Dhora was something that I conceptualized way back when I was doing my master's in Milan. It was 2013 when we were given a task to hypothetically establish a brand and work on it, and I took that task rather too seriously.
I worked on Dhora quite constructively. When I came back to India, I took on the same brand and the same visualization that I had for that concept. Dhora was largely about picking up the local, especially Rajasthani, crafts and skills and giving them a modern twist. More than that, I just wanted to make sure that as Indians, we become more relevant when it comes to branding. Because when I went out, I realized that we have such thick art & craft and skills & culture but as Indians, we lacked packaging and marketing skills.
Things have changed now, I am talking back to 2013 when there were not many brands. Now it's like a forest of homegrown local and cool innovative brands here. But back in the day, it was that gap in the market that made me realize that I need to pick up on this whole marketing game and make sure that the products are relevant. We are not just mere exporters to outside brands.
I got back to Jaipur and I picked up jewelry because that was something I grew up around. It was the most convenient source of craft that I could work with and I could express. So that’s how I started with jewelry. There were not many brands back then so I’ll be honest and I will not deny that it was easy to make a mark. But now the time has changed, and it is challenging. So as soon as we took out our first collection, in a matter of 2-3 months, we were stocking in places like Good Earth, and we had our first fashion show. So, I am very grateful for those times and to all the people who showed support then.
My first collection of jewelry was called ‘The Mistake’ ’cause I was never really been educated properly about design or jewelry. When I was working on the collection, all the workers used to tell me, are you sure this is gonna work? Because this looks like a mistake. My background was in mass communication from Xavier’s and then I did fashion promotion and branding at Istituto Marangoni, Milano. My first collection had baseball masks and Chakri as jewelry or ornaments. So the collection was called the mistake and ever since then, I am so grateful for that mistake was made.
Personally, I have a more minimalistic approach toward life and my personal aesthetic is quite minimal. So ever since then, things became commercial and you start looking into the business value while balancing your creative satisfaction. I realized that I needed to fill this gap in the market as when I was young, we were always shopping from Zara, Massimo Dutti, and H&M for jewelry. We never had our own local jewelry brand, it was only about wedding jewelers or it was about street jewelry, even now, the number of demi jewelry fashion brands is so low that you can name them on your fingers. And because of that zeal to create something homegrown for my audience, Dhora started.
And once Dhora took on, I realized I needed an even bigger canvas to express my love for fashion. Since I was a child, I always knew I wanted to do something related to fashion, art & craft, and expression. I have always been into writing and photography. So I knew there was a lot in my mind that goes on and needs to be expressed. Jewelry was one craft, the leather bag was one craft, to begin with, and I just needed a big expression, then came Teatro Dhora. Teatro means theatre in Italian. Teatro Dhora was a meeting point for anything and anyone that has to do with art, design, and expression. We are not merely a stocking of different brands that are in the country and outside. We are a platform and meeting point for all artists, even a poet or singers or carpenters, or makeup artists. It's really a platform where we share stories and we help share a platform with anyone and anyone really! When you come to the store, it is sort of like an adventure.