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Design: Writing

Success, Not Just On Paper

What can be more unimaginable than writing on a piece of paper made out of spices, cow dung, rice and jute? And that paper being used to make popular stationery products, greetings and artefacts? This is what Anand Prakash has not just done but excelled in over last 13 years.

Image of Anand Prakash Overview of Anand Prakash Works

Inspired by nature, Anand is an inspiration himself in making eco-friendly products out of 100% recycled and wood-free paper. He has not only been able to sell his designer range, but has made it into a lucrative business with a 100% year-on-year (YOY) growth.

From handmade greeting cards, wedding invites, travel journals, bookmarks, intricately cut door hangers, pencils, pencil boxes, pen stands, bottle openers, everything is made from wood-free paper and brass metal. Love for nature, experimentation and the grit to make a difference has helped this 33-year-old Economics graduate from Delhi University take art and craft a notch higher.

Creative vision

What started as a hobby of making cards out of handmade paper, available with a local retailer, is today a passion that has driven him towards opening three stores at the Mumbai airport – the airport with the most expensive stall space in India – and the original one in Delhi at Shahpur Jat. Anand fondly looks back to the day when he sold his first card to a friend during his Sri Venkateshwara College days. It was that moment which initiated the maverick craft artist into a journey completely different from his business family’s.

“Little did my folks know that the seeds of creativity were sown at my school Wynberg Allen, Mussoorie. Art and craft was taken very seriously there. For two years after completing graduation, my parents didn’t even know what I was up to,” says Anand, who belongs to a small town Daltonganj in Jharkhand.

Hard work pays

Back in 2000, when Anand ventured into realising his dream, the market for designer handmade products was at a nascent stage. A strong financial background helped him take risks and pave the way towards a crafty career. However, it wasn’t still easy. Anand went to small time retailers asking them to put his cards on shelves, most of them refused. He could finally convince one shop-keeper who had a lot of expat customers.

“Christmas was then around the corner and my cards were a sell-out. The foreigners loved the craft. They also appreciated the idea of eco-friendly cards,” he says with a sudden excitement in his voice. “Till date, foreigners come looking for my small shop in Shahpur Jat.

With enough inspiration coming his way now, Anand started experimenting with different things to make paper. And success after success led him towards hiring a lot of local artisans in Delhi. Rest, as they say, is history. Anand has feet in Mumbai and Delhi all the time.

Life altering moment

“I saw the love of people for me and my work by way of a design project that I initiated on the occasion of World Environment Day. I reached out to people throughout the world through friends, family, Facebook and Twitter and asked them to send me their regional newspapers dated June 5. I wanted to make recycled products for my Scriptum range from these newspapers. I have already received newspapers from 15 countries and that too from people I don’t know personally. This shows how art connects everyone, no matter what religion and nationality you belong to,” says an elated Anand.

Future forward

Anand first wants to expand in all the cities across India, before going global. “I have a lot of proposals from other countries. I want ‘Anand Prakash’ to become a renowned brand. I also want to open centres which would teach art and craft,” he tells you. The artist has recently launched wooden and brass furniture. I am also keen on introducing a range of porcelain products in near future.

Love for Delhi

“The fact that Dilli Haat attracts so much crowd till now, speaks volumes about the bright past, present and future of the craftsmen in Delhi. It is a very welcoming city. People from everywhere can come and settle here without much trouble. It is also a friendly city for new entrepreneurs,” says Anand adding that he could not think of being anywhere but Delhi.

Interesting hangouts

Anand suggests people to visit the emporiums in Central Delhi and, of course, Dilli Haat.

Food Galore

Pandara Road is one place that’s open for you at all times of the day and night and serves amazingly good Indian food.

Website: www.anandprakash.com

Facebook: Anand Prakash on FB





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