Jan 23, 2010

Maison et Objet, Jan 2010 - the adventures of Rajboori

So, we finally made it to our third trade show in 1 year, and that too, twice at Maison et Objet.  For those of you not too familiar with the world of trade shows, it's an utterly expensive affair but it is something that cannot be avoided for people like us starting a business and looking for a broader audience.

My day 1 started quite well after I headed straight from the airport to Parc des Expositions where Maison et Objet is held.  With my associate Guilherme helping me gather items for the booth decor and setup, it seemed like a walk in the park until I realized around 6pm when we were about to leave, that my purse was stolen!

I had everything in there - passport, credit cards, cash and more and it was stolen from our booth when one of us wasn't looking!  The nerve!  Well, the world came crashing and after some formulaic search conducted by Maison security I was told, if I'm lucky the purse (my favorite red one too) might turn up in a garbage bin but the cash will be gone.  Very comforting news after an 11 hr journey with barely any sleep and more than than 9 hrs without a meal!  Apparently, I'm not the first vicim of theft at Maison during setup days and even during the show.  Exhibitors have complained about having their samples stolen from their booths!

I had to file a police report where the lackadaisical policeman kept lecturing me in French on how we shouldn't carry purses around or backpacks.  Guilherme translated the lecture in a quite disappointing manner as he knew exactly what I felt at that moment.  Nice way of hiding the lack of law enforcement in these aspects, I would surmise.  Anyway, the next morning the lovely lady at the Canadian Embassy helped me with filing for a temporary travel document/passport so that I can go HOME next week!

Maison is going well.  Repeat clients coming to see us again to see what new things we're offering, new contacts being established, people who had seen us last time coming back to see us again, and loads of new eco-friendly boutiques showing strong interest in Rajboori.  All good.  Looking forward to the next 3 days.

Here are some images for our booth and new offerings:


Jan 12, 2010

Mumbai Masala, Calcutta Sweetness

I just returned from a very hectic and "around the world in 80 hrs" trip from India to Vancouver!  It was frustrating yet interesting to note that a Norther European airport such as Frankfurt, was so ill equipped to handle 10 cm of snowfall.  I'm sure Chicao, Winnepeg, etc. would have laughed at them!

We had to go from Calcutta-Frankfurt-Shanghai-Vancouver, with 7 hours of sack time, hours without food, countless hours in airport transfer desk lines, and no one to offer any comfort, especially to the poor passengers travelling with little children. 

To go back to our eventful and very productive trip to India in the past 2 months, it was an amazing time we spent.  In Calcutta I worked on some new designs for Rajboori that are further simplified and done in more neutral colors but not losing our signature "vibrant pop"! Waiting for the samples to come in this week for a very quick photo shoot and then I fly off to Maison et Objet next week to show off these new beauties.  So excited!  The streets and colors of Calcutta provided inspiration for this and the future collections.

A short trip to Mumbai was very informative and helpful to see how the market for home decor has evolved and refined in the past 10-15 years.  High end furniture stores and eclectic home accessories stores are tucked away in areas like Mahalakshmi, Colaba, Juhu, and more.  The ones we loved are: Goodearth, Hestia, Address Home, House of Raro, and Pallate.

A quick meeting with Elle Decor India's Art Director Mrudul Pathak Kundu was a great bonus!  Thanks, Mrudul!  Hope we can work together in the near future.