Daisy Tanwani used to work as a marketer at Danone (a food company in Paris) and had never received a formal education or experience in the field of design. However, her passion for building a brand that worked alongside a strong artisan community and promoted gender parity across grassroots levels was stronger.
Having left her job in 2015, she not only gave up on a high paying steady income but also on an opportunity to work in one of the leading cities of the world.
Thereon, putting in all of her savings, Tanwani self-funded her business and thus started 'Pinklay'- a homegrown lifestyle brand that focuses on bringing Indian handicrafts to the forefront. Originating in Mumbai, the brand partners with local artisans to fuse traditional and modern designs in unexpected ways to create stunning products.
Pinklay was made to harness the incredible elegance of Indian handicrafts. It is a brand that is "Made in India" and accessible to Indian as well as global consumers. It prides itself in reinventing traditional handcrafts through modern sensibilities with a premium feel to its products. The brand prides itself on authentic and original pieces with brilliant quality and craft. They are size inclusive in their clothing and are spread over various genres - womenswear, kidswear, home and furniture.
Employed Over 400 Artisans
However, for Tanwani, the journey of Pinklay was not always an easy one. She created a brand where "Designed In India" stood firm alongside "Made In India". Today, Pinklay clocks in 3,000 orders a month and engages work with over 400 artisans, out of which 200 are women. She not only empowered her artisans but also made them feel proud of their work and gave them the recognition and credit they deserve.
"India has an unparalleled heritage of handicrafts and a shrinking population of artisans. These are too precious to fade away in oblivion. Pinklay is a medium to preserve our handcraft heritage," Daisy Tanwani, founder and CEO of Pinklay told The Logical Indian.
Tanwani believes that if India can strengthen its handcraft heritage to more than just a 'cheap manufacturing hub' and take it to its rightful place of being a design and craft hub, the industry can be a source of soft power globally.
Being a woman entrepreneur, however, was not an easy passage. People often questioned her judgement as a woman, her ability to strive in a male-dominated world and her grit to leave her job and start afresh at 30 years of age. "You don't even have a design degree; you're just a graduate", "You will soon have kids, how will you manage?", "Why don't you just source your products and open a boutique, like other women?", "Without funding, how will you grow?" were just a few of the many questions that were thrown at her when all she needed was "You got this".
Today, she runs a business that has established itself as a lifestyle design brand to reckon with globally. Pinklay has hired more employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, which proved to be a time of large-scale unemployment and clocked in a company growth of 400% in the past two years.
Empowers All Genders
"Pinklay works with 500 artisans and pays them fairly, often above prevailing market rates. There is no place for gender entitlement in my organisation, so we hire and pay equally based on skill and not gender," Tanwani said.
The entrepreneur believes, as a woman, one is wired differently. But different doesn't mean inadequate. Through her journey with Pinklay, she urges women to stay connected with their gender and lead. She wants women to realise that mindsets change only if they believe in what they want to achieve.
"Almost 50% of our artisan workforce is women. In socio-cultural disadvantaged clusters where women can't travel to work, we take work to them. All our quilting, embroidery, and tassel making happen remotely in clusters where women cannot leave their homes," she added.
Through her will to make a difference, actual families have gotten a second chance, women artisans are now looked at through the same lens as a male artisan, and a brand that was initially written off is now competing as a premier Indian Design brand on the global forefront.
The brand strives to be a sustainable business and is extremely mindful of its environmental impact. This is reflected not just in their products, but the entire value chain from production to packaging. Pinklay only works with natural materials but stays away from plastic, leather, synthetic fabric, etc.
"We source everything locally from talent to materials. We use only pure materials and have a strict no synthetics, no cruelty policy. At this moment, we are 85% plastic-free operations. We try hard to maximise the use of raw materials and responsibly dispose of residue materials," she added.
Holding a remarkable brand presence in India, Pinklay has imprinted itself on the world map with its unique product offering. The brand uses traditional crafts, such as hand block printing, dabbu printing, metal etching, hand painting, hand quilting, wood carving, furniture making, handloom rug making, etc. – all of which require a lot of skill and perseverance.