Siddharth Bond and Himani Sahu give us an insight into their brand new yet immensely promising venture: Ruskin Bond Collection.
1. How did the idea for Ruskin Bond Collection come up?
Siddharth: My grandfather Ruskin Bond has been writing prolifically for decades; more than 7 decades to be exact. During all this time, there never had been an opportunity to interact with his readers apart from organised events like book signs or interviews. However today, with the social media boom, there are a whole new set of doors opened for us and for him to interact easily and freely with his fans.
Since Ruskin Bond writes much on nostalgia, it only seemed fitting that we let people engage in that nostalgic feeling not only through his books but also through products inspired by his books.
Himani: I agree. We aspire that everyone who has felt inspired and comforted by their beloved author’s heartfelt narratives, to be able to relive those feelings time and again. We always say that our products are collectables to preserve for a lifetime.
2. What did you envision when your ideas started to align into something concrete?
Siddharth: Our goal has always been to design original products; products that people have never experienced before. That is why we do not call our designs merchandise because we believe in creating something special- like keepsakes that continue to give joy to people every day.
Himani: We want our products to have the same heart and soul the books of Ruskin Bond have. We want them to be fresh and interesting and something people would love to own because of the quality and design and not only because they have come from their favourite author.
3. Who does the brand cater to?
Siddharth: Anyone and everyone. Like Himani said, what we offer does not limit itself to only fans, even though Ruskin Bond’s fans are wonderful and loving and it is quite evident how much he is revered and looked up to. His fanbase has been very loyal through the decades he’s been writing and while the idea of the brand was driven by their love for Ruskin Bond’s works, design will always be at that forefront of Ruskin Bond Collection. So, we want even the non-fans to take notice of our products!
Himani: Since the author has written books for practically all age groups, while at the design stage, we always take into consideration that what we create should transcend the boundaries of age, gender and such. Moreover, a lot of the readers who have read Ruskin Bond in their childhood are now adults and they love to reminisce about their childhood days!
4. Who all does your team consist of ?
Himani: We are a home grown brand currently working with a small team. All of us have come together to make this vision a reality. We are still in the process of growing our team and we often work with freelancers as well.
5. Where do you operate your business from?
Siddharth: We majorly operate from Mussoorie, but some of our production takes place in Mumbai. The packaging and dispatch are managed in Mussoorie and since Mussoorie is a hill station, the terrain and the weather often delay deliveries. We are in a process of making operations smoother and more convenient both for us and our customers, who have been very patient and kind.
6. A venture like yours is being seen in India for the first time. How do you feel about being trendsetters in this regard ?
Siddharth: Being one-of-kind just came with the package. Our foremost purpose has always been connecting with people all around the globe and form a community of avid fans and lovers of good design.
Himani: Being the first people to do anything comes with its own set of challenges. However, the response to Ruskin Bond Collection has been phenomenal and we are very humbled and thankful for it. We have recently started a REVIEWS section on our website so that people can freely share their thoughts on their purchases giving us insight into how we can make the experience better for them.
7. Green business is all the rage right now. Has it really been practical to be sustainable in your business?
Siddharth: Sustainability is not a choice but a necessity now. Also, Ruskin Bond is a huge lover of nature, which is evident in his books, his lifestyle that he has often shared on Instagram and also the fact that he has lived amidst the beautiful mountains for years. For us, there was never a question of whether or not we would take the route which had less environmental impact.
Additionally, we have also engaged local artisans in a mutually beneficial relationship where we receive locally made quality products and they sustain their craft and livelihood.
Himani: True. Being vegan, using organic raw material and having all our products designed and made in India was a given. It has not been a breeze so to speak, but we were aware and ready for the challenges that we have faced till now. It has only strengthened our vision and made us gear up for the future as well.
8. What are the products that you wish to explore with in the future?
Siddharth: Our plan is to explore lifestyle products further and venture into clothing and stationary. We are already working on many exciting things so stay tuned !
Himani: We recently collaborated with uneven knitting to create a stuffed toy of Timothy the Tiger, a much-loved character from the short story ‘A Tiger in the House’. We also launched a limited edition Homemade Vegan chocolates and Plum Jam Set as a part of a Raksha Bandhan Combo. We are always looked forward to creating fascinating experiences for everybody. There is a lot to be explored and we are taking our time to design the best products possible.
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