Our Newest Collaboration with Urban Ladder
This month, we partnered with one of India’s most exciting startups, Urban Ladder. Mela Artisans’ selection of wood-based products will be featured on Urban Ladder’s website, available for our customers in India to purchase directly online.
Founded in 2012 by Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa, Urban Ladder presents a new era in home decor in the subcontinent. This forward-thinking company connects India’s growing urban families with beautiful, handcrafted pieces. With one retail outlet already in Bangalore, the company is now looking to expand with more stores throughout the country.
Mela Artisans chose to collaborate with Urban Ladder because the e-commerce company is design-focused and interested in giving modern Indian consumers a curated collection of pieces to choose from -- it’s not a catch-all of everything in the market. We have a similar philosophy at Mela Artisans: focus on design, albeit by blending old with new, and provide customers a selection of items.
“Urban Ladder and Mela Artisans are a great fit. Both the brands share the belief that product design is the key differentiator in home decor,”
says Pradeep James, Director of Design at Urban Ladder. “We at Urban Ladder immediately gravitated towards Mela Artisans for its impeccable standards of quality and its noble support of the Indian artisan community. This collaboration debuts across our stores and website, in time for the Diwali season. The range is eclectic, quirky, and very festive,” says Pradeep James, Director of Design, Urban Ladder.
Navroze Mehta, our founder, had similar sentiments about the partnership: “When we decided to launch in India, we did a wide scan of the possible partners and many roads led us to Urban Ladder. Our Indian partner needed to be committed to telling the artisan stories. We immediately felt the synergy between the two brands and the benefit to customers and artisans from such a collaboration.”
Just like Mela Artisans has been trying to create linkages in the artisan sector, make it easier for customers to access products otherwise nestled away in remote towns of India, Urban Ladder is bringing freshness to the home decor space, making the whole process of buying furniture and home accents easier, by connecting the dots.
Furniture makers are generally clustered together in urban centers in India. These are small shops run by a single entrepreneur or a family business. They can be a treasure trove. But finding designs that go beyond the traditional, Indian classical motifs can be challenging. Payment and pricing is tricky also -- lots of bartering involved!
As tastes evolve, it’s become harder for Indian families to navigate the markets and find the designs they’re looking for. Urban Ladder streamlines that process, bringing more modern designs for Indian households to choose from. We can relate, given that artisan supply chains are also difficult to navigate with clusters of men and women producing lovely work but often in ways inaccessible to the broader public.
Take our wood collection from Saharanpur, for example. These artisans have been carving wood in Uttar Pradesh for generations, using Indian rosewood, sheesham, and other local offerings. However their workshops are far from the customer. Situated four hours away from the nation’s capital, it’s unlikely that Delhi-based customers will ever discover these master craftsmen and their gems. Hence, we make the process easier by doing the hard work, scoping out the companies that respect fair wages for their artisans, provide healthy working conditions, and ensure the best quality possible. It’s not always an easy ride, but that’s become our specialty, liaising with artisan groups around the country.
Goel and Srivastva are also creative entrepreneurs, often bypassing traditional business techniques for more personal and thoughtful touches. Though an online company, Urban Ladder is quickly growing across India with new retail stores in the works. We like the gumpsch of this Indian brand. When asked by an Indian journalist on his long term vision of the company, Goel said, “We want to be the next IKEA.”
Wow! Excited to be in the company of entrepreneurs with such audacious dreams.
- Rebecca Travis