Thursday, August 13, 2015

OMNAH (Featured artist/shop)

OMNAH” is a Mumbai (India) based socio-economic initiative, consistently striving to offer a comprehensive and innovative selection of indigenous art and textile artistry. With a vision devoted to combining authenticity of classic craftsmanship from India and creating an online-marketplace for discerning customers with an eye for beauty, each product is curated to mirror the personality and story of its locale allowing a taste of what the region has to offer. Omnah sources its handmade products by working closely with the artisans and craftsmen at the grass root level. This not only directly aids the artisans at a chance of improving their lifestyle but also minimizes the negative long-term impact on the environment as Omnah believes in using natural and sustainable materials. 
Color, tradition and inspiration driven, the creative soul behind Omnah is Malavika A Kamath. I’m thrilled to welcome her on TECD! How about we get to know this beautiful lady and her brand Omnah over a cup of tea?

TECD: Hello Malavika! Let’s get started by asking you, what does the name Omnah signify?
Malavika: “I was very certain I wanted to have a brand with Om as a prefix, but when I coined the name, little did I know it would mean something in Sanskrit and Hebrew. Omnah is a variation of Somnath ‘Lord of the Moon’ (Shiva) in Sanskrit and in Hebrew it translates to nourish or take care of, which I hope to achieve in a small way for rural artisans in India. Also, the ‘nah’ in Omnah is an acronym for the brand slogan - ‘Natural. Authentic. Handmade.’"
TECD: We’d like to know more about the creative soul behind Omnah and how did it all come together? 
Malavika: “Life happens to you when you’re busy making plans, right? After I completed my Masters degree in Social Psychology, I set out to work as a flight attendant with Cathay Pacific, because at the time I wanted to travel and see the world! We have just one life, I believe in pursuing any interests or passions that one gravitates to. 

After a few initial years in Hong Kong, I moved to Singapore, lived and worked there for over a decade. When I quit my corporate job in 2011, I was at the peak of my career at Global Work Place Solutions. It’s when I decided to return to my roots to follow creative pursuits in interior design and photography. (For the record, I’ve always been a keen home decorator, collecting art and artifacts from my travels in India and the world. It’s why I was also drawn to The East Coast Desi page). The thought of starting something on my own that would incorporate all my 3 loves – shopping, travelling & photography, came into being and Omnah was launched in October 2013.”

TECD: What is it that you most enjoy about being your own boss?
Malavika: “I love the freedom and flexibility this venture gives me. I enjoy working from the comforts of my home, at my pace, without the stress of deadlines set by someone else, and no late-night conference calls with someone halfway across the world!"

TECD: Take us through the various products that Omnah showcases? 
Malavika: "Omnah carries a selection of curated artisanal as well as in-house created products, handcrafted in one form or another. So far I’ve showcased hand-block-printed Sanganeri and South cotton cushion covers created in-house, have curated hand-embroidered products in Phulkari, Chikankari, nomadic accessories and home linen from Kutch, hand-painted kalamkari, handwoven sarees from Chanderi, South India, Kutch, Maheshwar and Benaras. Our handpicked selection of hand-knotted jewelry from Mayabazaar has always had a good response each time.

As far as possible I curate products from artisans and weavers directly, but I also handpick items from NGOs and self-help groups that support the livelihood of artisans and empower women.”
TECD: That’s a very impressive range of products, I must say! You said earlier, that you enjoyed travelling . Tell us more about your travel experiences for Omnah?
Malavika: “My sourcing trips have taken me to a few places the past 2 years, from Patiala to Pochampally, Kutch to Kanchipuram, but India has so much to offer and there’s so much more to cover! I love travelling to remote, rustic parts of India, to meet artisans in their own workspace. I feel it is essential to see the effort that goes into creating these beautiful products, see how the artisans live (or survive, in some cases) and in return I have received only warmth and simple rural hospitality. The familiar clacking sounds of handlooms through a quiet village street or an urban by-lane is as exciting to me now as visiting a new country in Europe!
On occasion I’ve also had the company of close friends during my travels. The sourcing trip to the quaint town of Chanderi was memorable and fun, we ended up doing the photoshoot for the dupattas in the town itself. I am blessed with a wonderful family and friends who support the brand and business, and are happy to be our cover girls! It makes the ride all the more fun."
TECD: What according to you is the USP of Omnah? 
Malavika: "Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all flavor.’ It is my endeavor to bring in as much variety to the brand, an array of products from home textiles, jewelry, art to sarees, to appeal to resident as well as global Indians, in addition to a niche market of expats living in Mumbai."

TECD: And finally, a few words of wisdom on your Success mantra as a small business owner? 
Malavika: "If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day your life!” Follow your passion, fuel it with focus and determination, support others, explore new paths, compare your success only with your own past, and keep learning!”

Now wasn’t that one inspiring conversation? I for one, am always happy to meet individuals who have the courage to dream big and then work hard to turn them into reality. Thank you Malavika for taking the time to share your creative journey with us. 

To stay abreast of the latest updates from Omnah, connect with them via their FB page. May I also point out that Omnah is currently offering a 10 to 20% discount on their handloom sarees and dupattas, to mark the the first National Handloom Day in India (sale ends August 14th,2015)!  

Our warmest wishes to Omnah! 

Images: Omnah


  1. What a lovely store!! Beautiful textiles and amazing collection. Thanks for sharing, Sruthi!


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