Three girls armed with common interests for the love of travel and quirky designs have teamed up to form the highly creative design studio called the Cutting Chai Designs.
The Lifestyle Portal caught up with the three founders – 30-year-old Vishakha an architect who runs a store called ‘Ash and Teak’ in Raghuvanshi Mills in Mumbai, 29-year-old Ridhi a fashion designer and chocolate couturier and 27-year-old Tanvi a writer and communications professional.
These girls have pooled their talents, resources and ideas to create one of the wackiest design companies we’ve yet to see.
How did it begin?
The girls started toying with the idea of Cutting Chai Designs while on a vacation together in October last year. As ardent travellers, the girls would often come across quirky, fun home accessories and over spend on them because they just weren’t available in India.
“We thought we should do something fun with home accessories and stationery so that people who wouldn’t generally buy such things would also get tempted. But to create a differentiator, we tied in the concept of art. The idea was that just because everyone can’t afford to buy expensive canvases, they shouldn’t be denied its aesthetic value,” explains Vishakha.
So the girls started printing canvases on a range of home products, each with the signature of the artist, so that you too felt like you owned a piece of art and that it could become a part of your everyday life and not just a painting on the wall.
“Cutting Chai Designs, the name came after much debate. We wanted a name that encapsulates all that we’re trying to do and spent months trying to think of one. We finally gave up and settled on this name by fluke. It has nothing and everything to do with our brand. While it doesn’t have any relevance to the art or home aspect, it’s catchy, it’s fun and piques your curiosity – exactly what we intend our products to do,” smiles Ridhi.
The biggest challenge according to them is to get people to appreciate the art and exclusivity factor of their products.
“In India art hasn’t really percolated down to most people and while they love our prints, they don’t always appreciate the fact that it stems from an artist’s canvas and is hence exclusive,” mentions Ridhi.
But through their Twitter, Facebook and website, the girls are trying to promote the artists they work with so that people can know and understand their sensibilities. That is why Cutting Chai Designs also give a little note with each product that they sell, which introduces the consumer to the artist.
Vishakha further mentions, “The USP of Cutting Chai is simple – every single product is a piece of art and every artwork is patented to us. It is exclusive, beautiful and you will never find similar prints anywhere else; and to integrate this art with everyday life is a very new concept in India.”
Cutting Chai Designs patent artwork from different artists and then use those prints on bedspreads, placemats, coasters, runners, stationery etc. The artist can’t replicate the canvas they give Cutting Chai Designs, so combining those prints with their products makes it absolutely unique.
Connecting with the artists
“We look for artists everywhere – from galleries to universities. Anytime we see an artwork we like, we approach the artist. While our current collection is based on the works of three different artists; Sohan Jakhar, Taj Ali Naqvi and Gaurav Joshi our upcoming collection will have a whole new set of people we work with, adds Ridhi. And we are looking forward to our exciting new range. We want to do a lot more of tableware – crockery, cutlery and serving dishes will be a big part of it. We’re also looking at funky cushion covers, rugs and throws. We will also launch a fashion line soon,” adds Riddhi.
Promoting Cutting Chai
Before signing off Vishakha concludes, “We promote our products through social media and a lot of relevant press. One can currently buy our products at Ash and Teak, Raghuvanshi Mills, Mumbai, Ochre, Colaba Mumbai, Manan, Khan Market, New Delhi and Artisan’s Cottage, Ahmedabad. We will be up online at multiple portals in a few weeks, as well as across many stores in different cities.”
Cutting Chai Designs does not use any readymade products or works of craftsmen. They just use artworks by canvas artists and design all products in-house.
While the artist is always welcome to share ideas and thoughts with them, the girls take the final call on the product portfolio, designs and use of their prints. So every product they create is designed and produced in-house to assure the best quality.
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