The pursuit of happiness, for me, lies in the world of arts and crafts. Even as a young boy, I always had a deep desire to create something beautiful, meaningful, and lasting. I was fortunate to be encouraged by my family, and to live close to nature. At Wynberg Allen School in Mussoorie, through the course work, I honed my sense of colour and design. My own experiments during vacations helped me develop that aesthetic further. At some point, persuaded by conventional definitions of career and success, I began to study economics, but I could never resist the tug of crafts. Finally, in 1999, I decided to listen to my inner wisdom and follow my calling
The first medium that I started working with was paper. Versatile, beautiful and very under-utilized in India at the time, it was the perfect material for me to begin my business with. With no formal training in arts and crafts, I tapped into my intuitive skill and created greeting cards and bookmarks that I first gifted friends and family, and then began to retail. In the Delhi of the late Nineties, there was little demand for or interest in handcrafted paper products. The entrepreneur in me did not give up. I had taken a leap of faith to invest time and hard work in this business and if there was no market for my products, I was determined to create one. Eventually, a few stores in Delhi agreed to stock my label. The aesthetic may have not been as sophisticated as it is now but even at that time, the products were distinctive and beautiful.
As more customers discovered my work, the pace of business picked up. I, too, began learning more about both the creative and technical aspects of my work. Travelling across the world, I visited and participated in exhibitions, trade fairs, shows and expos, developing an understanding for materials, processes and trends. I built relationships with some of the best manufacturers and vendors in the world, which I still and always will value. With growing sales and more praise for my products, my confidence in them grew and I started exporting them to UK, Singapore, Australia USA, France and Germany. In 2007, I began incorporating metalcraft into my designs. It was an important move, both commercially and emotionally, because my family business is of metal. And to bring the material into my own entrepreneurial journey felt natural. The market’s response to the metalcraft was overwhelming. This allowed me to expand the range of products of my brand, which was now called Anand Prakash. Soon after, I set up a R&D team and my own manufacturing unit. We created a website for the brand and showcased our products online.
At Anand Prakash, we approach every aspect of our work with a sense of inclusiveness – every member of every team is crucial to the process. We also respect the process very deeply. This is a privileged opportunity, to be able to devote time, energy and resources to the integrity of the creative process. And now, I am personally training trusted team-members to be even more integral to the creative and management streams. So that as they grow, we all grow, serving our customers and the world even more.
Our aesthetic is rooted in an Indian vocabulary, and is global in its interpretation. Our repertoire has expanded in both its mediums and products. My team and I work hard to tell new stories, with better design, with each range. Our customers – both old and new – have come to expect superior quality from us, and excellent service; their referrals and continued support are priceless. Profitability and expansion are, for us, organic and linked to both our past and our future. Being successful means being true to ourselves, our customers and the world around us.
With an online presence, and stores across the country, I am immensely grateful and humbled by the fact that my brand is now synonymous with quality and versatility. Our aesthetic is our signature. It is this fact that my team and I consider a privilege and cherish every day that we come to work at Anand Prakash.