Shibani Jain: For Art’s Sake
Educating customers is also a part of the process to explain why a particular artwork is an appropriate representation of their personality thereby, increasing engagement with arts and crafts.
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With a vision of preserving traditional artforms, Shibani Jain founded Baaya Design in 2009. Her training at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad and the experience of working in the art and crafts space gave her the required skills to present traditional art in a contemporary format to urban markets.
Baaya Design offers a range of home accessories and offers interior styling solutions. In addition to the standard retail format that caters to consumers, the company also has a B2B (business to business) aspect. To touch Rs 10 crore in revenue in the upcoming financial year, the company is looking to expand into newer markets through stores and their e-commerce platform. They are also looking at establishing experience centres in new locations of Delhi and Bengaluru this year. Their mission is to support Indian artisans to generate sustainable income through design innovation. Jain on challenge says, “Working with the artisan community has yielded immense challenges. The average designer cannot communicate with the artisan through regular means such as technical drawings until the artisan becomes familiar with the ontemporariness of the work expected. At Baaya Design, we have come to terms with the fact that the artisan functions under various handicaps and we have learnt how to communicate our brief to the artisans and guide them with the tools that we have developed. Imbuing professionalism and discipline into the artisans’ process has been a high point of Baaya’s success.”
Further, they have an internal training module that helps employees understand the design philosophy of the company and the products offered. Art and Craft appreciation sessions are held for aiding understanding. “Our talent sourcing is carried out via design networks. I encourage our designers to participate with the design community at large in knowledge sharing. As a company, we can streamline operational excellence through our vast experience and domain expertise,” says Jain. In addition to research and documentation being a focus, employees are taken on cluster visits to get hands-on experience of working with the crafts.
Educating customers is also a part of the process to explain why a particular artwork is an appropriate representation of their personality thereby, increasing engagement with arts and crafts. Jain endeavours to not just educate and widen her expertise but that of her team as well. “I constantly watch for new national and international trends by visiting and participating in international exhibitions. With the ADI, (Association of Designers, India), NID alumni networks and other design networks I try to keep up with the best practices in the design field at large,” says Jain.