Contributing to a warm and striking home is the central aim of Chamak, Craft, Art and Décor. The ornamental company particularly channel time-honoured crafts that form a cultural bridge between traditional Indian ancestry and modern-day Britain. The first of its kind, the expansive predominantly online marketplace offers an unrivalled, wide range of locally made South-Asian artisan products (pictured): from grass-roots fine art and garden furniture to vintage fixtures and stunning decorative pieces or even sculptural nail-etched art. Founders, Mina and Bhagirath Thakkar, who are happily married, sell roughly 900 individual products which have been borne out of trading relationships struck purely ‘on the ground’. Each piece is unique and an original; guaranteed to add a touch of charming glamour to one’s house.
“We took the time to talk and bond with each local artist in India before selling and providing them the exposure on our vast platform,” the couple shared. Indeed, Bhagirath personally travelled out to India to scout the vendors of an impressive array of beautiful items from every corner of the vibrant subcontinent. Furthermore, the artisanal partnerships formed within Chamak Craft, Art and Décor are fiscally equitable with the creators receiving the same payment as they would selling to native national stores. The motto of our company, Bhagirath shared, is: “May Everyone be Happy!” The business is also proud to donate to local charities and has started helping burgeoning independent vendors here in the UK as well. Not only then are Chamak’s wares authentic but so too is the mindset behind the business.
Indeed, the philanthropic enterprise was launched as somewhat of a passion project which gradually resulted in commercial success. Mina told us: “During a trip to India in 2021, we noticed a lot of impressive local craftsmanship where the vendors deserved wider appreciation. Much love and hard work goes into the pieces and that constitutes these people’s livelihood. It is wonderful to be able to now benefit many talented families, such as being able to facilitate education, by supporting them to make a living through doing what they love.” Interestingly, the concept of general communal connection emotively drives the couple: “We love the idea of bringing people across generations together and stoking intimate conversations around culture and life.”
In fact, the dedicated business hopes to offer buyers the chance to physically sample the products from their London-based warehouse after spying the precious digital finds in the future. “We understand that the touch and feel as well as the look is important with special pieces. We are very social people too so if we'd get to meet our customers and create a hospitable vibe that’s a big plus!” Chamak Craft, Art & Décor have definitely put in the gritty graft and energy themselves, working tirelessly to launch the ambitious business since its exciting inception.
“We have taken huge risks and worked adaptively to bring people quality creative product. We even think about the materials as well as the product itself, always sourcing innovative Indian ambience e.g., one craftsman produces pieces comprised of castor oil, creating his own Rogan art, which received the third highest honour from the current Indian Prime Minister Modi who has gifted pieces to dignitaries such as Barak Obama, the President of Denmark and much more! This tradition commonly utilises vegetable oil. There are also local metals and wood that have been greatly admired amongst our diverse indigenous collection.” Finally, at the heart of this ebullient thriving business emerges the desire to emotionally conjure a sense of home. Transcending the material arena Chamak Craft, Art and Décor highlight cultured interconnectivity as the ultimate treasured part.
What is a unique selling point of your business?
Compared to other online platforms, we are able to swiftly deliver: products are efficiently shipped to us at home beforehand.
What has been a highlight moment?
A physical pop-up shop we set up during Diwali was a huge hit. People were really drawn to the products and were genuinely interested.
Tell us more on the ethos of your business?
We believe in horizontal growth rather than vertical. If people around us are happy – friends, family, and buyer and supplier – that energy will yield bigger growth. But if it’s vertical and just one person’s profit, you might as well be on the Himalayas alone and freezing. You’ll be high up but terribly unsatisfied. This philosophy has been inherited from grandparents and we have chosen to carry it on!