It’s been high on every tourist’s must-see-in-Bombay (now Mumbai) list for the past century, and it has recently become a destination of sorts to get handmade stationery, candles in every conceivable shape, smell or size, speciality teas and aroma oils. Now, Bombay Swadeshi Stores Ltd, which was re-christened The Bombay Store in 1995, is using Indian pop culture to add a new flavour to its large repertoire. It celebrates its 102 years with a collection of products that showcase the quirky sights and peculiarities of Mumbai.
The Bombay Masti collection, by designer Krsna Mehta, shows a crazy, kitschy picture of Mumbai’s crowded streets, various communities and the glitz of Bollywood. Of course, Mumbai’s celebrated icons such as the dabbawallas, auto rickshaws, haath gaadi, taxis, bus tickets and nimbu-mirchis, feature prominently on the products. “We wanted to have a very Bombay-centric theme. The designer has lived in the city and knows how it functions,” says Asim Dalal, managing director (MD), The Bombay Store. You’ll find bags, candles, coasters, cushions, calendars, framed posters, gift bags, matchboxes, mugs, note pads, scarves, T-shirts, trays, ties, telephone diaries and boxes of incense sticks in this collection. The colours used are vibrant reds, yellows and greens, as well as ochre and brick hues. Bold graphic prints with bicycle and auto rickshaw motifs decorate the cushions, while the text on a mug reads “thanda paani”. Prices range from Rs50 to Rs2,500. “The best thing about the collection is that the products are not just functional or pieces of art, but are both,” says Dalal.
Coasters with autorickshaw motifs.
Dalal took over as MD in 1994 and converted what was almost like a “state emporium gift shop”, selling handicrafts and saris, into a younger space appealing to a wider audience. Besides international tourists and customers who love the tea selection, Dalal says the store has a very large base of local clients, who come for the home accessories, home furnishings and handicrafts.
Cushion covers featuring modes of transport quintessential to Mumbai.
The Bombay Masti collection may not make it to The Bombay Store’s branches in Pune, Bangalore and Goa, because Dalal says the city-centric products might not be such a hit there, but he says they are always on the lookout to associate with designers who can partner with their brand with such innovative, quirky offerings.
Products are available at The Bombay Store, Fort, Mumbai.