture, and even light carpentry to create something unusual. At her recent exhibition, Kapoor displayed stunning gothic angels – up to five feet tall – that called on carpentry as well as puppetry, allowing the angels’ arms to move. Her works don’t come cheap, but her clients don’t seem to mind. And she also admits that she’s notorious for giving away stuff for free to clients she likes. But then again, she’s also known to stalk her customers.
Prices: Rs 15,000 for a five-feet angel
How can you expect to have a lightbulb moment when all you have is a boring lamp? At Shady Ideas, lighting can look like a ladi of firecrackers, feature piano keys and sheet music, or let you display your love for Bob Marley. "We have different themes for Diwali, Christmas and Valentine’s Day," explains Carl Mascarenhas, who, along with Jovita Mascarenhas (directors), Priti Machado and Lloyd Machado, started Shady Ideas a year and a half ago. All their lamps use earth- friendly materials like recycled acrylic, paper handmade from cotton waste and banana stem. Their heart is green but their goods sport just about every bright hue, to brighten up your mood.
Prices: Rs 900 to Rs 18,000.
Back when he was in college Jai Ranjit was one of those people who’d be seen painting his clothes on a whim. Naturally, everyone around him wanted a piece of the pie, which inspired him to start painting shoes, tees, and bags for money. “I wanted to have innovative and affordable designs,” the artist says. Now, Ranjit creates customised designs based on reference photos you provide, or he’ll come up with stuff right out of his head. He hand paints canvas shoes, T-shirts, bags, jeans or anything you give him.
Prices: Rs 500-700 (if you give him the canvas to paint on)
Arti Jairaj can do things with yarn and a crochet needle that will blow your mind. She learned her skills 20 years ago, during a summer holiday in Taiwan and today she’s quit her regular job to knit full time, creating everything from hats, beanies, scarves, shawls and bags to slippers. She also customises designs on coasters and tablecloths, and is currently in talks with a tattoo parlour to stock her products. One of her most unique items, she reveals, is the barefoot slipper, a crocheted cross between a slipper and a thick sock.
Prices: Beanies cost Rs 500 and the barefoot slippers sell for Rs 600-650
The Klick Store
Karishma Lakdawalla’s knick-knack paradise is just over a year old and sells handmade earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and hair accessories. She took to the craft after realising that mass-produced accessories lacked any real character. “And a lot of stores online were selling things at rates that college students couldn’t afford,” she says. “The idea [behind The Klick Store] was to provide cost-effective and fashionable jewellery.” Lakdawalla is self-taught and loves to take apart individual pieces of jewellery to figure out how they’re made. Her dream is to set up a store in Mumbai once she finishes her MBA.
Shruti Savla and Shruti Kumar share more than just a first name. The two were looking for hair accessories in a mall when they realised they that they could make better stuff for less money. So they started The Ribbon Factory, selling affordable hairbands, jewelled hair ties, scrunchies, barrettes, ornamental combs and other bits and bobs that might keep a fashionable woman’s flyaways in place. A beaded pattern on a gold hairband happens to be one of their most popular items. They supply to stores as well, and are targeting an online e-commerce store soon.
Prices: Rs 50-500 for the hair accessories Nomad!
Ridhima Arora thinks that there’s a bag lady inside every woman. It takes only one look at the variety of bags she designs to realise that there’s a bag hoarder in you too. From clutches to embroidered items, Arora takes her wares on to the exhibition circuit and uses social media to market her works. She claims to use no leather and prefers natural fabrics like jute. She’s also very meticulous, keeping all her products in stock, and completing custom orders in just a week or so. And she’s nice enough to either hand deliver or courier the products to your doorstep.
Prices: Casual bags range from Rs 1,400-2,250. Embroidered clutches go up to Rs 3,000
Shoe – U
Hogwarts’ four houses, Eric Cartman and the South Park gang, graffiti art, your favourite football club, Ariel the mermaid, the Flash, or the PowerPuff Girls – Stefan Fernandes has been painting all this and more on shoes and sneakers since December 2011. And he’s more than happy to help you wear your heart on your feet. He says he has a deep passion for art, a fact attested by his barely-concealed enthusiasm when he talks about his venture. He’s still in college, but has great plans of expansion after graduation. Get in touch via Facebook or email, or even his phone, and we suggest you buy now – as any art collector knows, early canvases are always the best buys.
Prices: Rs 500 onward
We should state right at the off that Shreshtha Jayakar is a hypermanic creative wizard, channelising her ideas into her stationery store, Metaphor, where wackiness is a given. She focuses mostly on bookmarks, laptop sleeves, card holders and other essentials. Jaykar’s art and design education help her sell to people who appreciate the visual as much as text. She speaks fondly of a set of bookmarks she made for a friend studying psychology – a caricature of Freud.
Electra’s Organic Bakery
Three years ago, the loyal patrons at the Farmer’s Market in Bandra gobbled up 12kg of organic cake that Jennifer Mallick had baked. The week after, she increased the amount to 20kg but at the end, she was left with zero kilos. Thus began the rise of Electra’s Organic Bakery. She specialises in cakes and brownies, wholewheat breads, quiches and cookies. “My cakes are usually around 90 per cent organic,” she says. She also bakes special cakes for people with dietary restrictions. Diabetics can indulge their sweet tooth with her sugar-free cakes. She also focuses on baking healthy products.
Prices: Rs 50 for a muffin to Rs 1,000 for a chocolate cake (one kg)
From HT Brunch, March 10
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