Design Feature > Ek Karkhana
Social networking has created opportunities for creative businesses to get in touch with their audience more intimately and immediately than ever before. It has also created a surfeit of businesses of varying quality. But many do shine through. Ek Karkhana is one such business. It caught my eye largely thanks to their non-dependence on ubiquitous kitsch and their simple, graphic aesthetic. They work from a small workshop, with a team of kaarigars, are passionate about craft and have big plans for the future. Let’s take a closer look.
Ek Kharkhana says > We started hunting for a workshop and found this unusual, strikingly odd yet warm space which is nice and open. Its not so easy to locate with no landmark except a strange palm tree in the middle of a chaotic market right outside the workshop! Often While giving directions to locate it we couldnt help but address it as “ek karkhana nariyal ke jhaad ke paas”. It was a commonly used term since and it became almost like our identity. We put together an enthusiastic team of karigars who have the same drive and call this space “karkhana” as their own and we adapted it naturally.
Ek Karkhana says > Ek karkhana is the centrepoint of our ideas where we get together to create a productline which we truly beleive in. This is just the beginning and the journey has been interesting and fun so far, and we love what we are doing and the idea is to reach out to high end stores and emphasise a lot on good craftsmanship in our design .
Ek Karkhana says > We are inspired by Travel, Movies, Art, Indian crafts and textiles, people from various walks of life that we interact with and their inspiring stories. Small accidental nuances in our day to day lives. Just trying to listen and observe everything around, colours that we are surrounded with – it all comes together and is very inspiring.
In Conversation with Ek Karkhana.
Indian By Design: Collaboration seems to be trumping over individualism as more designers seem to enjoy working together. How has it been for the three of you?
Ek Karkhana: Ours is a collabortion between likeminded friends so the work atmosphere is very easy …. we hang out together beyond work so the personal camaraderie has its postive effects.Creatively we understand each other’s strengths,weaknesses …. we know our individual design interests so its again complimenting and encouraging .The only hassle is when friends get together a certain amount of discipline goes for a toss but thanks to our past work experiences we are trying to be as organised as possible to build this little dream that we share.
Indian By Design: What is your design process like?
Ek Karkhana: Each one of us have our own individual design strengths, if one is good in ideating and conceptualising the other one is more market and business savvy. We brainstorm a lot on an idea before we start our explorations. We do not necessarily work in a team as in each one of us has a freedom to execute their own design thought and later we meet at a centre point to share what we have done so far to create the final product. We give ourselves deadlines to achieve the targets. We have created a wealth of embroideries and swatches that can be transformed in to so many product lines… a passion three of us share.
Indian By Design: How easy or difficult has it been to market your work? Does design school prepare you for it?
Ek Karkhana: When we graduated the course did not quite include marketing or taught the business aspect of it. But it did give lot of importance to the notion of creating your own body of work and sowed the seed of entreprenurship . In the day and age of socialnetworking with facebook and blogs its relatively easier to market yourself. But having said that we havent been trained in it and arelearning the ropes of marketing through experience which is frankly quite a roller coaster ride . we all understand design ,PR – networking,marketing all go hand in hand and is as important as the other. Since we are 3 of us… we divide ourselves so we can achieve all this.
Indian By Design: Does social networking help generate enough business or are you actively present in stores and craft markets?
Ek Karkhana: Social networking is a boon and it captures and pulls people all across to your work. Its been extremely beneficial for us. We apporached people behind our first exhibition at The Tribe through facebook…and since then there is no looking back. Blogs, stores all have worked out through this. At the moment, we are supplying in 2 stores and have a production order of 4 more stores across the country. We are also going to be retailing online soon. So we are certainly working our way towards being actively seen around.
Indian By Design: There is a rise in creative people making products/designs and selling them. What do you look for before you buy?
Ek Karkhana: Quality, good design…price is not an issue if the product captivates you.
Indian By Design: What kind of products would you like to make in the future?
Ek Karkhana: We are working on our garment range which is the future and will continue making accessories that we are currently doing. Also will start our high end design range…so that’s on the cards.
>> Ek Karkhana can be found via their facebook page. You could also get in touch with them by mailing ekarkhana(at)gmail(dot)com
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