Three individuals experts in their fields, Divya, Surbhi and Mekhala together have formed ‘TheiaScape‘. Adhering to the traditional styles of making handicrafts and weaving handlooms, they have provided job opportunities to many. Their products will be available worldwide on their website, which is set to be launched soon. Have a look at what they had to say to Team Storiyaan on their signature style handmade materials woven and integrated with love and evolution.
Questions and answers
How did the three of you come together and form "TheiaScape"? What does your brand signify?
Divya: “Theia” literally means ‘born of light.’ With the brand, we wanted to bring to light all the little things local artisans create. We want to enlighten the masses about local arts because there was no proper marketing, awareness about these art forms. Handcraft and traditional artistry are gradually dying. So, our initial effort was to bring information to light. Next, we set upon evolving local weaves and handcrafted arts to mirror fashion as it is today. Our goal is to empower visionaries, local artisans & innovators and, in turn, popularize our heritage & tradition through their creations. In short, whatever you see on TheiaScape, smells of homemade goodness.
Surbhi you like painting, how do you incorporate your art while designing the jewelry?
Surbhi: I draw my inspiration from the beautiful, vibrant, and intricate Indian art forms like Madhubani, Gond, Kalamkari, Mandalas and more. My understanding of and working with these art forms have had a significant influence on the way I design my jewelry. I love to take very contemporary looking stones and add a touch of Indian tradition to it.
Everyone's style is different and unique. Mekhala, how do you make sure your products cater to every customer of yours?
Mekhala: While designing, especially custom-made outfits, it is crucial to keep the patron’s vision in mind. However, whether it is prêt or couture, the most critical aspect of designing is comfort. Our efforts with TheiaScape are meant to bridge the gaps between multiple shopping destinations and provide one-stop shopping solutions. So, we carefully curate and create sarees & accessories to fit everybody’s vision, expectations, and pockets.
Garnering customers and growing your business from scratch is not an easy task. Divya, what are some marketing strategies that you use to attract your customers?
Divya: We promote an open format of customer feedback. We encourage our clients to let us know what they exactly want. The easy flow of communication helps us understand client needs better. The most important marketing strategy we rely on is that we maintain a close watch on the quality of the products that we are selling. Since we can’t personally reach out to every client, we let our products speak for themselves.
You started TheiaScape in November 2019 and will soon be launching your website. Can you tell us when it would launch, and what can we expect from it?
Surbhi: We are expected to launch the website by 1st Week of August. What our patrons can expect is a full portfolio of our products. They can order from any part of the world. The website will enable a one-stop shopping solution for the fashion needs of our customers. It will also inspire them to experiment with various drapes & looks that are shared on the website through the product pictures. We also aim to educate our patrons on different types of weavers, stones, drapes, etc. through our blogs & video updates.
How has COVID-19 affected your business? How are you working through it?
Mekhala: COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation. It has affected all small businesses globally. In our case, it has affected our weaver units, supply chain, logistics, etc. However, we are trudging through it bravely. We are taking the initiative to educate our weavers & suppliers about the power of communication through digital & social media apps to maintain constant support to them.
Do you think building your website will help you more during this COVID-19?
Divya: Of course. Given that social distancing has become the norm of the day, a website will help our clients sit back in the comfort & safety of their homes. They will still be able to shop for our products and browse through them in detail. During this time, patrons still have many events where they would like to gift or buy something special. Our affordable ranges are the best fit for times like these and can help them fulfill their needs, with the click of a button!
What is something you are excited about your website launch?
Mekhala: We are excited about the fact that our customers will be able to have a look at the entire gamut of products at one go. It is also exhilarating to be on this journey with other dynamic women from varied walks of life.
While making your jewelry, what is something that immediately attracts you?
Surbhi: I am attracted by the beads, the stones, the colors, the texture of the beads. Above all, the pretty glint when the light hits the stone is charming. We also try to make sure that we involve and fuse as many traditional & Indian motifs as possible while designing the jewelry. For instance, Fish, Owls & Peacocks are a few of our favorite elements in designing.
How did you come up with the idea of client diaries?
Divya: Shortly after we started, customers’ appreciation started trickling in. Most of the time, our happy clients would send us pictures wearing their TheiaScape goodies. It made our day, every time one of those made it to our inboxes. So, we came up with #clientdiaries to share the joy we felt, and it instantly struck a chord with our patrons. Now we have pictures coming in by the dozens, and we couldn’t be happier.
Why did you decide to go with handicrafts and handlooms instead of working with machinery?
Surbhi: With the advent of precision machinery, the richness of embroidery and handcrafts have been reduced to cheap aping. Our vision is to promote the beauty, sustainability, and prowess of local arts indeed and weaves. Also, the unparalleled effort by talented craftsmanship that goes into the makings of these is laudable. Without efforts such as TheiaScape, our local arts would soon be forgotten and die out gradually. No offense to mass producers, but machine-made goods often lack a soul and a charm that comes with a hand-crafted or a handloom product. It is as though the artist/weaver has added a piece of themselves to the product. There is also more scope for making your products bespoke and customer-centric when it is handmade.
You are not just a fashion-based company, but you also hold interesting conversations on important topics like depression, breastfeeding, child literacy, and much more. How do you coordinate these topics in your work and spread awareness?
Mekhala: As a women-centric outfit, we always put women first. Our approach towards beauty is wholesome wellness and weaves, trinkets; accessories are just a part of it. At TheiaScape, we recognize the importance of feeling beautiful from within. Our speakeasy platform is solely meant for empowerment, and to let women know, you are not alone! To have a social fabric that is all-inclusive is very important to all three of us. Building awareness about various topical issues that make our surroundings increasingly inclusive tops our priority list.
Your product names are catchy. How do you come up with them?
Divya: We mostly come up with the names of our products based on the feelings the sarees or the jewelry inspire in us. We are a perfect blend of quirky, witty & wise, and thus more than often, the names that we end up choosing reflects all of these.
The new generation of kids is not that keen on sarees. How do you attract such customers and make your sarees appeal to them?
Surbhi: Like any other average Indian kid, the saree has had a staunch upbringing in our society. So much that societal norms have dominated how it should be worn and not women. Thus, it has been made unapproachable, bordering on alien to youngsters today. At TheiaScape, we encourage experimenting with your wear. We often promote it through our quirky DIY drape videos. Fashion is what we make of it. So, go wild, make your statement count!
How have you been able to integrate the different ideas and views of all the three founding members? What do you do when you have disagreements?
Mekhala: Working in a creative environment often inspires a kind of freedom and patience that a lot of other fields we have worked in does not allow. For us, TheiaScape is our escape into the perfect workspace. We have tailor-made for ourselves – powered by sisterhood, governed by logic and bound by a sense of mutual respect for one another.
1. Favorite brand – Sabyasachi
2. Go to outfit look – Half Saree Drape
3. Jewelry staple – Desi Jhumkas
4. Describe TheiaScape in 3 words – Enlighten, Evolve & Empower
5. Favorite piece you created – Orange Sunshine Multilayered Necklace & Mohiner Ghoraguli (A Linen Saree with Horse Motifs)