Tuesday, May 10, 2011

q & a with Anisha Ghosh of Saffron Marigold

Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by, for leaving little notes that makes a blogger's day, for signing up in the Followers section. All this makes working on Cookie Jar so special. So please come in, settle down on large squishy cushions and woven rugs, sip from cups of coffee and tea, and let's talk about handmade love.

I love everything handmade. I’ve decorated my own home with handicrafts bought at exhibitions and craft bazaars, with paintings that my father, husband and I have done, and embroidery projects that my mother and I have worked on. The colours are warm, and there is so much handmade love. While each person has his or her own ideas about decorating, I personally believe that handmade things can make a house into a magical and beautiful home. There’s a story or memory behind each little trinket, and you know that like our fingerprints, no two pieces of handmade craft are the same.

If after this little paragraph, you’re in the mood for something handmade, then read on about Saffron Marigold and how its founder Anisha Ghosh started this unique and beautiful online boutique. And better still, get hold of the May issue of The Ideal Home and Garden that has an entire article about her business – written by me J. But before you step out to buy the magazine, why don’t you meet her first and chat a bit.

Hi Anisha and welcome to the Cookie Jar...

Anisha at the artisan studio

q. Please tell us about your professional background – companies and jobs that you’ve worked at before starting your business.

a. I have a Masters Degree in Human Resources from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. After completing my Masters degree I worked in Human Resources for approximately 5 years in companies both in India and the US.

q. How did you start your business? 

a. The idea to build a small business first came to me when as a young bride, having just arrived  in the US, I longed to decorate my home with beautiful Indian textiles; wishing their vibrancy would help lift the feelings of homesickness that frequently washed over me.

After working in corporate America for four years, a period that afforded me a fleeting ten days of vacation time in India a feeling of disconnect took seat within me. Although not a designer by education, I surrendered to my need to create a meaningful connection with the land of my birth and figure out a way in which I could somehow weave together my love for Indian textiles, my desire to do creative work and my growing fascination with the Internet and the immense possibilities it presented.

I also wanted to offer discerning customers a choice to own bedding and linens that have a story to tell, that have been created by human hands, and that somehow have imprinted upon its fibres, generations of skill, culture, and tradition.

After several months that consisted of taking a few classes, travelling, research, a lot of thinking, conceptualizing, ideating and work Saffron Marigold.com was launched in January 2005.

q. Tell us about the artisan you work with.

a. He comes from a line of ancestral hand block printers in Rajasthan. A commerce graduate by education, after cycling through a few accounting jobs he was quickly disillusioned with the unstable world of work. Therefore, he decided early on to take ownership in his destiny by starting his own block printing studio.

He employs 20 artisans now. These days he primarily plays the role of the colour master in the studio and along with two of his brothers manages all aspects of production.

q. What are the different products you offer under your brand?

Ans. We currently retail a range of cotton bedspreads, duvet covers, shower curtains, curtain panels, valances, tablecloths, table runners, napkins, pillow covers and cushion covers.

q. Where do you get your inspiration from?

a. I draw inspiration for my designs from memories, impressions from travel, or from India’s rich and diverse arts, culture and tradition. I also glean a lot of imagery from history, art, music, poetry, literature, architecture, fragrance, apparel and nature.

q. Please tell us about your business approach.

a. We have taken the slow and steady approach towards building our business. We were clear from the start that we weren’t in this to turn a quick profit. We wanted to build a business that was solid, sustainable and founded on values that were not only thought through but meticulously and intentionally woven into the various systems that the company runs on. At the risk of sounding clich├ęd, our entire journey has been blessed and memorable.

To hop over to Saffron Marigold, just click here.

Image Credit: Saffron Marigold

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