Arture – By Shivani Patel

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Meet Shivani Patel, an accessories designer from Chennai and founder of Lemon Drop Design Solutions. At a very young age she developed an interest for making little bags, pouches and gifts for friends and family, by picking up scraps of leather from her father’s factory, and soon enough that led her to take up an accessory design course from NIFT, with specialization in footwear and leather goods. Soon after college, she wanted to design and so she started making wallets and handbags under the brand name “Lemondrop”, and started offering design services to other brands.

Tell us more about Arture and how did you come across Cork?
When I was done with my course and I was free for a few months, I took the time to completely redecorate my boring white room. I painted in earthy colors and murals, made some shelves for the wall with some old plywood that was lying around, and even decided to work on a pin-up board for myself. That’s when I started looking for cork to use. I sourced cork sheets locally and they really intrigued me. I  thought about the idea of using them in products but I knew it wouldn’t work as the cork I found here was rubberized and very thick.

I had always thought of the idea of starting an all-natural, Eco-brand, but I didn’t find anything that felt right. When I researched and learned about the properties of cork, and the benefits of using it, I didn’t need to think any more. I just needed to find the right supplier.
In 2014, I was in HongKong for a materials fair, and that’s when I found what I had been looking for. I then sourced samples from various parts of the world and did not settle until I was 100% happy with the quality of the cork. I finally decided one supplier that had the perfect material for me.

Do you do the designing and manufacturing by yourself?
I design myself, as well as handle the business side of things. I work alone with a very skilled technician, who helps bring my designs to life. He also looks after the production and quality aspects.

Entrepreneurship at a young age, what were your struggles if any?
Dealing with fear is the tough part. When things get a little rocky, fear creeps in. And you’ve got to learn that fear is the enemy. On days that I get scared, I need to take a step back, relax, and remind myself of why I do what I do. And then I’m back 🙂

What/Who is your inspiration?
My parents mainly. My dad is the reason I got into this field. He ran an export company which is very different from what I do, but it did make me develop an inclination towards this field. I decided to take up design, and they supported that decision. My mom has an inherent sense of style that comes to her naturally, and I like to believe that’s where I get my design aesthetic from 🙂
Other than that, on a completely non-design side, Audrey Hepburn is my constant source of inspiration, and I am a big Seth Godin fan.

Your favorite brands for accessories?
Brands like Bellroy and Nuvo really inspire me. I love the character that the brands have. It resonates across their products, their website design, everywhere. I love that they constantly stick to their brand voice, and simultaneously create beautiful, meaningful products. That’s the kind of brand Arture aspires to be.

Future plans for yourself and your brand?
I want Arture to become all that it is capable of being. And cork is just a starting point. It just so happened that I stumbled upon cork and loved it. But Arture is about nature. So we are constantly going to be on the look out for any materials that are natural and innovative.
Arture crowd-funding campaign is now live! You can check out the products and the story behind Arture here.

Advertisements for Happy Online shopping

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Slowly but surely I am turning into an avid online shopper. Although I have been shopping online for quite a while now, initially I refrained from buying stuff like shoes and jeans online because, I still preferred going to the store and trying them out before deciding to swipe my card. But the crowds at shopping malls, the never ending queue at the trial rooms and dragging my legs out of exhaustion after a whole day of standing and walking is not how I prefer to spend my weekends! Another big bonus of online shopping is definitely the discounts that you can avail and get your favorite products delivered right to your doorstep at a much more reasonable price than the original!

HappyCheckout is one such website that’s your one stop solution for exclusive, verified coupon codes. There are a large number of websites that claim to provide discount coupons but how many of them provide genuine coupons that actually work? The frustration at not finding such sites that add actual value to the shopper’s intent was what made this team of online shoppers start HappyCheckout.

Just as the names says, the main intent here is to make your checkout process happy and hassle free! All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

1. Open and search for your choice of shopping site or simply click on the popular ones available in the list given.

2. Browse through the coupons available for the website and click on ‘reveal code’ for accessing the coupon.

3. You’ll automatically be directed to the website where you can browse and shop to your heart’s content!

4. Copy the code from and enter it in the checkout page and apply the coupon!

They offer coupons not just for purchasing from fashion retail sites like Jabong, Myntra, Yepme, Zovi but also travel websites like Make my Trip and Redbus, and food like Dominos and KFC. It’s really that simple! I for one, am pretty excited to be using this for all my future shopping hauls!

