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Sneak peek! September 07 2015

Sneak peek from the other half of our soon to be launched twin collection 'Ras Rasika'- Lai's exclusive and limited edition hair ornaments!

This festive season we really want to celebrate all the beautiful ways women adorn themselves and we just had to do something for the hair- the most neglected jewellery category we feel.

Are you as excited as we are?! As always, we'd love for you to comment below with your thoughts and suggestions!

 

 

 Originally posted on our Facebook page on 7th September, 2015.


Shoot day today for our upcoming twin collections- 'Ras Rasika'! September 04 2015

Ras: (Sanskrit) essence
Rasika: (Sanskrit) full of Passion, elegant; with discrimination. Connoisseur - An expert able to appreciate a field; especially in the fine arts.

'Ras Rasika'- what better name than this to kick start our festive season offerings with not one but 2 collections that will be launched simultaneously?!

We'll be revealing more in coming days including the launch date- for now we have to go take some pretty pictures of the pretty pieces for all you pretty people! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 4th September, 2015.


Ras Rasika: coming soon! September 02 2015

This festive season let's reclaim the joy of adornment and of dressing at leisure. Let's fuss over ourselves. Let's celebrate our womanhood and all things beautiful.

Lai's twin collection- 'Ras Rasika' celebrates this joy of self indulgence. Coming soon!

    

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 2nd September, 2015.


Wednesday wisdom! August 26 2015

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
-Dr.Seuss

Wednesday wisdom and words to live by! The picture is of the Pacific ocean at Point Arena (California) taken on one of our road trips....

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 26th August, 2015.


Sneak Peek!! August 25 2015

From our upcoming nose pin collection for this festive season!

Whether you want to add drama to your face on a daily basis or just want to pack a punch for an occasion.....we have got you covered! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 25th August, 2015.


The story of how our Nose pin collection came to be...... August 24 2015

A few months back the wire of my nose stud broke and after nearly a decade I was back in the nose pin market.

I looked around and found nothing much of interest- so I decided to get one made for myself. That exercise acquired a life of its own and before I knew it we had the sketches for Lai's first ever nose pin collection!

This is an untested category for us but we couldn't be more excited! There will be a mix of everyday wear nose pins as well as dramatic ones for the festive season (to channel your inner diva/princess/goddess- whoever you choose)!

We have planned to do both wire ones for those with pierced nose and clip on ones for others. It would be super helpful if you could leave your preference in the comments- a count of hands, if you may!

A teaser tomorrow?! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 24th August, 2015.


This festive season...... August 13 2015

.....let's try slowing down.....take time to read about the festivals we are preparing for......their significance......and their preparations. Slow down and get dressed for the joy of it.....to use this opportunity to fuss over yourselves.....to delve into the land of adornments.....of rich glorious textiles and beautiful jewellery.....of celebrating your womanhood and its perks.....of getting dressed for yourselves and no one else. (Least of all the trends!)

We are kick starting this festive season with not 1 but 2 awesome collections- both of which will be launched simultaneously. We are not revealing what they are yet......but you are welcome to comment below with your guesses! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 13th August, 2015.


Girlboss! July 31 2015

When I'm not feeling content in my own little la-la land, I find it very inspiring to look at Sophia Amoruso's journey from a 1 woman operation to the budding empire that Nasty Gal is today.

Here is one of my favorite passage from her book Girlboss. You agree?!

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 31st July, 2015.


Now thats what we call a collection! July 30 2015

Jui Tawade, a Pune based Architect, has been one of the early Lai customers and has found something to take home from pretty much every collection of ours.

She recently shared a glimpse of her Lai collection and we were stumped! For someone to have such faith in our work and aesthetics means the world to us. Sharing that image. We couldn't resist marking the different collections that these designs came form.....it was too much fun!

Thanks a ton, Jui, for indulging us so.....you made our day with your mail! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 30th July, 2015.


Lai's signature bookmark'able Rakhis......back again! July 27 2015

Lai's signature, limited edition Bookmark'able Rakhis are back this year after a phenomenal reception last year!

The Rakhi that you put so much love into in picking, tying on your brother's wrist (or mailing it)- a symbol of your lifelong love for him- taken off and discard the next day. Not that your brother wants to- it’s just that he can't possibly be wearing a Rakhi on just another day.

Wouldn’t you want to give him a Rakhi that he’ll keep forever – something permanent?
Lai has created unique and beautiful Rakhis that convert to a classy Bookmark- something that a brother will be happy and proud to possess. An everyday reminder of his dear sister. A perfect way to make this Rakshabandhan memorable!

