There’s something about foxed pages of an old diary and brass pots tinctured with deep patinas. They serve as enduring objects that despite having weathered and aged, still possess ‘that certain something’ that made us fall for them the first time we laid our eyes on them. But why am I writing about heirloom objects? Aren’t we a soft furnishings business that makes good-looking products to decorate spaces?
So, why so much sentiment then? You’d ask.
It’s because no matter how we slice it, we are all governed by the quiet persistence of our feelings and values, and I believe that it’s good to be a little emotional about things that are going to share space with you. The same holds good about soft furnishings.
Soft furnishings inhabit your loving microcosms and are silent spectators of your life – be that your beautifully upholstered sofa bearing impressions of a dear someone who sat next to you or the cushion carrying the faint sweet fragrance of your little girl’s carefree hair, they are there.
By now, I’m sure you’ve ascertained that I’m a woman with a soft spot for all things beautiful, lasting, and life-enriching. But I’m also about handmade, artisanal workmanship, and passion for crafts. I know you’d want to know who the narrator of this story is; so this is me – Raajkumarri Mutha, founder of Tulips. While I’ve talked about things that are deeply meaningful to me, I’d now like to take you to the starting point of my story.
I’m taking you back in time, precisely, to the year 1990. I was a 30-something, mother of two, and in search of curtains that would cheerfully frame the windows of my home. While this activity could’ve been a breeze, it however, waned into fruitless foraging of fabrics at various stores. I couldn’t find a resource that gave the creative and nebulous streams of my ideas a direction and made them flow mellifluously in my interiors. My enthusiasm soon palled and I thought I might just be able to find a one-legged duck swimming merrily in circles than find unique curtains for my home.
But I wasn’t going to settle for anything generic for my home. There was no way that I was going to begrudgingly allow ‘objects’ to dwell in my house just because there was a dearth of good options. That’s when I decided to replace futile ferreting with my cherry-picking ability; to substitute external assistance with my internal appetite for handmade textile articles that make for ‘valued possessions’. That’s when I decided to make the curtains MYSELF.
The curtain conundrum finally seemed to come to an end. Something profound that lay buried in the far corners of my memories, suddenly surfaced. Memories of my childhood – days when as a little girl I would sit with my mother (though admittedly reluctantly) to learn embroidery. I looked at it more as a chore than a craft. That one skill, which sat dormant for so many years, gave me the confidence that I needed to pull off my personal project.
I bought fabrics, engaged tailors, and finally designed the curtains as I had promised to make on my own. It was a great feeling. The fact that I was involved in making something, which was going to serve as a cheery backdrop to the countless stories that will play out in our lives, in my home, was truly fulfilling.
The excitement and desire of creating soft furnishings did not dwindle but became more definite and alive. It became a second heart that beat strongly for manual dexterity and careful tailoring. I started my own venture in a small garage, christened it “Tulips” (for its valuable attributes of endurance and diversity), sought two passionate tailors and sewing machines, and began taking orders for friends and family. Referrals started pouring in and my work journeyed beyond Pune. Commissions for hotel establishments, homemakers, government offices, mockup flats, and defense organizations followed suit. In short, things got into full swing.
A dream had segued into a lifelong passion and I couldn’t have been happier with the way my life was configured. After 1000 projects, more than 100 employees, 3 stores, and countless meters of fabric spent, Tulips is just the way it was when I started it 26 years ago – a second heart that beats passionately for all things handmade and beautiful.