And then there were more….photos

Mark Henderson (our super talented photographer) and Team Purvaai spent a gruelling day of filling cushion covers, climbing on boxes to hang curtains on trees, and talking to Farmer James and his dog for permission to use his farm gate, and side stepping Thames Valley Police while we played around with a bench by a roadside! Yes, we were on our latest photo shoot and what a day it was.

Phew…now we have some cracking shots of our latest hand crafted products including cushions, throws, tote bags, curtain panels et all. With our focus on texture and detail at Top Drawer this year, this new range coming soon to our website will be spot on if you care for the craft while glamming up your home. Stay tuned to our website and in the meanwhile enjoy the photo journey of our latest shoot here…..

Windsor and Maidenhead-20131008-00844 throws4 bench7 _MG_9889 bench4 curtain ties collection2 _MG_9869 _MG_9867 totebags2Windsor and Maidenhead-20131008-00851

Purvaai’s Autumn Winter collection launch at Top Drawer Autumn, 2012

We’ve just wrapped up all the frenzy of post trade show activity like booking orders, making sure the supply chain is handling the demand and toasting to the most successful showing till date! Exhibiting at Top Drawer Autumn 2012 was a very wise decision in retrospect despite all the drama before and during the show – what with some of the samples arriving the day before AND our stand having no walls to it. See how the trade show progressed in pictures. Here is how the stand looked like at the end of the setting-up.

Top Drawer Autumn 2012 stand

Here’s what we had to say about our participation in the trade show and our brand new collections.

Apart from all the serious stuff, we made some fab friends with our neighbors at the trade show. They all are enterprising entrepreneurs, with some fantastic products and great big smiles! Thanks for making all the effort so much fun!

Odd Co

Odd co – they make the grooviest cases for e-readers, i-phones – very cool

Matt from Buddha Board

Matt from Buddha Board – a really relaxing way of doodling – and no paint mess to clear after


Karenza of Karenza & Co – we’ve crossed path at both trade shows this year – so feels like we are on the journey together

Potina Vuyisa

Potina Vuyisa – a South African ceramic artist with the widest smile ever and the most gorgeous products

And finally us, feeling quite chuffed with the whole experience! We will be at Top Drawer Autumn 2013….hope to see all our friends again and wishing them the very best till then!

LtoR – Tarangini, Priya and Sonali

Top Drawer Autumn… next chapter in our trade journey

Having bet on Top Drawer as our launch trade show in January this year, and coming away from it with many retail contacts and a few orders to sustain us, we were quite happy with the start of our trade career. So choosing to be back at the show this Autumn with a new set of collections, hoping to have another crack at the retail buyers, we must be stark raving mad!!

But there is method in this madness (or atleast we hope so!) as we are doing so many things which we missed out with our first show. We have the samples ready well in advance, stylized images evoking a sense of luxury are out into the digital world, press releases about our very many inspirations written and blogged, a feature in a trade mag BEFORE the trade show, invitations to the buyers sent out so that they receive them well in advance AND wardrobe for three days of high power sales sorted!

All we need is for hordes of buyers to flock at our stand (B122 in the Gift isle), gush at all the gorgeous colours and designs (a little bit of gushing is very good for the ego) but at the end of it all BUY our products! The other thing we have worked on (apart from the look of the wardrobe) is the product pricing – we have many many designs in the affordable range so that Purvaai’s gorgeousness can spread across many homes this Christmas (oooh we like the sound of that – Santa you have some serious competition!)

Visit us at Stand B122 at Top Drawer Autumn, 16-18 September 2012, London Olympia.

One more step forward (and a HUGE one it is)

Purvaai's Core Collection

After an activity-filled start to 2012 at Purvaai, today marks yet another new beginning!

We are very happy to announce the launch of our eCommerce site – You can now browse through our unique collections on our site, select your favourite products and buy them right then and there.

So what are you waiting for? Shop now for Purvaai’s exquisite products – from anywhere in the world – as long as you only need delivery within the UK*!

We are also pleased to report the great response we’ve received to our Textile Design Competition.

Our impressive judges’ panel only helped to generate greater interest and we’re still receiving registrations every day. So, Purvaai has decided to extend the registration deadline to April 30th 2012. If you know of anyone who wants to apply but has been worrying they’ve missed the deadline, please tell them they can still participate.

*Because at present we only ship within the British Isles including Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Jersey and the Channel Islands. But to those of you who live elsewhere, don’t worry, we’re working on delivering our products all over the world.

London…we are ready to LAUNCH!