The design is in keeping with Lai’s philosophy of adapting cultural motifs for contemporary use. And, as with our jewellery, these rakhis are handcrafted in sterling silver (hallmarked with a '925' stamp at back).

Lai's Bookmark'able Rakhis are available in six beautiful designs – each available either in sterling silver or as gold plated sterling silver. And each comes in a festive organza pouch and an illustrative card to show how the Rakhi converts into a Bookmark. One side of which can be used to write a loving note.

Drop in a mail at shop@lai-designs.com to request for your catalogue. The quantities are limited, so we suggest you book one for your brother now! :)

We ship worldwide from Delhi and California.

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 27th July, 2015.


A peek into the jewellery boxes of not 1 but 2 Lai collectors!! July 16 2015

The 1st two pictures were shared by Avanti from Thane and the last two by Poonam from California.

You could be in any part of the world, if you love Lai, you'll not be able to stop at one! :)

       

     

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 16th July, 2015.


Lapis Lazuli- the real rockstar! July 10 2015

Not that we all need another reason to love Lapis, but here are some goodness associated with this stone, in any case! :)

"A stone of protection that may be worn to guard against psychic attacks, Lapis Lazuli quickly releases stress, bringing deep peace. It brings harmony and deep inner self-knowledge. Encourages self-awareness, allows self-expression and reveals inner truth, providing qualities of honesty, compassion and morality to the personality. Stimulates objectivity, clarity and encourages creativity. Lapis Lazuli assists to confront and speak one’s truth and inspires confidence. It bonds relationships, aiding in expression of feelings and emotions.

Lapis Lazuli boosts the immune system, purifies blood, lowers blood pressure, cooling and soothing areas of inflammation. It alleviates insomnia and vertigo, and overcomes depression. Lapis Lazuli benefits the respiratory and nervous systems and the throat, vocal chords, and thyroid, cleanses organs, bone marrow and thymus."

This stone is one rockstar, we'd say! (pun intended!) :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 10th July, 2015.


Look at what one of our favorite designer had to say about our work! July 09 2015

This little dialogue happened on Instagram. Merci beaucoup, Eina Ahluwalia.......your words made our day!!! Yay!!

(Ok, we are acting like a giddy headed teenager......but what the hell!)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 9th July, 2015.


Thank you- those who buy from us and those who copy us! July 06 2015

Thanks a ton for for such a fantastic reception to our new collection- Nilaj(a). The bookings are still on but the initial pre-order lot is all sold out. Thank you every one for your constant support and cheer leadering.....you guys rock! :)

And while we are in a celebratory mood we'd even like to raise a toast to some other brands/designers who have flattered us much by getting inspired by us. In the past month alone we have seen our Detachable Jhumka concept lifted (including the name!), 2 of our Samarkand earrings dittoed and a rather clever (?) iteration of our Mukta Carita ring floated. Thank you so much guys for showing more faith in our work than your own! 

P.S: A client just informed us of some one doing our rakhis too! Agghhhh!

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 6th July, 2015.


This is what you wonderful people are saying about the Nilaj(a) preview! July 01 2015

The preview e-invites have gone out and here are some of the wonderful things those who have seen it are saying (thank you every one for writing in with such encouraging and flattering words!) :)

The best part of my day was waking up to the email with beautiful jewellery... I am loving the modular ideas more and more, wish there were these options in Mukta Carita too....what I also like is that you keep reinventing these different styles of earrings like ear jackets, threader, chand balis.... Love the jewellery. Love your work... Love you for being soon creative...
- Kavya Musunuri

I must say I loved each and every piece of jewellery in this collection....totally awesome !! Congratulations to you and your team ..
- Avanti Chauhan

Stunning collection! Congrats on the beautiful collection and beautifully presentation too - makes a whole lot of difference and does the stunning pieces justice. Also like the fact that you did more larger statement pieces as I like them to stand out.
- Shakha Mehta

I myst admit that the collection is simply WOW! WOW! WOW! Loved each piece ...they are all stunning! You are truly blessed with talent.
- Tanu Pathak

It's always lovely to wake up to a Lai-picking morning and this collection hit the spot completely! :)
- Pooja Jagadeesh

What a beautiful collection. Just wanted to compliment you on how your work and aesthetic is growing so beautifully. All the best! :)
- Sandeepa Veeramachaneni

Loved the collection, especially with so many innovative ways to wear an earring!
- Shilpa S.

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 1st July, 2015.


Are you on our mailing list? June 30 2015

Our new collection for this summer- handcrafted with care and imbued with exotic tales from the land of the 'blue mountains'- Afghanistan- is ready for launch!

