Sustainable livelihood for Indian brands and lots of handcrafted options as souvenirs for those who want a little of bit India around them at this shop, founded by Delhi-based entrepreneur Mamtaa Gupta.
Words & photographs: Ambica Gulati
With a six-year-old store in Delhi’s Lado Sarai, Mamtaa Gupta has now opened a store in Mehrauli near Qutub Minar. The store houses products which are purely Indian and made by Indians. Spread across the shop are apparel, bags, jewellery, body care, stationery, footwear, soft toys, black pottery, paintings, home furnishings and more. There are over 50 different brands here and the platform acts as an aggregator for the multiple smaller organisations who believe in keeping the crafts alive.
Trained in textiles and with a PhD in Kanjivaram saris, she started a range of stitched salwar kameez under the brand ‘Kutir’ and opened her first retail store in 1986 and sold her products in London too. She ran Kutir for 18 years (1985-2003) and adopted a village in Bhuj Kutch too. The journey turned towards the high end market when she designed and created the Arabic Jalabiyas as wedding and formal wear and a prêt fusion line in 2003. She has participated in fashion shows in Dubai and launched Tribal Route branded home décor products. In 2010, she founded Blue Lotus under which comes ‘Buzzaria Dukaan’. Here, she houses her own brands too.
Products from over 10 NGOS can be bought here. To name some, Atulya Kala works with deaf artists and there is a range of bags and posters; Astitva has given crochet toys and coasters; body care and skin care products from Neev; Avni from the Kumaon region has kept saris and stoles, organic kumkum and more. Among the dying crafts are the black pottery products as there are very few artisans left for this kind of work. Also there are products from other pan-India organisations.
“The challenge is sustainability,” says Gupta. As the products are reasonably priced, the store needs more volumes of sales to offer a fair amount of profit for all concerned. “It’s a fragile project and funding is always a crucial criterion.”
So even as people keep approaching her, she has to be selective in choosing what products to keep. And for the Lado Sarai store, she now has plans to make it a higher end one. And as she has been a mentor with BizDivas for three years in a row for their annual project ‘Mentoring Walk’, she has been accepted by Cherie Blair Foundation as a mentor for their next mentoring programme. Even as the challenges continue, the lady keeps walking the sustainability path for this work involves ‘working with the soul and not mere commercials’. There are plans to participate in exhibitions across Mumbai and Dubai too.
Address: Buzzaria Dukaan, Bhram House F/343 Lado Sarai, Old M.B. Road, Mehrauli, Near Crescent, New Delhi 110030
The Qutub Tiffin ,Ten Style Mile, Opposite Qutub Minar, New Delhi 110030