The Lifestyle Portal has a lot of regard for entrepreneurs who have given the country and its artisans a new lease of life. You would have seen for yourselves that we have featured a lot of people in our website who’re actively promoting rural art and craft at a global level.
It is not every day that we get to meet inspirational people like Shibani Jain who has beautifully blended the art of business and supporting rural art and craft by giving the later the right platform.
The Lifestyle Portal caught up with Shibani, a Craft Designer from NID Ahmedabad, with 21 years work experience of which 12 years have been dedicated to Indian craft and folk art.
She shares with us her vision, her passion for promoting rural art and craft and her journey so far with Baaya Design.
When did it all begin?
Baaya Design was launched in the year 2009 after testing their model through exhibitions and trade fairs. The inspiration to start Baaya Design was the availability of varied art skills across India and the fact that these skills were not readily available in the urban market.
“The ability to offer art, surface treatments and create solutions that map markets of today is what inspired us. Unknown to many people, there are over 40 varieties of art forms across India. The traditional art of Miniatures or the tribal art of Warli is well known, but an art form like Sohrai or Khovar from Jharkhand or Santhal art is not really recognized. Other than this, there are a number of surface art available like Kutch Lipaikam, Terracotta Tile work, Dokra and Wrought Iron work, Bidri work, Wood and Metal Jalli work. These and other art forms can be used to create murals, art furniture, doors & partitions and many other solutions, to create an aesthetic spatial experience. There is a lacuna in the presentation and availability of good art and craft skills in India,” explains Shibani.
Initial & Branding
Even though it started with a very small investment, Baaya Design has recently invested afresh and is working on many projects.
“We now have a 1600 sq ft store in a premium locality in Mumbai and are investing in creating the right team,” adds Shibani.
She further explains, “Baaya stands for distinctive craftsmanship and design. Like the Indian weaver bird (Baaya), we offer the best skills in combination with utility and beauty in our products. Our unique and natural range speaks of India’s age old exquisite skills while mapping the demands of current day markets. In other words, our products are contemporary expressions of traditional skills. People view Baaya Design as an authentic place to get art and craft based solutions and products.”
Shibani shares with us how Baaya Design has faced a few challenges in its journey and how they have overcome them.
Baaya Design has to inform and educate buyers about the variety of art and craft skills available and what can be done with them- how they can work on walls/furniture/different materials. Buyers believe that if its traditional skills, it may not be contemporary and this is a mistaken notion. There are so much variety and customization possibilities that are available today that it is possible to create contemporary expressions of these art and craft forms. This requires a substantial time and effort from Baaya Design in providing the right blend to their customers.
The other challenge is that all the Master artisans are living in far flung rural areas. Coordinating their time on projects is challenging as this is a largely unstructured sector. Availability of the right skills and producing to large scale is also a major challenge.
Shibani further adds, “Initially I had to find – the artisans and communicate our agenda to them and persuade them to work with us. Now, they approach us, as they have heard about us. I also find producers in exhibitions and craft melas.”
What makes Baaya Design unique
“Baaya Design offers innovative and customized Indian art and craft solutions that can fit into contemporary interior requirements. We stand for spaces that speak of eclectic, vibrant and natural styling,” smiles Shibani.
Products and quality control
Baaya Design commissions specific requirements to artisans, gets them produced and also buys their products or art selectively. They take pride in working directly with the artisans and producers.
They follow stringent quality control measures and provide value addition from their end like lacquering, varnishing, etc for protection of the products. Baaya Design also makes sure that their products will last and be free of defects arising out of weather conditions and usage.
You can pick up a variety of home décor items, figurines, art work, gifting items etc. within the price range from INR 300 to INR. 100,000 at Baaya Design. You can also opt for a customized art piece or art furniture or other home decor and lifestyle accessories from this unique store and design studio.
Marketing and promotion
“We undertake a lot of PR efforts. We also participate in trade fairs and exhibitions. We hold art workshops for our customers. Our major clients include corporates setting up new offices, new residential projects and restaurants. In fact, our products have been purchased by Anjali Tendulkar, Hema Malini, Javed Jaffrey, Vidya Balan, Anjali Patil and Shikha Sharma as well,” beams Shibani.
What’s your Story?
If you have a similar story to share just like Shibani where you’re single handedly doing your bit to spread the pride of our national heritage – be it a dance form, food, textile or art, do write in to us to get featured on The Lifestyle Portal.
Write to us with a short bio and profile about yourself and your work to [email protected] today!