Monday, November 28, 2016

Mela Artisans - By Heart, By Hand (Featured Brand)

I personally have a lot of admiration and respect for the new wave of entrepreneurs who don’t just think business but are on a more purposeful social entrepreneurial mission. A mission steered by the thought to give back to the community. One such lifestyle brand, ideated by father-daughter duo - Navroze S. Mehta and Sonali Mehta Rao, is Mela Artisans! Based out of NYC, not only did this brand resonate with me on a design level but also because at its core, they are continually striving to bring about a positive change for the Indian artisans who are struggling to keep our heritage crafts alive. 
In 2015, Mela succeeded in creating 7,000 jobs for these artisans! Mela believes in going beyond “just supporting their livelihoods.” They have been ploughing back 1% of their sales into projects that help their artisans. They’ve partnered with Vision Spring, Sevamob, and Greenlight Planet (three innovative social enterprises in India), to bring vision exams, healthcare and solar lamps respectively to empower the artisan communities. 
By assisting artisan communities’ access new markets, Mela Artisan is truly a catalyst in preserving and reviving the heritage crafts of India. Unlike a lot of other sites that pull together artisan/handmade products from India, Mela has an in-house design team that curates and designs each collection. Navroze (co-founder) travels to India several times each year to meet with the artisans in person. Once they finalize on the artisan sector they wish to work with, the design team taps into the skillsets of the artisans and then takes on the task to create products for a global audience with a contemporary design palate. The response to Mela’s products has been phenomenal! Their products have been featured on PopSugar, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and at more than 300 boutiques across US!
In the home décor segment, their product range includes photo frames, boxes, trays, bowls, tabletop vases, candle holders, throw pillows and desk accessories, with each product page narrating the story of the community responsible for creating it. The design process adopted by Mela has effortlessly included bone inlay and wood carving into their amazing collections that is the perfect balance of the best of the traditional Indian craft forms with the functionality of contemporary design. 
My absolute favorite amongst the collections being the Gramercy and the Imperial Beauty. Also, their latest experiment to modernize traditional Indian Ikat has resulted in the Buna collection. Strung together by handloom artisans of South India, the Buna collection is made of woven banana fibers and sea grass, using an Ikat warp.
And for the fashionistas, they have an amazing collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, earrings and scarves. 
The wonderful people at Mela wanted me to sample a piece of their stunning jewelry collection. Given that it was the holiday party season, I chose to review the Hidden Cay Multi-Color Necklace. I fell in love with its chic and elegant design!14kt Gold Plated, this brass necklace is delicate with alternating rectangle Aqua Chalcedony, Blue lapis and Green onyx. It has a beautiful finish, great detailing (like even the clasp has a mini-elephant dangler), really light-weight and very sturdy. The versatile design can be styled either with a formal evening dress or with jeans for a casual lunchdate with girlfriends! Overall a totally charming necklace and very well made!
Mela currently ships only in the USA. You can shop for Mela products right here and do your bit to support these wonderful craft forms and a genuine mission. Should you decide to shop in person, they also have two stores, one in Manchester, VT (4566 Main Street, Manchester VT) and other recently opened in Soho between Houston and Prince (580 Broadway Room 711, NY). They have some amazing Cyber Monday offers (50%off sitewide) and sales going on right now, so make you head to their web boutique right away. Also make sure to stay connected with them via their SM platforms like Facebook and Instagram for latest updates and insider scoop on sales.

I wish Mela Artisans all the very best in their endeavor to support such a wonderful cause! 
As for you my lovely peeps, have a wonderful week ahead!

(Image Courtesy: Mela Artisans but for the last image - Sruthi Singh)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Indian Weave Giveaway Winner!

It's time to announce the winner of The Indian Weave Giveaway !!! I'd like to thank Jean and Punnet Roy for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway and all my lovely readers who participated and made this such a success.

Without further ado:
Pavitra Vaidya, please write to me at with your contact details (email and address) so that we may ship you the wonderful handcrafted brass candle snuffer at the earliest:)

Enjoy your weekend folks !

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Indian Weave and a Wonderful Giveaway!

Welcome to the world of “The Indian Weave”! A world inhabited by unique vintage treasures, indigenous textiles and traditional Indian arts and crafts, all handpicked to match the urban sensitivities of today’s well-informed consumer. Based in Gurgaon (India), this web boutique was established by Jean and Puneet Roy, with the intent to endorse less known traditional Indian arts and crafts and promote fair trade in honor of the many gifted artisans who still manage to keep the traditional way of creating the arts and crafts alive. Jean shares, “Having worked with the best luxury hotels for more than 3 decades, it was natural for me to follow my love for the good things in life and something that would provide me the freedom and flexibility to pursue 3 important passions – a reason to travel, an opportunity to learn about our rich culture and finally, a chance to discover and promote the fascinating Indian heritage and its crafts.” I had the opportunity to chat up with this lovely lady and talk to her about her adventurous journey so far. 
TECD: Hello and welcome to TECD Jean! Let’s start by asking you what according to you is the USP of “The Indian Weave”? 
Jean Roy: “Each piece is personally chosen by my husband and me. We travel all over India from time to time visiting artisans and finding authentic sources for our products that you see in our store. All products are handmade, hand crafted and are sourced most often from the artisans themselves who are making them as per age old traditions / practices.”
TECD: Tell us more about the curating process that is adopted for The Indian Weave?
Jean Roy: “No matter which state we visit, we find local handicraft which is unique to the state/tradition. We then try and identify what will be appreciated by our customers especially Indians living abroad which will make them feel closer home - India. (Also keeping in mind our other global customers who love everything Indian.) We understand the process and the history behind each item, meet with them one on one whenever and wherever possible and keep a tab on what’s trending or not.”
TECD: Though The Indian Weave is a fairly new venture, you have grown by leaps and bounds. What would you say has been your success mantra?
Jean Roy: “Be passionate. Love what you do and as they say, if you make your passion or hobby your profession, you do not have to work a single day in your life.”