If our sneak peeks and Look Book have caught your attention, we highly recommend you join our mailing list so that the invite is in your inbox as soon as we launch! You can do so by:

(1) using the 'Join our mailing list' tab at the bottom of our home page 
(2) drop us a mail at shop@lai-designs.com with 'mailing list' in the subject line


Nilaj(a) Look Book! June 27 2015

We admit- we are in love with our upcoming Lapis Lazuli, Afghanistan inspired collection- Nilaj(a)!

Pieces that are both visually intriguing and wonderfully crafted- jewellery that is as likely to be found in the trunks of an antique dealer in a bazaar in Afghanistan as they are in a chic Parisian boutique. We just had to translate this into a Look Book!

The theme is equal parts tribal and Parisian chic- with a good dose of tattoos thrown in that weave both the seemingly disparate looks together. We hope going through these images will pique your interest and will want you to take a Lai Nilaj(a) home!

    

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 27th June, 2015.


Coming soon!! Nilaj(a)- our new collection using our favorite stone, Lapis Lazuli! June 23 2015

With this collection we travel to Afghanistan- the land that not only yields this stunning stone but also inspires us with its varied layers of aesthetics- from their Bactrian roots to the nomadic tribes.


This collection is Lai's rendition of these very influences- presented in our signature way- imbued with the essence of the original story but presented with a contemporary aesthetic and an exquisite attention to detail.


So looking forward to sharing our new work with all of you! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 23rd June, 2015.


Nilaj(a): our new collection in Laips coming soon! June 16 2015

Nilaj(a): "produced in the blue mountains" in Sanskrit and "one who comes with joy" in Yoruba.

Our celebration of this stunning stone- Lapis Lazuli- and its land- Afghanistan......our new collection for this summer, 'Nilaj(a)'.....coming soon! 

 

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 17th June, 2015.


Love how our earrings are standing out! June 13 2015

Digging this picture put up by NIMAI on their page! Love how our Kinner Kailash chandbalas are standing out in a sea of brass and gold! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 13th June, 2015.


Made to order.... May 17 2015

Long post alert!

I had a very interesting discussion with a client over e-mail, the other day, and I think much of what we discussed would interest some of you as well....

Essentially it was a conversation about our recent trend of going "made-to-order" (it started with Mukta Carita last year, then Coin collection re-bookings, followed by Kinner Kailash and now the Greek and Mughal collection re-bookings).

"Made-to-order" involves a 3-4 weeks wait, offers no quick gratification of having your purchase land at your home on day 2, increases our time spent on customer e-mails and communication (first when we take your order and then when the order is ready for dispatch)......quite a few cons actually- so why are we doing it?

For one, made-to-order ensures that everyone and not the fastest few get the designs of their choice- no compromise and no frustration of missed opportunity in case you took your time to decide.

Two, business-wise, with a catalog of about 20 odd Lai collections now- most of which are kept current and available- we are looking at a range of 250 odd designs to choose from (at an average of 12 designs per collection)....that is a deep catalogue and a rather large inventory to maintain. As a self funded company- locking up so much of our working capital in silver can get tricky and we really need to find smart ways to maintain a healthy flow of funds while maintaining certain level of stocks.

"Made-to-order" helps us in offering you new collections and funding them with the pre-booking capital raised. You get what you want and we do too! Win-win, we'd say!

Economics apart, when we think of our brand philosophy- the kind of brand we are, want to be and the practices we'd like to subscribe to- my thoughts are increasingly aligning to the “lean method” manufacturing- which means that an item doesn't get made until an order is placed- resulting in producing only what’s necessary and using the involved resources (human or material) as judiciously as possible. This also weaves in wonderfully well with the 2 other ideologies that we absolutely believe in- 'slow fashion' and 'thoughtful consumption'.

With every collection we open as "made-to-order" we always get a few extra pieces made- just so that we are able to fulfill orders that continue to come after the closing date. We hope this has helped some of you get your desired design(s) even after the collection had been closed for bookings.

Our sales figures and my gut says that this method is working. But I'd really like to know if any of you dropped making a purchase because of the wait period involved? Do you think "made-to-order" is a good idea? Or in the days of instant gratification are we asking for trouble?

Comments and suggestions will be most appreciated! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 18th May, 2014.


True that! May 08 2015

Understated and timeless- the kind of jewellery we like to create and the kind of jewellery we like to wear.

A philosophy so beautifully captured in this quote from one of our recent favourite movies- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.......

 

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 9th May, 2015.


Make it yours! May 06 2015

Buying a beautiful piece of jewellery is only the first step. How you wear it is when you make it your own.