What should a little known start up like ours do to attract attention? Dance on the London rooftops aka Mary Poppins or arrive in a sleek Aston Martin aka James Bond. Quintessentially British – and oh yes that’ll attract attention – of the London Metropolitan Police and NOT the retailers (rolling eyes)!!

So we have resorted to more traditional methods (not anywhere as exciting as the above – but realistic) like getting featured in a trade magazine, inviting retailers by sending them postcards and listing ourselves in the exhibition directory.

Progressive Gift and Home feature

Progressive Gifts and Home is a renowned trade magazine with 7000+ worldwide circulation. They always do a feature article on new products showcasing at Top Drawer. We are thrilled to bits that they agreed to feature us as one of the highlights. Not bad, eh?

We are eternally grateful to Anita Mackenzie ( and Lisa Long ( for all their advice and support, both having previously exhibited at Top Drawer. Taking their suggestion of being proactive before the actual trade show, we created postcards with some of our snazziest images and posted it out to our target retailers. This invitation also gives a sneak preview of what to expect at our exhibition stand! Like we always say, what would we do without friends like you? Anita and Lisa, thank you ever so much!

Postcard Front

Postcard Back

Lastly, what happens when the buyers have had a look around, grabbed the goodie bags, downed a litre of coffee and taken the exhibitor directory back home. Aha, we have covered this avenue too with a detailed listing of Purvaai for them to refer to at leisure.

And the hysteria is just beginning – wish us luck!

Lights, Camera, Action!

During the debut year of our company, we have been fortunate to get advice and help from many of our close friends. Manasi Kashyap is one such friend who is not only an astute business woman herself but also a very gifted photographer. Our friendship was sealed over two decades ago by a momentous incident where I broke a school window and Manasi came to my rescue. Since then we have shared many lunch boxes, rides on smoke spewing scooters, our teenage sorrows and grown-up aspirations.

If I try tracing back the beginnings of my interest in art and home décor, I will surely land up at one of the tastefully done homes by Manasi’s mum, Rizwana Kashyap. With both our families hopping from one city to another on account of our dads, our mum’s tried very hard to make the dreary old government houses look like welcoming family homes. Rizwana aunty, a very talented artist herself, always succeeded in injecting the Indian charm into her home with billowing curtains reminiscent of ‘Durbars’, vibrant patchwork bedspreads, skillfully embroidered cushion covers and wall art. Their homes, whether a small city apartment in Mumbai or an idyllic bungalow in Nasik, have always been a source of inspiration to me.

Two decades hence, Manasi and I both find ourselves in London, pursuing our passions. Manasi has set up her successful lifestyle photography business where she captures people at their natural best. It is such a refreshing departure from the rigid posing for photographs and smiling despite your mutinous inner feelings. When I requested Manasi if she would do a session with us for our website, she agreed immediately. Her suggestion to shoot in a park worked out wonderfully for us – it portrays us as the young energetic trio we are, rather than patronizing matrons. As you can see, we had the most fantastic time doing the shoot, all thanks to Manasi for putting us at ease instantly. You can see more of her fantastic work on her website.

Manasi, thank you and good luck! XX


Brand Ahoy! (Part II-The hunt for the perfect logo)

In my time at TiE-Boston, the Boston USA chapter of a worldwide business-networking not-for-profit organization, I had worked in Marketing and Communication.

Each year for the annual conference, we commissioned a brochure. This work had been awarded three years in a row to an advertising and design agency based in Pune by the name of Studio Blossoms. They kept getting repeat orders from TiE-Boston because they were just that good!

In that time, the proprietor, Prasad Rasal, had become a friend. When we realized we needed a logo for Purvaai, I knew I wanted to go to Prasad and his team at Studio Blossoms. Their work had been exemplary and they were very, very good about understanding client requirements. Luckily, my partners Sonali and Priya were open to that.

When I mentioned to Prasad that we’d started our own business, he was genuinely happy for us and asked what he could do to help. I explained what we needed- a logo that would stay on with anyone who came into contact with us, one as beautiful as the products we would sell.

As always, he understood perfectly and was super-supportive. So much so that he gave us a break on his regular charges for these services! This was, to a small start-up like ours, a huge deal.

Logo options as provided by StudioBlossoms, Pune

All the gorgeous logos we had to REJECT to pick the best one!!! Criminal waste, we say.

Within a week or so of us having communicated our requirements for a logo, Prasad’s very efficient and extremely talented team had already created no fewer than SEVEN logos!

All of them were beautiful and very relevant to our positioning. They had interpreted the brief so well that all we needed to do was select our favourite. Of course, again, like with the brand name, this was easier said than done. But we managed- the winning logo you can see at the top of this page.