TECD: What have you personally taken away from this project of yours?
Jean Roy: “Rediscovering India through its beautiful handicrafts, skill of artisans, age old traditions still prevalent in keeping the crafts alive and the realization that there is so much more to our own country than one can imagine.”
 TECD: What can we expect to see in your latest curated collection? 
Jean Roy: “We recently featured a Diwali collection and over the next month shall be featuring a festive collection which shall include some handicrafts made by Indian artisans for the forthcoming Christmas season for buyers abroad.”

TECD: What are the Future plans for The Indian Weave?
Jean Roy: “We plan to travel extensively in the coming year to discover more of “Incredible India”, meet with artisans, understanding the traditions and the wide variety of Indian handicrafts available so can offer them to our clients, old and new.”
TECD: What would you say are the 3 never fail decor tips that one could use to spruce up a place instantly?
Jean Roy:
  • "If you like it, buy it no matter what kind of house or interiors you have, as you will cherish it forever with fondness.
  • Vintage is always in vogue. Keep it in any living space at your home. It’s going to be a conversation piece with your family and friends. 
  • Curate your own collection, slowly and surely from our collection of beautiful vintage pieces and home accessories not only to make your home beautiful but also help keeping the Indian traditions and handicrafts alive.”
To shop this fantastic range of products, visit their web boutique right here. They currently have a fabulous sale – 15% off everything! You could also connect with them via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter and stay abreast of regular updates of their latest collections, discount offers and sale events. (FYI: They ship worldwide via India International speed post.) 
What’s more? In sync with the spirit of this season, TECD in collaboration with The Indian Weave is bringing you a wonderful giveaway - this Vintage brass scissor candle snuffer. It is handcrafted with delicately carved birds, fine engravings and Indian motifs. To enter the giveaway, follow All three below mentioned conditions:
Thank you The Indian Weave for the wonderful GIVEAWAY and good luck to my wonderful readers. Winner will be announced on November 18th, 2016. (P.S. Giveaway is open to ALL my readers worldwide) !!!

(Image Credit: The Indian Weave)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ek Dori: Create, Curate and Care (Featured Brand)

What ensues when two sisters with an eye for antiquated charm and passion for design and decor come together??? The answer to that question is “Ek Dori”! Based in Pune (India), Ek Dori is the newest online decor boutique for vintage collectibles and handmade goodness. Abhilasha and Aditi, the sister duo we featured a few weeks with regard to Maharani Baug have taken on another dream project and turned it into reality. This project is a combined effort to make vintage décor more accessible, popularize rich Indian crafts and also serve as a means to give back to their community!
Ek Dori’s diligently curated collection is put together by the team by travelling the length and breadth of the country, hunting down unique treasures by connecting with the locals and personally understanding the process of creation of the product itself. Their curated range of brass artifacts currently includes Lassi glasses, chai kettles, surmadanis, Mini brass paandaans, vintage hairpins and the munimji notebook! I had a quick tete-a-tete with Abhilasha to bring you an exclusive insider perspective on this new venture. 
TECD: Hello Abhilasha! Delighted to have you back on TECD! Let’s start by asking you, what is the significance of the name "Ek Dori"?
Abhilasha: “My pleasure Sruthi! Thank You for featuring us. Ek Dori symbolizes the invisible thread that joins us and our passions, dreams, creativity and heritage together. It is the force that helps us create, curate and care. It is the force that brings us together.” 
 TECD: How did the plan for "Ek Dori" take shape? 
Abhilasha: “There never existed a plan for Ek Dori. It was always just a dream that I nurtured in a corner of my heart. A dream that refused to die no matter how hard my mind and business logic tried. The dream started to take concrete shape when destiny brought into my life women, young and old, women who had a desire to learn, to contribute, to grow and to make a difference. But unfortunately they have never got an opportunity to get an education. At Ek Dori, the desire to provide an opportunity to these women to make an honorable living, is what drives us. These are the women behind Ek Dori. These are the women who gave the dream shape and form.”
TECD: What according to you, sets Ek Dori apart from the many other decor brands out there? 
Abhilasha: “Ek Dori is Indian at its core and in its soul. We take great pride in promoting and upholding Indian crafts, textiles and people. All products at Ek Dori whether created or curated speak an Indian language and tell the stories our grandmothers told us. We will soon be launching products that are handmade at the Ek Dori studio by the Ek Dori women.”
TECD: What are your future plans for "Ek Dori"?
Abhilasha: “No plans but lots of dreams - new lines, new innovative, meaningful handmade products and loads of smiles. We are taking it one step at a time, but the ultimate goal is to provide employment for as many women as we come across.”
Ek Dori’s upcoming collection is a curated range of vintage and rare brass collectibles along with handmade brass toys and hand embellished wall art. The products are truly one-of-a-kind and if I had to redefine greed it would be translated as “I WANT ALL of the products listed at Ek Dori!” So beat me to it by connecting with them via Instagram and calling first dibs on your favorite piece. For pricing details and product queries DM the Ek Dori team Via Instagram. Ek Dori ships worldwide (Shipping charges as applicable).
Before I sign off for today, Abhilasha and Aditi, I’d like to wish you all the very best!

(Image Credit: Ek Dori and subject to copyright)