Friday, May 12, 2017

Under the Indian Influence - SMS Trading Company Inc. (Part 2) (Home/Gallery Tour)

Today we take a tour of some corners of Arti's abode in Atlanta, USA. You have already been introduced to this lovely lady and her incredible furniture boutique store SMS Trading Company Inc. Her home is an extension of the exquisite aesthetics that we are very well acquainted with after seeing her furniture gallery. Her home revels in displaying a deep cultural association and honors Indian artisans and their handiwork. Every room is flush with intricately hand carved furniture, hand picked décor accessories and splashes of well edited color. 

The Foyer announces Arti's style at the front door - eclectically Indian it is! Painted in a corn husk green, the foyer looks fresh and inviting throughout the year. Hand carved South-Indian style temple sculptures, a few potted plants and a sculptural brass candle holder, leave you begging to see more of Arti's wonderful home.

Those niches that you find so hard to style, here is a perfect solution!!! South-Indian style, temple statues, hand carved and hand painted made of fine timber wood. Don't miss out on the complementing wall corbels to frame those niches beautifully. The vibrant colors on these statues are reminiscent of the south Indian temple gopurams, looking magnificent against the bright blue skies. (Arti tells me that she has  an assortment of about 60 exquisitely carved statues stocked for sale. These pieces are one of a kind, so if you like something that you see or want to see the entire collection at SMS, make sure you reach out to Arti.)
Another challenging area to decorate is transition spaces. But Arti seems to have an answer to this common decorating dilemma. She had paired a sculptural tea-light holder from Home Goods with another one of her wooden statues and a rustic style mirror. By now you know you can expect the unexpected combinations in this home tour!
Crowning every room in the house has Arti's own signature line of furniture from SMS Trading. The exquisitely hand crafted furniture pieces have been relegated with the task of bringing an eclectic Indian vibe to this space. Ocher hues on the wall are the perfect backdrop for the richly colored teak furniture. The details of the hand carved pieces, the sinuous shapes and the regal vibes that they give off makes you instantly fall head over heels in love with this space.
An extended view of the the formal living room.
Coffee table books are a great way to showcase your interests. A collection of books (on all things Indian) is neatly stacked on the coffee table embodying Arti's affinity to her Indian roots. 
The "ta-da" element of the formal dining room has to be the ornate and very detailed dining table. The design inspiration for this beauty comes from the Wheels of the Konark Sun Temple. Infact, Arti tells me that it is one of the most sought after table designs at SMS Trading Company.
Arti also says that it never fails to stir up a conversation. She always finds herself explaining to her guests and customers about the inspiration behind this magnificent table, "The magnificent Konark temple is one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. It is known for its intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. It is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot of the Sun God, with seven horses and 24 exquisitely carved wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter. The huge intricate wheels of the chariot, which are carved around the base of the temple, are the major attractions of the temple. The spokes of these wheels serve as sundials, and the shadows formed by these can give the precise time of the day. On an esoteric level, the Sun symbolizes the divine Self within.” That was very informative indeed.
Though the space has a very open floor plan, this did not deter Arti from painting every room in a different paint color! The dining room is done up in a shade of paprika red that truly enhances the white moldings and the rich tones of the teak furniture. Now who wouldn't want to dine in here!!!!
To create a visual focus on the niche, Arti decided to paint it in a warm mustard hue. A framed textile piece make for the perfect alternative as art. Another splendid piece of furniture is the revolving bar (Yes, the middle door swings open inside-out! Arti has promised to share pictures of that another time soon.) with a top serving as a Buffet.
A good part of the warmth and color in Arti's place comes from the huge collection of statues! Each is sure to make a statement in any room! (FYI, totally crushing on those breezy paisley sheers! )
I know I can't get enough of these amazing looking traditional Indian statues....Knowing you all, I don't think you mind a picture heavy post either:)

Arti is a voracious reader and has an insatiable appetite for books and poetry. Here is a glimpse of Arti's collection of books in the family room. A few pillows tossed casually makes for an impromptu informal reading nook. 

