After three decades of enriching homes worldwide, Sarita Handa, the first lady of furnishing fabrics, tells HELLO! that she is focused on crafting moments for herself and relishing time with her loved ones now. Here’s an excerpt from our chat...
HELLO!: How did your love for textiles transform into a journey that has spanned three decades?
Sarita Handa: “As an army officer’s spouse, I had the privilege of travelling extensively across our nation, where I encountered rich indigenous craftsmanship. It was then that I began collecting exquisitely woven sarees from different states; while collecting these diverse textiles, a profound vision took hold of me prompting a commitment to preserving India’s textile traditions. Thus, our company’s journey was born—in the humble backroom of my mother’s home—and has unfolded organically over the years.Today, it’s heart-warming to be recognised as a household name. As we celebrate 30 years in the business, this journey feels like an ongoing one, without a fixed destination. I’m grateful to my family, particularly my husband, for their support. As I look ahead, my motivation remains centred on providing artisans with every opportunity for their growth and recognition.”
H!: What were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
SH: “Over the years, our journey has been marked by numerous challenges, from military relocations and financial constraints to expanding into international markets to showcase Indian craftsmanship—all before firmly establishing a strong domestic presence. And then, of course, the unexpected curveball of the pandemic. What helped us overcome these hurdles was a clear sense of purpose and love for textiles. Much like an artisan meticulously working a needle, we have woven our own tapestry with boundless passion and unwavering dedication.”
H!: What are you most proud of today?
SH: “I take great pride in the fact that our journey has endured for three decades, built on the foundation of integrity and honesty. To me, these qualities stand as the bedrock of our success. The company’s mission has been twofold: to enrich homes across the world by infusing them with the rich cultural heritage of Indian textiles and crafts, while simultaneously preserving these traditions. Translating my dream into redefining contemporary Indian homes is the best part of my job, yet my vision extends beyond our business accomplishments. I hold a deep desire to make a meaningful impact on society by working towards the betterment of underprivileged children’s education and offering women long- term employment opportunities. It stands as a testament to our dedication to both aesthetics and ethics, forging a connection between artistry and responsibility. As we often say, we not only make products—but build lives.”
H!: Tell us a little bit about your personal life and what your interests are outside of work...
SH: “For the past three decades, I’ve dedicated myself to a singular purpose, leaving little room to explore other avenues. However, my priorities have shifted, and I now place great emphasis on my home and my commitment to regular workouts. Additionally, I’ve discovered the importance of spirituality and dedicating my precious morning hours to self-reflection. Equally cherished by me is the time I spend with my family and friends, especially my four beloved granddaughters. Our bond is remarkably strong, and the closeness we share fills me with immense joy. It’s a reminder of the fulfilment that personal connections can bring.”
H!: What decorating tips would you offer homeowners?
SH: “Building a home isn’t just bricks and mortar; it’s about cultivating an environment where people feel cherished and at ease. On the other hand, beauty lies in the uncomplicated and uncluttered. Walls painted in neutrals or white, with vibrant hues strategically introduced, can elevate the space’s character. Gradually, the sanctuary transforms into a space where cherished memories form.”
Photo: Tanuj Ahuja
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s October 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!