Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The SOMA story

In the year 1984 as the young couple Andree Pouliot and Radhakrishnan Nair started their married life from a small rented apartment in Jaipur; they were also in the process of conceiving their brainchild SOMA. Faced with the daunting task of setting up a business together while also sharing a life together, their shared passion for block printing and other heritage crafts is what kept them going. Starting with just one customer in Canada, it was not long before Soma grew and spread over to many countries around the world. Persistent through the times of trunk calls, letter writing and telex machines they worked to build the business to its current level, linking hundreds of Indian craftsmen with thousands of consumers spread across the world.


 Soma's first ever retail store was born in Jaipur in the year 1995 and within a few years it became one of the must visit shopping destinations for presidential teams, royals, nobles, lords, ladies and cine stars. The appreciation and acceptance received in Jaipur encouraged them to expand to other cities in India.

 

 Designers from around the world contribute to Soma's repertoire of designs and prints. Jaipur has always been popular for block prints but Soma presents them in a special way to Indian as well as International consumers through their innovative ideas, refined colour sensibility and world class styling. Soma has been a pioneer in transforming traditional hand prints into stylized clothes and home furnishings for contemporary living. The ‘Soma Shop’ was featured among the top 20 shops of the world by Forbs magazine of USA and was the only Indian shop selected to share this platform with Harrods of London, Hermes of Paris and Ralph Lauren of New York.




SOMA already has an organic range of garments, furnishing and children’s wear which they are constantly expanding on and are now working towards going all organic, eventually.The team at Soma endeavors to promote ethical fashion and leave zero carbon foot print. Towards this effort they plan to reuse waste water for other purposes and are also working towards harnessing solar energy

 


Block printing is a tradition that is labor intensive and requires a lot of devotion and undying passion. The block makers and printers have children who have left the villages looking for education and are now living in cities. One of the major challenges this industry faces today is training people to carry this tradition forward. However team Soma is marching along on their goal to keep the ancient craft of hand block printing thriving through the villages of Rajasthan while producing exquisite crafts for homes and people around the world. Andree Pouliot and Radhakrishnan Nair‘s efforts towards keeping this craft alive will go a long way in preserving the tradition and technique of block printing for future generations. “Working with printers and other crafts people was and still is so fulfilling for both our creative needs" Andree enthuses.



I have been buying SOMA products for the past decade or so and have been a regular visitor to the Soma store in Bangalore. I especially love their home decor/ linen section. My reasons for wanting to share Soma products with the TPYB readers were not only for its connection to Rajasthan but also because I have always loved the fresh and ever evolving design aesthetics that I have come to associate SOMA with. However what stands out most is the warm and responsive customer service at the store. Andree & Radhakrishnan thank you for sharing the Soma story with us. And a special thanks to Mekha Rajan for making it possible for the story of Andree, Radhakrishnan and their baby to come alive through TPYB.




Soma has recently launched its online store. So if you don’t have a Soma store in your city, don’t worry Soma products are just a click away www.somashop.com

Read other posts from the 'We heart Rajasthan' series here and here and while you are at it you might also like this.