As we proceed towards the next stage of globalisation a number of changes are on the horizon. The entire story on how business is conducted and how supply chain management is put to use is being re-written.
Utilizing the resources at my disposal for my start-up firm I thought it is was in my best interest to market Indian products using the internet. The western mentality for “Indian” products is still very stereotyped. Consumers are not yet aware of the potential of our designers and craftsmen, hence, a new market had to be created for Indian designer products, and this is how Design Emporia came into existence.
After completing my bachelors in interior design I worked for two years with architect Abhimanyu Dalal in Delhi on various high-profile residential projects. Later, I went to pursue a Masters in History, Theory and Criticism from the prestigious Architectural Association, London, following which I started working on research and conservation projects like Bhagat Singh’s Museum, the Heritage Village in Amritsar, the conservation plan for the Red Fort in Delhi, conservation of 8th century temples in coastal Orissa and the Indian Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand, to name a few.
It was only after my marriage to Raman that the concept of Design Emporia was born. Raman and I wanted to combine our interests and background to start a new venture. Raman is a computer engineer with an MBA in international business. Having previous experience in E-governance with the State of Karnataka, Raman was interested to explore the potential of the growing E-commerce industry in India. While I wanted to tap the growing interest in design, especially design from India amongst global consumers.
I must thank Mahesh Gupta (CMD, Kent RO) and Varun Gupta (Director, Kent RO) who have played crucial roles in establishing and promoting our new business. Thus Design Emporia, the world’s first virtual ‘mall’ of Indian designers, went live in February 2012. Currently the website features 40+ Indian designers and 1000+ products.
Instead of treating Designemporia.in as a virtual shop focussing on deals and discounts, I see it as an institution to bring together brilliant designers of India under one roof. It is perhaps the only large-scale portal which targets the high-end, quality-conscious, luxury market.
Instead of promoting itself as a ‘value for money’ destination, Design Emporia has successfully positioned itself as a one-stop-destination for appreciating the genius of Indian design.
For designers owning a shop in designemporia.in is literally like having one’s own e-commerce website, without the hassles of logistics, insurance, a payment gateway and other back-end management issues. Design Emporia gives designers the added benefit of free promotions, marketing and generating guaranteed footfalls in their stores.
An interesting feature to look out for on designemporia.in is the E-Gallery. Every month, the website hosts an exhibition of innovative, limited edition products. The exhibition is curated by an eminent person from the industry. The current exhibition called “Art and Craft through Design” is curated by Kanika Mahadevwala from Ahmedabad.
As an entrepreneur it becomes even more important for me to tap potential designers whose designs pay off in the long run. In an effort to do so we also offer upcoming designers a scholarship program on our website which helps them promote their label free of cost.
A good design as I see or define it incorporates the multiple design sensibilities and philosophies which beautifully co-exist within India. They could be traditional, contemporary, minimalistic, kitsch and sustainable among the many other varieties. It has been my earnest effort to turn Design Emporia into a one-stop destination to explore the growing number of designers, products and concepts that India can offer.
In the past we have showcased established designers such as Gunjan Gupta, Anand and Anuj Ambalal, Annupam Poddar of Devi Designs to name a few, and as we proceed in our design journey we look forward to joining hands with upcoming talented designers from across the country.