Case in point, the every so stylish, Pooja Jagadeesh and her Lai signature coin studs. One lady, 1 pair of earrings, 4 outfits, 4 different looks and 4 moods! One look at the pictures and you'll know what we mean.

Thanks a ton, Pooja! You made us fall in love with our earrings even more (if that were possible!) :)

     

              

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 7th May, 2015


Blast from the past! May 04 2015

Found this scan in an old picture folder! Me with then Mrs.World- Aditi Gowitrikar- presenting Perles De Tahiti trophy (for jewellery design).

I was fresh out of NIFT, I think, and still remember this silk brocade top that I had picked up from streets of Bangkok!

I think I just dated myself! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 5th May'2015 


Very often we are asked to describe an ideal Lai customer..... May 01 2015

This is who! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 2nd May, 2015.


Caring for your silver jewellery April 30 2015

Something that I'm asked very frequently: How do we best take care of our silver jewellery?
Well, my experience tells me:

(1) Wear your jewellery as often as possible....jewellery tarnishes less when it is worn...trust me, thats true!

(2) The key to having silver jewellery look good for the longest time is to not wet them (wipe them with a soft dry cloth as soon as you can, in case they do get wet....but no scrubbing & using detergent!) or expose them to chemicals like perfumes etc. (so please spray before you put on your jewellery). The chlorine and bromine in pools and hot tubs is particularly damaging to stones and metal....so no jewellery in the pool, tub or sauna!

(3) Storing in the re-sealable bags (like the ones we pack our jewellery in) or zip-lock bags is an ideal way to keep your jewellery. A soft cloth pouch is great too. Pack all you jewellery in individual pouches to avoid scratches & early wearing-off of the gold plating.

(4) Keeping your jewellery in a dark, cool place like a drawer & not a humid environment like bathroom is another sensible things to do.

(5) Finally, you can always wipe off the tarnish (silver turning black) with a commonly available polish like Silvo....but do use it sapringly & gently. Polishing gently with a jewellery polishing cloth & gentle cleaning with any white fluoride containing toothpase are the other two result yielding options.

Any other tips/ comments are most welcome!

 

 


LOL! March 29 2015

No dearth of creative genius and fooling around in the family!! :)

The image on left is of the new cards we now have for Lai and the one on the right is of those we would have had if my brother-in-law had his way!!

Incidentally, he is a super cool retail space designer with great credentials (NID) but we just had to curb his mad creativity when it came to our cards! lol 

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 30th March, 2015.


Himachali shawls- thats where we got the colors from for our new collection! March 15 2015

For me one of the most special craft of Himachal is their shawl weaving tradition especially of Northern Himachal. I worked on a 'Kinnauri shawl' revival project in Himachal and made multiple trips to this region for it.....and fell in love with it!

Extreme cold winters of Himachal necessitated wool weaving and nearly every household in Himachal owns a pit-loom. Kinnaur and Spiti shawls (used as draped garments- those worn by the women are called 'pattu' and those used by the men are called 'chandru') are distinctive with their striking borders in geometric pattern and vibrant colors.

These bright and distinctive borders have inspired the colour palette for enameling in Lai's Kinner Kailash collection.

   

    

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 6th March, 2015.


Some more beauty and inspiration from Himachal- Chamba Rumal March 07 2015

One of the most sublime and ethereal crafts that I've come across is Chamba rumal from Himachal.

The Chamba rumal embroidery flourished in the princely hill states of Chamba and other neighbouring provinces. The rumals- usually square pieces of cloth- were beautifully and painstakingly embroidered, using the unique 'do-rookha' (double satin stitch) style of embroidery, the beauty of which lay in it being reversible- equally perfect on both sides. Usually the drawing on the rumals was done by accomplished miniature painters while the embroidery was done by women.

The cloth used was usually unbleached muslin- which along with the delicate application of vibrant silk threads lend Chamba rumals their ethereal look. Traditionally the rumals were exchanged between the families of the bride and groom and were used to cover gifts and also offering to deities.

Aren't they just beautiful?!

 

   

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 8th March'15. 


Another inspiration behind our Kinner Kailash collection- Kangra Miniatures. March 06 2015

Kangra Miniature paintings are my current art crush! Serene, fluid, poetic and vibrant at the same time.....these paintings are a visual delight!

This is what kangraarts.org, an NGO working towards the preservation of this art form, shares on its website:

"The Kangra painting is one of the finest gifts of India to the art-world. In the middle of the 18th century A.D. when the plains of Northern India were convulsed by the invasion of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali, Raja Goverdhan Chand of Guler (Himachal Pradesh), a prince with refined tastes and passion for paintings gave asylum to the artistes trained in the Mughal style of painting, who further refined their skills under his patronage.

