Their ethically sustainable collection of home décor and accent furniture is the romance of traditional handcrafted techniques with the beauty of art. Artychoke is the brainchild of the talented mother-daughters trio – Pragya, the artist; Anugya, a lawyer; and Ila, an art curator and gallerist. The brand has its flagship store in New Delhi and an established physical presence in Mumbai – Bangalore – Chennai – Jaipur – Kolkata with plans to launch in Hyderabad soon.
MEET MOTHER-DAUGHTER TRIO
Ila Jain, COO – The Mother, The Gallerist, The Backbone of Artychoke. The Chief Operations Officer adorns many hats and wears them all very well. She has an eye for detail & style and oversees the entire operation of manufacturing while heading the Delhi office.
Pragya Jain, Co-CEO – Pragya Jain, a graduate of the Delhi College of Art, New Delhi, has been evolving as an artist in the Fine Art field since 2001. She has been awarded by the President of India, Late Dr. Abdul Kalam for excellence in Art in 2001. A creative and thinking artist par excellence, Pragya made a flying start into art with her maiden art showing at the Polka Art Gallery, New Delhi. Her works were handpicked to be exhibited with a number of Indian masters. Today, her works are in the homes, offices of major collectors and million-dollar apartment models all over India. Having shown her works at prestigious galleries in New York, Boston and various other cities within the United States had given her artistic career an immense stimulation. Her works belong in several collections and art connoisseurs such as the Jindals and the Prestige group in India to name a few. Over the years, Pragya has displayed in a number of Women oriented shows as well as contemporary art shows and has also been a part of the Art Bengaluru and the Art Bengaluru Auction in Bangalore, India.
Anugya Ajmera, Co-CEO – The younger daughter, lawyer and as some would say – the brain behind Artychoke. A successful lawyer left the corporate dream behind to start her very own business, partnered with her mother & sister and Artychoke was born. She has taken the company digital and is constantly working towards growing it each day.
Here are the owners of Artychoke in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) When did an idea of starting this company strike you?
At a young age of 21, I landed my first art exhibit as I graduated from college in 2005. A group show called “Polka” based on the evanescent DOT, showcasing many Indian Masters like Raza & Hussain along with upcoming ones like myself. At the time I would think in circles, everything I painted revolved around the subject, and landed me at this prestigious show in New Delhi. The show was opened by Nawab Pataudi Ji who was extremely kind and genuinely appreciated my work. The journey began then and since I have showcased in New York, Boston & many cities across the United States, Dhaka, St. Petersburg and of course pan India. The journey of art was fulfilling, but soon I realised that there is more I could do with the knowledge and somehow just needed to make more and more. Aching to see my design in everyday things, over a phone call with my sister Anugya, a practising Lawyer then, we decided we will apply my art and manufacture a few products. Our Mother, the most instrumental in moving this forward converted this into a “real” business. The three of us with the same aesthetic sensibilities set on the journey to making a few décor accents in 2013 and today 2020 have a complete line of Bespoke Furniture, Décor, Gifting and Art. Today in year 7 of our label, we run it from 3 cities – New Delhi (headquarters, store and production unit), Jaipur & Bangalore. – Pragya Jain
2) Is there any specific story for the name of the company or was it any random idea?
It’s a funny story, to tell you the truth. I was in New York at the time, we had been brainstorming for a few weeks for the perfect name – something that should have “art” as an integral part of it. Suddenly while eating the quintessential New York Pizza, the name struck me in the form of the topping on my Pizza – Artichokes! It was perfect really, a vegetable with a heart, and its many layers that resonate with the vegan brand and its design language. And there we had it – Artychoke with a “Y”! The horse of the logo arrived into it with its fervent presence in Pragya’s art and designs. It seems to keep the company and the brand charged with its matchless energy. - Anugya Ajmera
3) What is your company best known for?
The nucleus of our designs lay in original art and then together we ideate and make products that resonate our design sensibilities as a team of 3. Design for us is a compilation of original art making its way creatively and innovatively into your homes. Artychoke is an eco-conscious brand built with originality, imagination and strength.
4) What challenges did you face in the beginning?
It’s the placement of the brand that takes time to establish, and the whole process is a challenge in itself – where to showcase, what to say yes and where to learn to say no. These are some things we have learnt as a label over the early years. We surely have made some mistakes, but have learnt from each mistake we made. From manufacturing to logistics, to showcase as well as pricing.
5) How would you describe the mother-daughters trio?
We bond over art and design, and work with an effortless coordination despite the fact that we are based in three different cities – Delhi, Bangalore and Jaipur. Our range of furniture, home décor and fashion accessories comprise of never seen before prints, as they first originate on Pragya’s canvases, which she paints in Bangalore where she now lives. Digital prints of these oil and acrylic paintings adorn our products to give them their individuality. An extensive assemblage of products is manufactured in wood, leatherette, fabric and paper in our production unit in New Delhi which I oversee. Every Artychoke product is handcrafted and hand carved by Indian Artisans in New Delhi, and we proudly follow Make in India as our philosophy. – Ila Jain
Anugya has breathed into the brand her fantastic sensibility of design and business. And our Mother – Mrs. Ila Jain is the spine and strength of the label. Overseeing manufacturing and alliances with design houses across the country. Her immaculate taste and sense of design gives the label a sense of maturity and class. – Pragya Jain
6) How do you differentiate personal and professional life?
It’s hard to say that we don’t bring work home. When the two girls are visiting their mother’s place they can’t help but sit over a hot cup of late-night tea and discuss new designs and collections. We actually bond on the basis of work as well as enjoy fun-filled family time with the family.
7) What has been the company’s biggest achievement?
We set on this journey back in 2013 with just a few decor accents in our collection. We consider our growth over the years an achievement – today we have a bespoke line of furniture, accent pieces, decor and art; and our clientele consists of many renowned names too. We are running our brand from 3 cities and distance has not been a barrier for us. We always believe that the biggest achievement is yet to come and thrive towards it.
8) Has the company affected the personal lives?
We look at every product and piece of art in a new light. We aspire to be not just a brand but a design language. Print being our strength, we wish for our consumer to be besotted with our designs as much as we are creating each one of them.
9) What are the similar interests the trio poses?
Design! We are obsessed with it. We design and redesign and thankfully are always on the same page. Our design language seems to be the same. We critique each other’s work to bring out the best in what we put out in the brand.
10) How was life in quarantine? Has it affected the company?
If there is one thing this Pandemic has taught us, it is to not take anything for granted, especially not our Planet. We ensure we reduce our carbon footprint, by sourcing locally, by caring for the environment, by sustainability.
Recently we had a launched a campaign to raise awareness for the same called – “The Earth is our only home”
Another way we do that is by concentrating on our E-commerce website www.artychoke.co, while it is the need of the hour, this way we also reduce waste; the product is packed, shipped worldwide, only once, when it has been purchased.
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