Achieving sophisticated simplicity is easier said than done. We, as Indians, have always had this fear of going simple without losing the essence of who, what or where we are from, especially when you come from a land so rich in its culture, traditions and colour. It is an art to find that balance. I think more than anything it is the part of creating something that you truly believe in. If you are true to yourself and believe in your vision, people gravitate towards that energy.
At Nappa Dori, I have always believed in creating things that are not too in your face, but at the same time leave an emotional connect with our clients. It is on those emotions that you can build a relationship, which is more important than selling a product.
I have a golden rule at our studio: make things that transcend time; products that age and build character just like their owners. We don’t do seasonal products, we do things that would be classics in time. I am not a believer in fast fashion, that you need to churn out hundreds of designs every single minute to stay relevant in this day and age. Scarcity is luxury as well. People need to realise that. It is not finding the same thing in every single place; it is about finding the one special thing which is truly luxurious.
I feel the world is at a very peculiar place in terms of luxury, where there is a movement towards small homegrown, handmade, handcrafted products, taking pride in where you are from and belong to. People want to live healthier; words like vegan, gluten free, organic are more common now than ever. All these things are indicators of how and what 'we' as new-age shoppers are inclined towards, and that reflects in every industry. The quicker you are to adapt to this, the better it is for your business. Knowing your end customer is not about just knowing their age or where they live, but also what they like, especially in India, which has the youngest consumer base—more than 70 per cent of the population is under 35 years of age.
Building brand loyalty is super important in this day and age. It is the time of instant gratification; you could be the 'in thing' one day and be completely irrelevant the very next day, especially with the global scenario and how the country went through demonetisation that made people extremely cautious about what they spent on. Brands like us need to give something more to the customers than just a lavish product; they need to feel invested in the product and the story it carries and the experience they have from the time of entering the store to the time they make the purchase.
It is important for brands to stop building their strategy based on trends, like what happened with 'Indian kitsch'. I hate the word kitsch or quirky; they make my blood boil. Brands have tried building their entire business models on these lines. We have tried staying far away from being described as such; what we do is a lot more refined and is rooted in rich craft and a sense of nostalgia. There is a sense of connect that one feels when one picks up a product from our brand. I strongly believe it is important for brands to know their DNA and to build on that. You don’t need to be everything to everyone. Be that 'one thing' that everyone wants. That’s where lies the difference in creating something truly luxurious. It is not the price that defines it; it is the desire to acquire it.
Sinha is founder, Nappa Dori.