The courtly art of the Mughals underwent a radical change in the lovely valleys under the shadows of majestic Himalayas. In a setting, where the life was simple and the men and the women lived much closer to nature, the highly sophisticated art of the royal courts gained a new softness, delicacy, and human feelings. Instead of painting flattering portraits of their masters and hunting scenes, the artists adopted themes from love poetry of Jayadeva, Bihari and Keshavdas, who wrote ecstatically of the love of Radha and Krishna. This new and unique style of painting reached its zenith under the patronage of Raja Sansarchand of Kangra and was named as Kangra Painting."

Are you as bowled over as I am?! :)

    

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 7th March, 2015.


A glimpse of traditional Himachali jewellery.... March 04 2015

One of the must dos on most of my trips is to check out the regional jewellery and so a visit to the local jeweller in Himachal was a given!

A few pictures from my personal album and some from the internet that highlight the jewellery traditions of this land!

   

   

   

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 5th March, 2015.


Himachal and Kinner Kailash! March 03 2015

Since we will be launching our Himachali collection- Kinner Kailash- soon, we though it might be a good idea to start sharing anecdotes and pictures of our travels to this incredibly unique and beautiful land!

Himachal is one of my most favourite states in India and I've not only visited it as tourist but I also spent a month there as a Nift student for my Craft Documentation project. Years later I did a Kinnauri shawl revival project for the Textiles Ministry during which I made multiple trips to Kinnaur.....I'd like to think Himachal likes me keeps calling me back! :)

Starting with a few pictures from my personal album....we'll be sharing more about the crafts and jewellery traditions of Himachal over next few days. Please excuse the picture qualities....these were taken a few years back by a trusted 5 MP digi cam!

The mighty Himalayas! The peak in the picture is Kinner Kailash- held sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. Legend has it that Lord Shiva resided and meditated here to destroy the deadly demon Bhasmasur.
Could there have been a better name for our collection?!

For rest of the pictures click on the original post on our Facebook page posted on 4th March, 2015.


Never too old old for jewellery!!! :) March 01 2015

A stunning picture shot by Jojie Alcantara.

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 2nd March, 2015.

 


That you pen a poem inspired by one of our designs, humbles us...... December 10 2014

It is truly amazing to realize that a work of ours can so connect with some one that it inspires them to pen down a poem! It is just as flattering as it is a bit surreal!

We got this beautiful mail from Namrata of LIFE- As I see: 

"I received them today and they are very beautiful, much more than the pictures. I have ordered them for a specific event, will send you the pictures when I wear them and also share the lines I wrote inspired by them as I was trying to save the money for this impromptu purchase I did :)
Thanks so much for this wonderful memoir, something I will treasure and cherish everytime I wear it for it is a reminder of a simple thing for me - I am beautiful and I deserve all the beautiful things in the world."

Namrata kept her promise and a few days later send us this beautiful poem (and a picture too!):

The poem called "A 55 Words Poem":
"She is the sun, she is the moon.
She is the stars that shine before their arrival too!
She smiles, she dances, she hugs and she cries,
She falls, breaks apart and comes together again!
For she is the grey lining amidst every dark sky,
A phoenix that has spread her wings ready to fly!"

Thanks a ton, Namrata, for all of this....we are humbled & honoured. Such a beautiful poem and this mail could have only come from a writer's pen!

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 11th Dec, 2014


The answer to yesterday's post is.... November 17 2014

......Nathdwara which is a small town on the outskirts of Udaipur, situated on bank of Banas River.
It is famous for not just the pichhwais but also for its characteristic meenakari (enamel) work- The Nathdwara enameling.

The earliest enamelers of Nathdwara were Mughal/ Persian origin craftsmen who came & settled here after the installation of the Shri Nathji's idol (in 1669) They have been doing this work for generations together- passing down the trade secrets from father to son. Their expertise lay in not just the application and art work but also in producing their own enamels......procuring verifiable substances from the bed of Banas- mostly transparent fusible glass rendered semi transparent & opaque by addition of metallic oxides. They could prepare very fine type of enamel that could acquire lusture even on the application of moderate heat- even without complete fusion.

The piece of metal on which the work has to be done is fixed on a lac stick. Delicate designs of flowers, birds and esoteric symbols are etched/carved on it. These leads to formation of groves/depressions that hold the enamel. Each color/enamel is painstakingly applied with a fine brush & then fired which melts the enamel (the powdered glass fuses with metal) and results in the end product which is then manually buffed for added shine & finish.

