23 - 25 MAY 2023 | 10:00 - 18:00 DAILY

DUBAI WORLD TRADE CENTRE

SARITA HANDA AND HER JOURNEY INTO THE INDIAN DESIGN FIELD

11 Jan. 2023

What do you get when you combine a keen eye for aesthetics, a passion for Indian craftsmanship, and a love for textiles? A craftsman-led, heritage-focused lifestyle brand that brought forth a revolution in the domestic and international luxury home design markets.

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Mrs. Sarita Handa, a powerhouse name in the Indian design field, started her journey into entrepreneurship from humble beginnings. The wife of an army officer, she accompanied him across India, travelling the length and breadth of the country. In these years, her love for domestic textile techniques grew, and she had the vision to create a brand that reinvigorated pride and interest in Indian textiles worldwide.

So determined was Mrs. Handa that she put her life savings into starting the business. She launched the eponymous brand Sarita Handa (Sarita Handa Exports Pvt. Ltd., or SHEPL) in 1992, with nothing but grit and conviction. A family-run enterprise at heart, Mrs. Handa is the energetic and driven force behind the label, lauded throughout the industry for her attention to detail, creative force, and palpable dynamism.

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Her initial foray into exports led to an impressive client list of notable global names like William Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware.. While most people would have been satisfied having achieved this level of success, Mrs. Handa’s ambition was not to be dimmed. “I do not give myself the liberty to take things for granted no matter how good the situation is,” says Mrs Handa. She branched into the retail sector in 2012 and expanded her offerings to include furniture, decor, and artefacts, all of which possessed that signature Sarita Handa touch of craftsmanship: sophistication melded with indigenous designs, resulting in a luxurious design language that celebrates Indian heritage. According to her, “the word luxury is being re-defined as something that is handcrafted, indigenous, and conscious of the environment. Today’s customers are becoming conscious and mindful of resources and carbon footprint. As a brand, we have always interpreted luxury through levels of craftsmanship and we continue to do so.” Innovative design and uncompromising quality are the two things that customers in India have come to expect when they shop the brand’s range of bed and bath linen, furniture, decor, and fabrics, which are available in experiential stores across Mumbai, Hyderabad,  New Delhi and Ahmedabad.

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One of the key reasons for Sarita Handa’s enduring success has been that her finger has remained firmly on the pulse of the demands of the new Indian customer. According to her, “the Indian customer is not only well-travelled but also has the sensibility to appreciate finer details in all aspects of life, including art.” To address the increasing demand for high-quality and accessible luxury in the domestic market, Sarita Handa launched their online retail space at www.saritahanda.com in May 2020. A year later, the brand launched an exclusive online-only furniture line that further cemented its place in people’s homes and hearts. This collection boasted timeless pieces that combined versatility with a distinct visual identity, which fit in with the post-pandemic sentiment of making the home both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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In a move that’s considered to be quintessentially Sarita Handa, the brand launched a much-lauded concept store in New Delhi towards the latter half of 2022.  In line with the millennial philosophy of ‘less is more,’ this store is a fresh direction for the brand. Said Mrs. Handa, “Our new line launched here understands that the Indian customer, is not only demanding but also more quality and design conscious,” and thus, Sarita Handa NOW was born. The sprawling 11,000 sq ft space functions as a delightful sensorial experience, allowing customers to engage with each piece and visualise it as if it were their own.

Today, this renaissance woman continues to make an impact in both her professional and personal lives. Under her firm direction, her company is pro-women, with a specific focus on educating and upskilling female members of society’s less fortunate sections. “It is exceedingly gratifying to be involved in a line of work that makes a difference for women who are semi-skilled, uneducated and not economically independent,” says Sarita Handa, thus proving to be the very heart of the business that has sustained for over three decades.

A loving wife, a doting mother, and a woman on a mission, it looks like Sarita Handa is just getting started.