“The question isn't who's going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.”
- Ayn Rand
This week, we would love to feature some incredibly powerful women whose achievements and conceptions in design have inspired the industry and changed the lives of many. Spanning from different age groups and segments of the design industry, we are privileged to have them associate with The House of Things. These women spearheaded the world of design and notched a place for themselves autonomously. Let’s salute them who came as a full circle; within them, the power to create, to nurture, and to transform.
It takes a true visionary like Sarita Handa to channel her passion for textiles to build a multimillion dollar company. 25 years ago, she started with nothing other than her name, a list of customers she wanted to be associated with, and a whole lot of zeal to create a brand with a heart. Today, driven by her passion for the arts, textiles and the finer things in life, she has set the tone for Sarita Handa Exports, the manufacturing arm of the business which does private label bedding for the likes of Pottery Barn, Macy’s, Ethan Allen, and Bloomingdale’s, to name a few. The daughter of the designer, Suparna Handa spearheads the brand today. Crafting an aura with her unique style, the mother-daughter duo’s energy and enthusiasm binds the whole team together.
It was a college freelance project for a boutique home store that got Thakurdas hooked to the thrill of designing fine tableware. After 12 years of working in corporate branding with the likes of Arvind, Aegon Religare, Network 18, and Miranda, Thakurdas decided to quit and launch her own porcelain brand. Each collection is a Limited Edition. Thus each piece is a collectible meant to be handed down over generations. Thakurdas’ quality standards and the use of fine porcelain makes for a smooth and flawless glaze and refined translucency in all her tableware. An intrepid traveller who ‘lives to travel’, Nishita Thakurdas’ designs are contemporary and global, yet firmly rooted in Indian aesthetics and artistic history.
Mother, filmmaker, teacher, social activist, and founder of Devrai Art Village in Panchgani, Mandakini Mathur is an inspiration and restorer of an indigenous art form. Mathur was teaching French at Sanjeevan Vidyalaya in Panchgani, where she met artist and teacher Suresh Pungati and together they incepted Devrai Art Village.
Devrai is also a training institute for indigenous art welcoming tribal apprentices and design school interns. “It’s slowly growing bigger, because I believe that traditions are always alive and evolving. Our patented rock Dhokra artifacts are a result of constant experimenting and new ideas” says the visionary Mandakini Mathur.
A noted figure in India’s fashion and design industry, Sabina has decades of experience as a mentor and brand/ business consultant to some of the country’s best known couturiers, cutting-edge design prodigies, luxury stores, online retail ventures, and the national fashion weeks. Her nuanced understanding of the industry aids her eagle-eyed accuracy of talent spotting. An avid traveller, she keeps an enviable black book and has insider access to a world of undiscovered treasures. As the design director of TheHouseofThings.com, Sabina has the keen eye to select the best interior and décor brands.
Sarah Sham Essajees
Sarah heads design at India’s foremost antique dealers-Essajees, the noted curators responsible for bringing the world’s most prized tapestries to India in the 1890’s. Sarah Mohamedi Sham joined the family business in 2009 after being trained in Art History at both Duke University in USA and Oxford University in England. Under Essajees Atelier, Sarah mingles the company’s rich heritage and culture catering to the modern customer with her contemporary design vision.