Today, Nathdwara enameling is thriving cottage industry, driven by huge domestic & export demand.

And why are we telling you all this? Just so that you know where the next Lai collection is coming from and what technique we are working with next!

Pretty & vibrant- we are sure you'll love our next collection! :)

  Grinding/ preparing the enamel.........................Application of enamel on to the jewellery pieces.

....................

Samples of Nathdwara enamel work.

This post was originally posted on our Facebook page on 18th November, 2014.

 


Guess the inspiration for our next collection! November 16 2014

Any guess as to where we reached looking for material & inspiration for our next collection?!

This small town in Rajasthan is home to whats said to be the second-richest temple in India- one that houses a 600-year-old black marble statue of Lord Krishna. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India, attracting thousands, particularly during the festivals of Diwali, Holi, and Janmashthami. According to legend, in 1669 as the statue was being carried from Mathura to protect it from the destructive blows of the pious Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, it fell off the wagon at this site; the carriers (no doubt pretty exhausted) took this as a sign and built the temple around the statue.

The shopaholics amongst us may want to visit this place to buy what many believe are the finest examples of pichhwai paintings that adorn the interior and exterior of the temple. Hand-spun cloth painted with vibrant scenes depicting Krishna's life, these were originally created to teach illiterate low castes (who in the past were barred from entering the sacred inner sanctum). These pichhwais are now extremely coveted collector's item!

Think you can name this town now?! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 17th November, 2014.


Tale of a ring, the girl who loved it and who she gave it to...... October 16 2014

This heart warming story, so beautifully written, came in our in-box today.....we are so deeply touched to see the connect our work has had with some of you.....so touched & sooooo grateful!

Thank you, Anubhuti Krishna, for your love for Lai & for being the person that you are!

"Two years ago, when I first saw your collection the first thing that I had noticed was your coin ring. Classy and elegant, it stole my heart instantly and had been on my wish list ever since (remember our long conversations about it?) It however managed to evade me. Then last month, I got to know that one of my dearest friends was getting married (she is like a younger sister, actually) and I knew what to buy for her (don't you buy the best things for people you love?).
I wanted to make sure that I present it to her before the wedding and she could make it a part of her trousseau. And so I went all the way to your place, bothered you and your mother, and picked it up on a hot, humid, Sunday afternoon. I must add that upon seeing the ring in person, I was tempted to keep it and give her something else. But I let the urge pass and gave it to her the same afternoon. As expected- she loved it as did her parents. But the biggest reward was her wearing it for her shaadi. It was, in fact, one of the only two pieces of jewellery that she had worn. Could I be any happier?

Hoping some day I will have one too."

The pictures below are of Kinny (Arora), taken by Anubhuti on her phone camera, during Kinny's wedding last month. Kinny- if you are reading this....congratulations! You look soooo lovely!

   

Originally posted on our Facebook page: 17th October, 2014


Mourning jewellery- yes there was such a thing! October 12 2014

Reading up on Georgian period (Pre1837) jewellery in Europe threw up this most fascinating find- 'mourning jewellery'- a type of which often contained woven hair memento of the deceased!

Sentimental or morbid?! Take a look & let us know what you think!!

   

   

Originally posted on our Facebook page on13th Oct, 2014.


If we had a caption contest for Lai.... October 05 2014

.......these 2 awesome messages would win hands down! They had us at "Lai'la" and "Lai'ghtened"! :)


"I am having a hard time finalising my order as I have the desire to own all of them !!!! Hence, have become a 'Lai'la of your creations and hope to remain one for the rest of my life."
-Indrani N

"Both of us sisters have had quite some tough decisions to make this last week...it has been so tough not to get carried away and just order almost everything I set my eyes on!! That is why it has taken me such a while to place this order....
Also, one of the first things my sis said when she saw your latest collection was "You have 'Lai'ghtened up my day'... "
-Sharmishta

Thank you ladies- for your generosity and creativity! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 6th October, 2014.


The good ol' exhibition days! October 03 2014

How we miss being at exhibitions and meeting all of you!

Curious to know how may of you know of our work from the Dastkar/ Chitra Kala Parishad/ Craft Council/ Concern India days....would be fun to find out....leave a comment please! :)

   

At Dastkar Exhibition, Delhi (left) and at Vastrabharna, Chitrakala Parishad, Bangalore (right)

Lai exhibition at Basava Ambara, Bangalore.

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 3rd October, 2014.