The family room is the place where Arti hangs out often catching up on news or watching a movie with her favorite glass of wine in hand.
Arti's home office too has its fair share of the Indian charm !
The guest bedroom is deliberately minimally furnishes to establish a sense of calm and serenity. Also, Arti did not want to take away the focus from the stunning bed! She shares that she changes things in here frequently depending on her mood. Right now, a colorful Indian glass work bedspread brightens up this space!
With that we come to the end of this beautiful home tour. I hope you enjoyed the tour as much as I had fun bringing this to you. Arti is doing a commendable job of bringing a little bit of India to those of us who live in this part of the world. I'm so glad to have met a kindred spirit like her. I wish Arti only the very best that life has to offer! Connect with Arti on FB and follow her on Instagram. To experience the SMS Trading WOW-factor in person, please write to Arti at or call her at +1 (678) 445-3756 (Landline) to set up an appointment for your visit. (Also, incase you missed part 1 of the feature, click here to see it all)

(Image  Copyright/Credit : SMS Trading Company Inc. The images may not be copied or reproduced for commercial or non-commercial purpose without the prior written permission from Arti and TECD.) 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Decidedly Indian in Appeal - SMS Trading Company Inc.! (Part 1) (Gallery Tour)

I've unearthed a gem of a furniture boutique that's based here in Atlanta, USA - "SMS Trading Company Inc". For those of you looking to create a home (here in the US) away from home (India), this is your answer to creating that visual symbolic link in your home to showcase your roots. Each piece at SMS is decidedly Indian and exemplifies the highest standards in terms of quality. Choices range from SMS's signature teak furniture line, hand carved wooden panels to South Indian style temple statues.
Expertly hand crafted, the signature furniture collection is versatile enough to complement a variety of decor styles - from traditional Indian, eclectic to a touch of Indian in a global/transitional or contemporary style of setting.  The refined pieces are sure to create dramatic interiors that exude an ambiance of nobility and sophistication. Arti, the heart and soul of SMS, either hand picks the pieces or as in the case of the signature line exclusively designs and customizes the collection herself, in collaboration with her in-house design and manufacturing base in India. Her passion for the Indian heritage and her interest in decor shines right through in every piece. The furniture boutique has a home gallery setup, judiciously displayed on various floors and an additional warehouse ready to ship goods globally!
I had so much to share about this lovely space that I decided to do a two part feature on SMS Trading Company. The first, is a showcase of her furniture and traditional sculptures boutique store and the next is going to be a tour of part of Arti's private home that highlights the pieces in a home environment.
TECD: Arti, so glad to have you here on TECD! Let's start by asking you to share a little about yourself?
Arti: "Thank you Sruthi for this lovely showcase here on TECD! I am blessed to be who I am and where I am, to be born to and nurtured by loving parents who gave me the values I live by and who are now my guardian angels! By education, I am a Chemical Engineer. I worked professionally in Project Management for International Engineering Consultancies, both in India and the US and then became an Entrepreneur by choice and started my own Company - SMS Trading Company Inc., in 2002. I love Décor, Travel, Music, Nature, Poetry, Photography, Technology, Reading, Reflecting, Experiencing.....and being an Eternal Curious Student!
TECD: Tell us more about your transitional journey from being a Chemical Engineer to an Entrepreneur?
Arti: "Sometimes, not getting what you want is the best stroke of luck! I worked my 8-5 job for a good decade and lived a structured “within the box” life. I was a Project Engineer but it was a black and white world of sorts where your path crossed mostly with folks of similar educational background and orientation, who spoke and conducted themselves in a predictable “in the box”, “within the lines” fashion so, while the functionality of the role was fine, nothing more stirred inside... And then it happened... the Engineering Company I worked for went through a reorganization and many Engineering positions became redundant. It came as a forced break and what we call as a setback in traditional terms but that was the turning point of recognizing what lay dormant within and that when stirred was frightening but turned into something beautiful and fulfilling.
