Published: 21st August 2019
Why Maavni's stunning Odia-style hand-painted home decor is what every home needs
"Luckily for us, word of mouth of our good work has attracted artists to join us and now, we are a strong team focused on portraying Odisha art and craft in the most creative way," says Smaranika
Imagine a vintage Indian teapot coated in a shade of blazing red and painted on it are intricate deer grazing near a tree with green leaves with so much detail that it stuns the beholder. This is just one of the products from the collection of Maavni Designs that caught our attention. All their products, including coasters, wooden dolls, wall plates, nameplates and more, showcase Pattachitra — an art form best known for its intricate details as well as mythological narratives and folktales inscribed in it — at its best. And behind all their products is a hard-working team skilled in the art form. Here's how it all began.
They recently launched Odissi wooden dolls which are doing very well. They will also launch their own website soon
After leading a successful corporate life and working in TCS, Fidelity Investments, JPMorgan Chase and residing in cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru, Smaranika Mohapatra still couldn't shake away that feeling of venturing into the creative field. She shifted back to Odisha, took up a job as State Manager, Odisha at CSC E-Governance Services and finally, decided to test the waters with her own products. "Any woman, before quitting and starting a business, should opt to try her business idea through Instagram," says the 36-year-old. And that's exactly what she did and when she realised that her products have found a market of their own within two to three months, she took the plunge. This mother of a nine-year-old started Maavni Designs in May 2019 and quit her job in June.
Floral tastes: A box by Maavni Designs | (Pic: Maavni Designs)
Today, they have more than 12,000 followers on Instagram, their own studio in Old Town, Bhubaneswar and they ship their products to the US, the UK and other South East Asian countries as well. Their lead artists — Purna Chandra Mahapatra, Saroj Kumar Mahapatra and Purna Chandra Maharana — don’t just design but also mentor other team members to ensure optimum output. "I came across our senior artist Purna Chandra Mahapatra on Facebook and it took us three to four months, but he happily came on board," says Smaranika, who was born and brought up in Bhuj, Gujarat, but has strong Odia roots.
30 per cent of their business comes from overseas and 50 per cent of their customers tend to order again
Multiple times in our conversation, she states how their in-house artists are the ones who deserve all the credit for pouring their creativity into their work. "If you offer an artist the right platform, you will find that each and every one of them is bestowed with the power of expression and are so talented," she says, as if still in awe of what her team is capable of. "I am a mere facilitator," she says humbly. She does admit that what helps her get the work done is all the project managing and IT experience she's amassed over 13 years of her career. She attempts to run Maavni Designs like an IT company where the efforts of the artist, and not the time spent, is tracked. Month-end bonuses to the best performer, team outings and parties, celebrating every artist’s birthday with pomp are all part of their work culture.
In one frame: The team that works together | (Pic: Maavni Designs)
Though success came swiftly, the team does not get carried away and sometimes forgoes big orders if that means they can serve more customers. "Our motto is, 'You design, we create'," says Smaranika who pursued Computer Science Engineering from Bhadrak Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhadrak. The concept is that customers get to choose what motifs they would like to see on their product and even get to see the rough sketch of the product before the work begins. "We want Pattachitra in every home," she says assertively.
Let's take you through their products:
Two to tango: Quirky and colourful custom dolls made from wedding pictures. So far, more than 100 pairs of dolls have been sold | (Pic: Maavni Designs)
Stand up: Flagship product of Maavni. Within six months, they launched 50 designs. Most sold plate designs were made by Shiva Parivar and Jagganath Dasavatar | (Pic: Maavni Designs)
Your name here: Maavni launched the idea of Pattachitra nameplates. Ganesha remains the most opted for design, followed by Krishna and Shiva Parvati | (Pic: Maavni Designs)
Tea time: Depicting stories of Krishna and other mythological characters | (Pic: Maavni Designs)
For more on them, check out instagram.com/maavni_designs