You get what you pay for.... September 26 2014

This a post that I've been meaning to do for a while now and it concerns something that most of us can be fairly sensitive to- prices! Why does some jewellery cost more than others? My thoughts:

(1) When you buy from independent designers/ brands like Lai, please know that it costs us so much more to get our jewellery manufactured than the big names in the business. Since we buy in small quantities, material like stones, pearls etc cost us more as does the labour. Fortunately we do not have retail, advertising, PR and other overheads and manage to do our best to keep our prices reasonable.

(2) What is the material that you are buying? Is it sterling silver or other base metal like brass. Not to say one is better than the other but there will be obvious difference in cost when you use precious metal than when you use base metal.
Amrapali, for instance, has produced the latest designs in their collaboration with Manish Arora in brass where as their previous collaborations with the designer were crafted in silver. Many other established designers use both precious and base metal in their work.....the information is all there and as an aware buyer the onus is on you to know what you are buying. And not just metal- even stones & pearls etc. that are used- are they real or synthetic/ faux/ fake/ glass?

As a part of our design services, we work with brass too, for our wholesale clients, but just to keep things simple- Lai, as a brand is, solely about sterling silver jewellery.

(3) Learn to recognize and appreciate hand/ manual skills. Enameling, granulation (rava), fretwork, stone settings are amongst common handcrafted techniques. Does a piece of jewellery have any of these or it is a simple cast piece? And once you become aware of these finer details of jewellery making- please be willing to pay extra for them!

(4) Exclusivity will come at a cost. Period. No designer can be expected to slog and produce only 10 pieces of each design and have the same markup as that of a mass produced design produced in 1000s.

(5) Love the design? Your heart is set on it? Buy it! If you really love a design, you will find that you will wear it more often- which mathematically translates to lesser cost per wear! Paying a little extra for good design will never cause you buyer's remorse.....I can promise you that!

Did I miss any point? Any designer/ design entrepreneur here who would like to add their bit too?! Lets talk! :)

     

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 27th Sept. 2014.


Our first ever Look Book! September 17 2014

Our first ever Look Book for our up-coming pearl collection- "Mukta carita"-is here!

"Mukta Carita (The Pearl Story)" draws its inspiration from the classic aesthetics of the past and re-interpets it for contemporary wear.....our way of celebrating the past & bringing it into the present.
If we manage to take you back to a simpler time, one that evokes wonderful memories from the past- of sneaking behind the curtains observing your mother get ready for a party, the old-world glamour of movies and grace of courtesans- and one that conveys beauty, romance and nostalgia....then we have succeeded in our attempt in putting together this Look book for you.

This is a very special collection for us.....and we thought of stepping out of the box to make it special for you too. Let us know how we did!

   

   

    

     

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 18th Sept, 2014.


A trip down the memory lane...... August 18 2014

Took a trip into the past...and what a trip it was!

For those of you who have only just discovered Lai, you may not know that before founding Lai, I was freelancing and worked exhaustively in the craft sector- traveling the length and breadth of India for govt. and privately funded design intervention projects with various craft clusters.

I got a message on my Coroflot page (on-line portfolio site for designers) after years and got to see my own work after sooooo long (I created this portfolio in 2006 and last logged in perhaps in 2009!). Sharing some of the work with all of you....

Looking at these pictures brought back soooo many memories- of the travels, of sights and sounds associated with each of these places, the craft persons that I had the fortune to live and work with........

Isn't it odd that sometimes when you look back at where & who you were, you almost don't believe it was you?! Please tell me I'm not alone in feeling so!

   Hand beaten metalware of Hajo, Assam: products developed during a design development workshop with metal smiths of Hajo, Assam. Material: Brass.

    

Blue pottery of Jaipur, Rajasthan: products developed during a design development project for Central Cottage Industries Emporium (CCIE), Delhi.

    

Hand crafted leather bag made during a project undertaken in Auroville, Pondicherry (left) and for a Kolkata based export house (right)

   

Woolen hand knitted shoes of Imphal, Manipur: products developed during a design development workshop for women involved in the cottage industry of hand knitted shoes in Imphal, Manipur.

   

(Left): Age old Kashmiri craft of Papier Mache combined with terracotta (both glazed & unglazed) to produce a range of ethno-contemporary items of home decor. Srinagar, Kashmir (Right): Teracotta of Bhubaneswar, Orissa: products developed during a design development workshop for potters in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.

   

Handcrafted items in polished (water buffalo) horn developed during an on-site design development work shop undertaken in Sambal, U.P.

   

      

Revival of Kinnauri shawls- Kinnaur, Himanchal Pradesh: Some of the final products. One of my most challenging project till date!

   

Home furnishing using back strap loom weaves of Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh: products developed during an on-site design development workshop.