My left brain was cajoling my right brain and my beautiful journey with colors, décor, vibrancy and creativity was about to begin! I still love technology and tools and gadgets but I am equally at home in a creative, abstract world where I can intuitively and naturally put things together rather well. Discovering, creating, decorating comes naturally to me and I can say I have a very good eye and a keen sense of décor and balance. And thus, SMS Trading Company was born in 2002. I named my Company after my dad’s initials (SMS) who passed on in 2001."
TECD: What is the USP and Inspiration behind the collections/curated pieces at SMS Trading Company Inc.?
Arti: "My USP for everything that I design, create or source is that it is handmade. These are NOT bulk, cookie cutter, machine made pieces that are just functional but have no conversational value. My pieces have design inspiration drawn from our rich cultural heritage and trademark talent of Artisans that create them by hand, one piece at a time! If one understands the journey of these pieces from concept and creation to being door delivered to their homes here in the US and other parts of the World, one will truly appreciate what we do."
TECD: Owning a non-traditional style furniture boutique, how has the experience been so far?
Arti: "Very rewarding! I welcome people into my personal space as I would welcome and relate to my friends and that, in turn, also makes them immediately feel comfortable and “at home” and they also respond and engage positively and almost always leave as friends, well wishers and Evangelists and start becoming my extended family and opening up their homes and hearts to me. It just happens naturally.
Since the people who walk through my doors call me first and come through some referred channel, I have not had any negative experience of opening up my home to them. I truly feel that if we live and do business from our hearts and with integrity and treat everyone the same as they walk through our doors, the inherent goodness in people also comes to the surface. Everybody appreciates warmth, honesty and respect. 
I enjoy the Creative expression, Freedom, Flexibility and having this platform to meet people from all walks of life and backgrounds that has made this journey truly beautiful and has enriched my life and me as a person."
TECD: Is your personal style insync with that showcased at SMS Trading Company Inc.?
Arti: "Yes, I like things that people make with hands that are perfect in their somewhat imperfect beauty. I have mixed pieces in couple of rooms to show how the décor can be eclectically mixed up. I love collecting accessories from around the world and tie them in with our beautiful handmade carved furniture. I have also picked up pieces from my travels from roadside vendors and from under piles of forgotten items sitting in a corner and whatever I bring back has a soul that speaks to people.
I am also very fond of handmade traditional wood sculptures and temple carvings that I also source and sell and have them all over my house. I have people urging me to get into selling home décor accessories as they love everything I have in my house and want to buy it! I am looking to add that on to my core business of Furniture and Sculptures. I do, however, carry small gift items like framed Art, traditional lamps etc. at all times."
TECD: What life lessons would you like to share with my readers? 
Arti: "Life is a beautiful journey of growth and reinventing yourself and peeling back layers and discovering many new layers within. If you just gather the courage and break your shackles (whatever they may be!) and be open to and truly engage with life, life also responds back and reveals itself to you in so many different and beautiful hues that just like the proverbial caterpillar who thinks it is going to die, you become a butterfly!
I have also learnt that true success and freedom is when you can live life on your own terms, in an environment that is a reflection of your true essence and is in sync with your energy language. It is a blossoming of sorts where you rearrange the building blocks of your life and create an environment that reflects who you are and what speaks to you and what speaks to others about you."
Those were some extremely important words of wisdom that we needed to hear. After that wonderful furniture gallery tour, aren't you all geared up to make room for some of these beauties in your home. Take a browse through her website (limited access from certain locations). Connect with Arti on FB and follow her on Instagram (New to this space!). To experience the SMS Trading WOW-factor in person, please write to Arti at or call her at +1 (678) 445-3756 (Landline) to set up an appointment for your visit. Arti also strongly recommends that potential customers call ahead of time and talk to her so that they can get a sense of what SMS Trading Company is all about and in turn Arti may understand your custom decor requirements better and answer any questions you may have.
FYI: The Memorial Day weekend, SMS Trading Company will be in St. Louis showcasing some of their signature furniture and  decor accessories. Those of you who would like more details on this, please contact Arti via mail/phone (deets provided above). 

