Sanjana Lunia recalls spending many happy hours of her childhood on the cross-stitch mat with her maternal grandmother. The process of following patterns to create intricate designs with thread and needle always put her in a meditative state. It also inadvertently prepared her for what would eventually become her path in life – helming the home furnishings label Eris Home, whose mandate is ‘kind luxury’.
“My brand was born from the vision of causing less harm to the environment, which refers both to our planet and the people in our ecosystem. All our fabrics are made using natural fibres. A majority are made with Eri silk, which is created from discarded cocoons of silkworms, so no worms are killed in the process. For this reason, it’s also called Ahimsa silk. We also work with vegan leather and pure cotton, use natural dyes to reduce the use of chemicals, and 80% of our packaging is biodegradable. Further, most of our workforce consists of women that are often the primary breadwinners of their families. We pay a fair wage and ensure clean working environments for all. These principles are the basis of kind luxury, which is what we believe sets our brand apart,” says Sanjana.
Upon observing this confident young lady in her beautiful, art-filled family home in New Delhi’s Chhatarpur, one may find it hard to believe that Sanjana’s creative path wasn’t pre-ordained. After graduating from Modern School, Vasant Vihar, she pursued a degree in business management from the prestigious University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles. On her return to India, she joined her father Ashish Somani’s real estate firm, Landscape Construction, where she was given the finance- heavy role of group treasury advisor.
After her marriage to Ankit Lunia, the director and CEO of Infotel Group in 2019, Sanjana entered the home textile market as the marketing director for Eris Global, a sustainable and ethical fabric manufacturer and exporter to the US and the Middle East. It was from here that she made the jump to her retail venture in design in 2021 – a role that offers her the most creative satisfaction.
“I grew up in a house of creative minds,” says Sanjana, who is the daughter of Shefali Somani, co-founder of Shrine Empire gallery. “I imbibed my mother’s creativity, even though I wasn’t formally educated in design.”
Her creative leanings also play out in other aspects of her life, such as her love of fashion and art. “If not in this line, I would have loved to pursue something in fashion,” she smiles. She refers to Anamika Khanna, Divyam Mehta, Faraz Manan, Dhruv Kapoor and Lovebirds Studio as her go-to designers.
As for art, she is meticulously building her own collection of contemporary pieces by artists like Tayeba Begum Lipi, Ayesha Singh, Baaraan Ijlal, Neerja Kothari, Atul Dodiya and Rana Begum, among others.
Films, particularly Bollywood’s romantic offerings, have also influenced Sanjana’s creative outlook. “I’d wanted to be an actor when I was three!” she laughs. That fascination with the reel world later translated into her pursuing a minor in film production while she was at USC. “I loved it, and fortunately my husband is interested in it too, so we may pursue this line at a later point in life.”
Another passion Sanjana holds dear is her love of travel, especially the kind that involves adventure sports. Bungee-jumping, skydiving, deep sea diving, are all items she’s ticked off her bucket list years ago. Her latest obsession, which she shares with her husband, is a love of skiing. “We enjoy exploring new places to ski once or twice a year to improve our skills. We were in St Moritz last year, and this year we braved the minus 22 degree Celsius cold of Almaty in Kazakhstan! I also enjoy visiting London because it’s a cultural hub and I’m very familiar with it,” she explains.
The crystal blue waters of the Maldivian islands are another favoured destination because, “the resorts there pamper you so much that you feel like royalty!” Sanjana shares the story of her birthday last year spent at the Cheval Blanc Randheli in Maldives to prove this claim. “I was talking to my husband on the buggy ride about a renowned French restaurant on the property called 1947, which was closed for renovation while we were there. Our buggy driver overheard us and said if we wanted to dine there, it could be arranged. They curated a special 13-14 course vegetarian menu for just the two of us! Each dish was more spectacular than the last. There was even a photographer to capture some candid shots of ours, and we interacted with the chef who shared insight into how he had carefully curated the meal. It was truly very special.”
It is no wonder then that with her exposure to the world of artful luxury, Sanjana has quickly made a name for herself in this sector.
Photos: Anil Chawla; Creative Direction: Amber Tikari
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s December 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!
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