The Purple Sack

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When it comes to shopping, I have always been a lone wolf. Albeit a happy one! I prefer going alone, and wrapping up my work quick. I usually am a fast shopper, and going with friends always means that I end up waiting for them to finish going through every single piece of clothing and turning the store upside down only to walk out with nothing. If given a chance, they would probably order new stock and reject that too. While I do love offering my opinion and helping them choose a perfect outfit, combining my own shopping agenda with theirs is a big no! Also in the list of big no-no’s while shopping are long queues at the trial room (standing for half an hour to try out one dress, which I know will never fit me is not the kind of retail therapy I look for), blaring announcements specially over the weekends, and the crowds! My best time for shopping has always been in the afternoons on weekdays, where I can be at peace and not have to feel like am trying to wade through a sea of people, all intent on stamping on my feet.

So we decided to turn the whole ‘going shopping’ experience into a shoot in itself. With online shopping taking over our my life so rapidly, it felt like a good old trip to the mall deserved it’s own post, with actual window shopping, a lot of walking and a bite to eat! I wore a comfortable blue maxi dress and added a statement clutch by thepurplesack. Their collection of sling bags and satchels is extensive and colorful! Not to mention their range of home decor items (totally crushing on their coasters and cushion covers). So while I re-acquaint myself with the charm of an empty shopping mall and sales assistants descending upon me like vultures on their prey, you guys enjoy a trip through the mall with these pretty pictures shot by my awesomesauce photographer!

Dress: | Bag: | Shoes:  
Photography by: Divya Medikonda
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Top 3 Websites To Buy Bags Online for Discounts

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Wallet – check. Deo – check. Moisturizer – check. Hand sanitizer – check. Wet wipes/makeup wipes – check. Charger and earphones – check. Sunglasses – check. Spare flats – check. And a million other assorted items like makeup pouch, a notepad, a pair of earrings, a novel, a protein bar, a mini water bottle – ALL CHECK.

That’s the bare minimum that I carry in my handbag on an everyday basis. On the days when I have a photo shoot planned, I also carry my camera and lenses. Whoever said that we girls carry our entire world in our bags was damn right!! Even on days when I am just carrying a tiny sling bag or a clutch, I have another bulging big tote tucked away in my car with all these essentials. Now that it’s summer you’ll definitely be carrying a few more essentials like a scarf or a hat to protect yourself from the sun, a sunscreen lotion or an umbrella when you have some walking to do, and definitely a water bottle (keep sipping to keep yourself hydrated!).

The websites that I am mentioning are quite popular and well know. What makes it a tad bit advantageous for us shopaholics is that you can avail different kinds of discounts very single day on these websites with the help of CouponzGuru. Just click on the links below the pictures to make use of the coupons on various products!
Jabong is fast growing to be the #1 online shopping destination, thanks to having so many brands under one roof! My main reason for opting for jabong is for their huge variety in the number of products they have. Oh and super fast delivery. Just 3 days and I always have the product at the doorstep!

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1. Done by None blue stripe bag / 2. Steve Madden Fuchsia bag / 3. Lara Karen Quilted Tote / 4. Miss Bennet Stripe tote /
On par with Jabong, the reason I love myntra is for their massive discounts and the little ‘Click for best offer’ button. Crazy as it sounds they have huge reductions on prices. I got an American Swan shorts price at Rs.1299 for just Rs.871. 
One click of the button and magic happens! 😉

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1. Steve Madden Big Buddha Tote / 2. Benetton off-white tote / 3. India circus printed tote
Amazon is your place to go for big brands and huge discounts. Check out these bags below. Need I say more?

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1. Michael Kors Tote in Cream / 2. Coach Tote in Mahogany / 3. Ralph Lauren Tote in Gold
-This post was sponsored by CouponzGuru. All opinions are my own