Success Stories

UrbanKala – When Art meets Urban

The Lifestyle Portal is a big fan of everything handmade and of talented people who create magic with mundane objects in life. 

While surfing through the social networking sites on a boring Monday, we spotted an indigo coloured owl (yes, we’re very fond of owl and elephant designs) staring at us with its hypnotic eyes that were painted so strikingly that we HAD to get one for ourselves.

We bought one and now we sport it proudly during our evening walks by the sea with the baby in the stroller and make many a heads turn as they admire our prized hand painted an owl on a simple jute bag.

Some months ago we held a Winter Recipe Contest and gave away handmade and hand painted goodies to all you lovely readers who took home an UrbanKala merchandise.

So if you’re wondering how you can get a hold of one of these bags and other handmade UrbanKala goodies, you can pick up some from The Lifestyle Portal’s Online Shopping section at juicy discounts!

Now it’s time to meet the self-taught artist who creates magic with jute, coconut shells, old glass bottles and more!

The Lifestyle Portal caught up with 27-year-old Mumbai-based Savita Gopalakrishnan Iyer a Commerce graduate from Mithibai College, Mumbai and holds aPost Graduate Degree on Texturing and Lighting from Takshaa Academy for Artists, Bangalore.

She’s been working in the animation industry for the last five years as a texturing and a lighting artist and currently, she’s a full-time faculty with a film school in Mumbai.

How did it all begin?

“Urbankala’s major inspiration was to have a complete creative freedom that I was majorly missing in animation studios and also I knew that painting is what I would love to do 24×7,” says Savita.

Initial investment

She started with an initial investment was Rs. 1,000/- to buy some bags and paints and once that was sold in a small exhibition, it encouraged Savita to start making some more and gradually she introduced other home decor items which include kitschy wall clocks, keyholders, folders, jewellery and lots more.

Challenges faced 

“My challenge has always been to stay creative all the time and coming up with new designs in this competitive business,” says Savita. She further adds, “I’ve also faced a problem of maintaining creativity in bulk quantities as it was not possible to paint the same bag again and again.

So now I paint and create assorted pieces which ultimately has become UrbanKala’s USP – where you never get two pieces of the same kind and all my customers get to own a designer piece in best price!”

What makes Urban Kala so unique? 

“UrbanKala’s uniqueness lies in the detailing I do and the passion I have in painting every piece beautifully making it a designer piece. I also customise gifts as per the client’s requirement such as the bottle art that you can see on my Facebook page,” smiles Savita.

Raw materials used

The major raw materials used at UrbanKala are wood such as sleeper wood and pressed wood sheets, jute and ceramics that she sources from the wholesalers and she also has a team of tailors and carpenters working for her to help construct the main structures such as trays, clock, coaster cases etc.

Products and pricing

What can you find at UrbanKala? Well, apart from the hand painted bags, jute folders, you can pick from a wide choice of wooden painted jewellery, wall clocks, clay sculptures, paperweights, hand painted trays, paintings, bottle art, coasters, placemats and lots more, all within a price range of Rs. 100 to Rs. 4,000.

The products are easy to maintain that can be cleaned with a simple dry brush or you can try wiping them with a damp cloth and wash the bags in cold running water, with the best part being, all the colours used by UrbanKala are safe and nontoxic!Pick up one of the UrbanKala goodies through the Lifestyle Portal and you could also get a free painted Urban Kala jute mobile pouch on

Brand promotion & clientele

Savita adds, “Our major promotion happens on Facebook and through and The Lifestyle Portal as well. A couple of journalists have also featured UrbanKala in some leading newspapers that have also given us the edge.”

Recently Savita painted a set of bottle art for several celebrities for an event called ‘Cinema 100’ that was celebrating 101 years of Indian cinema where she was commissioned to make some customised bottle art to be presented to the very talented new age directors who had attended a workshop in their film school.

This is where some of the stalwarts from Indian cinema such as – Vikram Aditya Motwane, Gauri Shinde, Amol Gupte , Vishal Bharadwaj, Dibakar Banerjee, Ashi Dua, Javed Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Dia Mirza and Salim Khan each received one of UrbanKala’s unique and gorgeous bottle art!

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The Lifestyle Portal

Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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