Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. What if you found efficient storage that is quirky and kitsch and looks great? Welcome to Pitaara Handmade– started by Megha – the business retails hand painted, vintage trunks that store everything from exquisite wedding jewellery to heirloom sarees.
As children, Megha was intrigued by her grandmother’s artistically decorated ‘secret’ suitcases at her Marwari household. Affectionately referred to as ‘Pitaara’ by her grandmother, the trusty iron trunks were used to store warm clothes, heirloom lehengas and vintage jewellery. Megha loved rummaging through each of them, to find some of the most beautiful vintage antiques inside. “I have been very fond of pitaaras since I was a child. Tucked away into the corners of the house, they were mysterious things that intrigued us. Each was not just an item of storage but carried culture and memories passed on from generation to generation,” Megha says.
When Megha got married, she decided to take her wedding trousseau and a few of these prized possessions home to her husband’s home in Mumbai. “I took three of my mother’s trousseau trunks along with me. I created floral patterns on them, painted them and even quilted them to make them look kitschy yet modern. Suddenly, everyone from my friends to my in-laws wanted not just one, but all!” She laughs.
After repeated entreaties from her friends and family, Megha started Pitaara Handmade- a hand painted, vintage inspired trunk store that celebrated tradition with a nod to contemporary aesthetics, to make it more accessible to her clients. Unique and eye catching, appreciation for the trunks quickly snowballed into word-of-mouth recommendation and Megha had strangers calling them up for custom trunks before their store was even officially launched! They now also cater to a celebrity clientele. “I think people liked them because they come across as a stylish, multi-purpose décor item that could be easily customized to suit their tastes. I remember, we had planned to launch the store in October this year, but to our utter delight, even the sample pieces were sold out!”
Pitaara Handmade’s wedding collection is a wonderful assortment of bright yellow, red, ivory, pink and mint green trunks that double up as décor and are perfect for brides and grooms who like to experiment with style. One of the most popular trunks is the ‘Pout Lady’ pitaara which features a face of a curly- haired woman with a pink pout and flower motifs. The red ‘Vintage Car’ Pitaara and the ‘Tring Tring’ pitaara are often chosen as wedding favours and gifts. These usually come in medium (20 inches) and large sizes (26 inches) and are a great mix of pop culture and tradition.
Megha is currently overwhelmed by the response to their storage pieces and want to promote their business abroad, “We want to go international and make people aware about beautiful Indian aesthetics through our products.”