Just like Prasad and Studio Blossoms, there are many others; Photographers, PR professionals, Designers, other e-Commerce retailers and many more, who have helped us in our journey towards becoming successful. Some have offered price breaks, others advice we wouldn’t get anywhere else. One of the things we hope to do through this blog is also thank all these individuals and hopefully get the word out about them. Purvaai supports other small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Brand Ahoy! (Part I)

The very next thing, which actually came out of deciding on “Contemporary Tradition” as our USP was the realization that we needed to build a ‘Brand’.

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” This, we believe, is a very good definition of a Brand. It certainly was those same things- Name, term, design, symbol etc. that we had now to think of.

We needed to ensure, our products would be instantly recognizable as being ours, so that in the future people would choose them and ask for them over anyone else’s.

So we started bandying about names. We thought of a number of names- descriptive ones, Indian sounding ones, even unusual ones that actually had nothing to do with our products! We thought it would be fun for us to list here just a few of the names discussed that didn’t make the cut:

The @rtsy Home
The Crafty Needle
Craftesia/ CraftAsia

At this point, we had all developed a brain ache! The suggestions started getting wackier and wackier! One of the names was misheard on a Skype conference call. This name was “Purvaai”. But that was serendipitous! All of a sudden, all three of us realized, it fit with our USP and our ideology, perfectly. In a matter of seconds, we’d all agreed to this name. Isn’t that often how things work? Stuff just seems to fall into place.

The next stage in Branding was creating the logo. Watch this space for Part II of this post, which describes how we did that.

…but what’s so special about YOU?

We’d already decided we wanted to share our love for unique home décor products by marketing decorative soft linen in exquisite designs, which would be very different from anything anyone had ever seen before. But at the same time we realized there were probably hundreds of home linen marketers out there thinking exactly the same thing! This brought home the fact that we needed to differentiate ourselves.

At this stage of our journey, we knew we needed what’s called a USP or a Unique Selling Proposition.  A USP could be very simply defined as that which sets you apart from others doing similar/ the same things.

SilkCollection-KalamkariCentralPanelwithEmbellishmentSo, in an attempt to find this USP, we went back to thinking about what we wanted to market- the kinds of designs, style and materials we wanted to present as a company.

We kept thinking about the rich textile design heritage of India. The traditional embellishment techniques on handloom textiles; the weaving, the embroidery, the cottons and the silks- all of which we’d been surrounded by, growing up in India but about which, people outside of India didn’t seem to be very aware.

But while we were thinking on these lines, we also realised that there was a decided preference in the western world for things that would fit in easily with the modern lifestyle. These two things, while not mutually exclusive, were certainly hard to reconcile.

Thinking about bringing hundreds of years worth of Indian handicraft traditions into today’s day and age- making them appeal in the contemporary setting, that, we concluded, would be our biggest challenge.

It was during one those discussions that the term “Contemporary Tradition” came up. The idea that tradition could, in fact, be contemporized! It grabbed hold of our imagination. This term also subsequently became our tagline and the inspiration as we started talking about design and production.

Let’s do it! Carpe Diem


In March 2011, three friends and ex-classmates met at the Café Ritazza in London’s Paddington station.

Purvaai Pvt. Ltd.- Co-Founders

From Top to Bottom: Tarangini Suresh, Priya Raghavan, Sonali Deshpande

Priya, quiet, serious, assisting her family’s business in India remotely from London while at the same time looking for a job or wanting to start a new business in the UK; Sonali, funny, smart, top of the class during our post-graduate studies, already an entrepreneur and mom-of-one; and Tarangini, with previous experience in exporting hand-crafted home linen from India, having recently quit her job in digital marketing, a firm believer in entrepreneurship.

We were there to discuss the wisdom of giving up our respective searches for 9-to-5 jobs and starting off on our own- becoming ‘Entrepreneurs’. After several cups of coffee and tea and more muffins than were good for us, we had decided- we would take the plunge! After all, with a depressed economy and good jobs few and far between, what did we have to lose?

Hand stamped collection (Indian block printing and Kalamkari inspired)

Hand stamped collection (Indian block printing and Kalamkari inspired)

And so it was decided, given our common love for all things beautiful, and particularly Indian, hand-crafted home linen, that was what our business would be. We would start a business with curated, designer, decorative soft-furnishings. In the coming posts we would like to share the story of how we came to start this business and how’re we’re getting on with it- including some tips and tricks of the trade. We hope you’ll enjoy the story, and if you’re on the fence about starting a business yourself, we hope our journey will excite and inspire you enough to do it already!