Arture – By Shivani Patel

accessories, bags online, brand, collaboration, Fashion, people, stories
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.