   

   

Bags & accessories using textiles & embellishments of Gujarat: products developed during a design development workshop using textiles from Bhuj & Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

   

A range of bags developed under my name and retailed from a few exclusive boutiques in Delhi like Ogaan. On left are bags in raw silk with old Kashmiri shawl borders. On bottom left are bags in bandhej silk with faux fur.  On right is a collection of bags in fleece with appliqué work in silk.

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 19th August, 2014 and on 20th August, 2014


Launching our new collection in a video format- Lai's first video! June 29 2014

Not only have we had a great response to our Detachable Jhumka collection, design-wise, but it seems like a lot of you totally loved our idea of doing a video to launch the collection! Couldn't be more glad....watch it if you haven't already! :)

"What a great idea to make a video to take us through the entire collection! Loved it! Loved the sound track!"
-Nikita Dua

"Thanks for the promotional video, this is very intelligent designing besides being aesthetic. Congratulations!"
-Maanvi Chawla

"Puja, not only is your designing leagues ahead of your contemporaries but you win hands down in presentation & idea execution. the video was another brilliant touch from you."
-Sangeeta Sinha

Originally posted on our Facebook age on 30th June, 2014


Couldn't agree more! May 07 2014

 

 

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 8th May, 2014.


If we could frame just one testimonial..... December 15 2013

"Dear Puja,

I received my earrings yesterday. Now where should I begin, I am not a very confident online buyer, specially when it comes to jewellery. As a journalist I have met and interviewed quite a few very successful online jewellery sellers and buyers and have heard all sorts of stories from them, both good and bad.

When I stumbled upon your page sometime earlier this year, I was instantly drooling over your designs but was not sure what to do about it. Too strong an urge to indulge in your jewellery prompted me to read each and every word of what your buyers and loyalists had to say. I went through the pictures, I read, read and read and as confident as I could be I placed the order.
And lo and behold, sure of what I was expecting I was treated to something much much better when I opened the packet. It is absolutely amazingly beautiful :)

I had read somewhere on the Lai page that a lady plans to hand down pieces by you as family heirloom to her daughters and looking at my earrings I knew in an instant why. Hats off for managing such precision and finesse....I am enthralled.

While I was placing the order and I was waiting for the delivery you shared some pins about yourself and your work and I connected so much. It was almost like walking into your favourite silver store cum worshop and choosing what you love over a cup of chai :)
Such a holistically delighful experience. Thank you!!

Even before I ordered this set of earring I had my wishlist ready and now I am going to bother you time and again with purchases from it as and when the opportunity arrives.

Thank you Puja and God bless you!!

Much love,
Pallavi"

[Sent via e-mail dated 14th Dec.'13]

I'm speechless. When someone like Pallavi Shahi writes in with such a feedback- it validates what we are trying to do, it motivates us to never let those who connect with us down & it eggs us on to do better work so that we can always live up to the expectations that our patrons have of us.
Thanks a ton, Pallavi, for taking out time to pen this down....from the bottom of my heart! xox Puja

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 16th December, 2013.


Why we have a 'preview' for those who have bought from us before...... November 13 2013

I heard from not 1 but 3 people, asking pretty much the same thing......why have a preview for Lai loyals/people who have bought from us before? Isn't that unfair to the rest, they asked? What if some of the designs got over by the time we opened the collection for sale to everyone else, they asked?

For me, thats an easy one to answer.

Amongst these "Lai loyals" are the people who were our 5th Facebook like, the 47th one & the 140th one. They followed our work when we were just starting out and believed in us when we weren't so sure. Some one amongst these is our 1st Facebook sale and our 121th. They are quickest to comment and, really, are our best cheerleaders.

We don't go on sale and we offer no discounts....no not even to these lovely people (not that they ask!).

A preview is our way of making these special people feel so....because we want them to and because we feel its the right thing to do.

If you were in our shoes, I'm pretty sure, you'd do no different.

.

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 14th November, 2013.

 


When one of you spots a Lai in another continent! October 15 2013

"Hi Puja ,

I am a big admirer of your work , but have not yet been fortunate to owe one.
I must tell you today got lost in a small town in Australia, a very good Australian lady pulled up her cycle to my car window trying to help me, but I couldnt help noticing and complimenting the beautiful pendant she was wearing.

Is it Lai jewellery I asked her, she smiled recognizing my brown skin and said , Yes, made by an Indian woman.

Your signature two toned pendant Puja has travelled all around the globe.

Great work Puja!
Sreeja"

A biggg thanks to you Sreeja Swamidas for making our day! It feels so great that you could recognize our work, even in another continent....how awesome is that??! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 16th Oct, 2013.


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