Stay tuned for part 2!!! You don't want to miss it........

(Image  Copyright/Credit : SMS Trading Company Inc. The images may not be copied or reproduced for commercial or non-commercial purpose without the prior written permission of Arti and TECD) 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Introducing Jewelry Brand "Mahasara" (Featured Brand)

At TECD, we believe in promoting and shining the spotlight on small business entrepreneurs engaged in producing handmade products. The passion with which these individuals steer their business is contagious. Every product created has a part of the creator’s heart and soul embedded in the product! Supporting them in any way means empowering them to dream bigger and rallying the cause for ethically sourced products. Today, our new debutant in the field of handmade jewelry is Jayanthi Kanderi with her creative venture, “Mahasara”! 
Founder of Jewelry label "Studio Mahasara", Jayanthi Kanderi, flaunting one of her own creations!
Currently based out of Atlanta, USA, Jayanthi was born and raised in Chennai. Having parents who constantly fed her curious and creative brain with art shows, trade fairs, street fairs, book fairs, classical concerts and all things cultural, the love to “create" was inculcated at a very young age. Further, armed professionally with an MBA and Diplomas in Textile Design, Fashion Technology and Visual Design, Jayanthi shares, “these have helped shape and prepare me for what I am doing now”. I’ve known Jayanthi (virtually) for a while now and have always admired her personal sense of style when it came to dressing. There was always a “je ne sais quoi” charm to her. This also extends to her very first collection at Mahasara, titled "Hema Malini". This capsule collection has simple yet refined pieces that gravitate towards an ethnic Indian style. Her astute and imaginative eye, deftly combine traditional ethnic pendants with colorful beads and semi precious stones to create one-of-a-kind pieces that exude understated elegance. I got chatting with the lovely lady and wanted to delve more into her creative process of jewelry making and know more about her new journey.
Lapis lazuli beads with sterling silver dolki beads and a grand sterling silver pendant. 
TECD: Hello and welcome to TECD, Jayanthi! Mahasara is a very unique name. Tell us more about its significance? 
Jayanthi: "So excited to be here on TECD! The name Mahasara is one of the 1008 names Goddess Lakshmi Devi is known by. Mahasara in Sanskrit literally translates to great knowledge. I’d also like to make a mention of the logo design - the beautiful lotus flowers were done by artist Aarti Karwayun.
Orange coral beads accented with green onyx and black and white bone beads from Africa with an antique tribal pendant.
TECD: How did the idea for Mahasara germinate? 
Jayanthi: "Its been a long and joyful journey for me. Growing up I've been fortunate enough to travel and I would always end up bringing back some jewelry (I still do). I would pick up odd trinkets at local markets and string them on a cord. I immensely enjoyed having one of a kind unique pieces. Then I moved to the US and discovered Gem and Bead shows. Lo and behold, I started collecting beads. I've religiously attended every show I possibly could for the last 17 odd years. I have a collection of old and new beads from all over the world. I did a basic beading class back in 2010 in one of the local stores and have been making my own since then. My last 9 to 5 job came to an end a couple of years ago and there was nothing else I could think of doing other than make jewelry. That's how Mahasara was born.
Pink Sapphire with garnets and Sterling silver pendants.
TECD: When it comes to the topic of having a competitive edge, what would you say is your USP?
Jayanthi: "Apart from doing silver and beaded jewelry I am also a Metal smith and Mixed media artist. I enrolled in Mixed media design a couple of years ago and I am still learning new techniques every day. My work will include plenty of handcrafted pieces made from copper, glass, brass and bronze in different techniques. I truly believe they are bound to stand out. "
Deep yellow Recycled glass krobo beads from Africa accented with Corals and rudraksh. The pendant is sterling silver with gold plating
TECD: Do give us an insight into your design process? 
Jayanthi: "With beads and ethnic silver, the material itself is enough to create. I never really start with a plan and the necklace takes its own course and always surprises me. But with metal work or mixed media designing I need a plan. I had to learn how to draw the design on paper with the exact measurements. Then decide on the material, gauge of the metal, the technique, the patina and tools. Its a very fascinating process with endless possibilities. I am lucky enough to have fellow jewelry artists and my instructor Rochelle Nation was always ready to help with ideas and advise. I am very lucky in that aspect."
Turquoise rondelle beads with a sterling silver amulet.
TECD: How strong would you say is the Indian influence on your design process? 
Jayanthi: "You can take a girl out of India but you cant take India out of a girl. Having travelled from Kashmir to Kanyakumari I have an immense love and fascination for India and all that it is. India and its mythology will always be my muse. 

Having said that, inspiration also comes to me from every thing I see, feel and take in. A few years ago Divya Thomas of Karmasuthra Jewelry talked to me in length about how her work is inspired. I don’t think I understood back then. My inspiration at that point was only the material in front of me. So I took time to satisfy the subconscious and I slowly started doing the kind of work that made me happy. And the designs came easily. No second guessing. After finishing a piece I would look at it and I can see how it was inspired by a painting I loved or the ever changing scene outside my window."
Amethyst Druzy beads with an old sterling silver amulet.
TECD: Any insider scoop on what’s on your cards next when it comes to Mahasara?
Jayanthi: "Future plans include plenty of metal and conceptual art jewelry. And maybe a line of Men's jewelry! 

I am only getting started and there has been so much support and love. I have to say a special thanks to my social media friends who are always so uplifting. And to the many many wonderful jewelry artists who are doing amazing work and are so very kind and encouraging. These artists have stretched the dreams of so many women like me. It truly is about community over competition and I am loving it :)
Lapis lazuli beads accented with swaroski crystal beads and a chunky sterling silver amulet.
Pieces from the Hema Malini collection are versatile enough to be styled either with traditional Indian attire or western outfits. To order from the lovely collection seen here, connect with Jayanthi on Instagram and Facebook. Mahasara will be coming up with their spanking new virtual boutique soon, so make sure you stay connected for regular updates. 

Thank you Jayanthi for sharing your special moment with us. Truly feel honored that you chose TECD as your debut platform. We are so excited for you and Mahasara! We wish only the very best for you in your creative endeavor!

(Image Credit: Mahasara. Please do not use the images without the prior written permission of Jayanthi Kanderi)