Meet the maker: Kritika Gattani and Ishita Gupta – Desi Jugaad

Meet Ishita and Kritika, founders of Desi Jugaad whose name is a reflection of the innovative ethos of upcycling, the heart of India, and the creative spark inherent in the team behind their beautiful products.

Many years ago, innovative Punjabis mounted a diesel-irrigation pump on a steel frame with wheels, creating a vehicle they called ‘Jugaad’. It was ultra-cheap and did not conform to vehicular specifications, but delivered results brilliantly. Over time, ‘Jugaad’, a quintessentially-Indian phenomenon has come to mean innovation and repurposing and creativity and the like. Today, we’ll meet a brand that has made this evocative word a part of its name and way of life. On that note, let’s get to know the talented and extremely hardworking team from Desi Jugaad, a brand and idea that was founded in April 2015.

Desi Jugaad kicked things off with used tyres. Kritika and Ishita were redoing the former’s home and found an old tyre lying in one corner of the house. They did not want to dispose it off. They wanted to use it in some way and turned it into a table, which still stands in Kritika’s home. Thus was born the idea of Desi Jugaad. The name is a reflection of the innovative ethos of upcycling, the heart of India, and the creative spark inherent in the team behind the products.

Ishita Gupta and Kritika Gattani – Founders of Desi Jugaad

Working out of a studio in Delhi, the Desi Jugaad team is made up of Kritika Gattani and Ishita Gupta.

Kritika is a professional Fashion Merchandiser and inveterate dreamer who loves to play with fabrics, create products from scrap, doodle, potter around, paint the town red with her amateur canvases and artistic pottery, and one day wants to own and run a café somewhere that showcases everything handcrafted by her.

Ishita Gupta, who, after a few years of toil, decided being a Research Analyst in the Information Technology hubbub was not much fun and chose to use her skills to explore the world of innovation in ‘jugaadu’ desi products. She is a petite bundle of energy and ideas, a Wikipedia guru, a lover of colour, a great listener, and a driving forces that leaves no stones unturned on the path to charting a trailblazing course for Desi Jugaad.

Desi Jugaad believes it is ‘the yesterday’ that is aesthetically encapsulated in our memories and dreams. What we see and have seen is what we can relate to. Drawing and learning from this infinite wellspring of thought, Desi Jugaad envisions itself as a futuristic curator of beautiful, earth-friendly yesterdays.

Behind the scenes at Desi Jugaad

Taking inspiration from everyday objects, day-to-day happenings around us, and nostalgic memories, Desi Jugaad creates eye-catching stories and multi-functional utility products that energise the makers and people who buy them.

Upcycling is not easy. Most of the products Desi Jugaad puts out are upcycled. The greatest challenge Desi Jugaad faces is making the customer understand the value of the price of upcycled products – because the first thing people tend to do is compare it to the cost of a brand new, albeit less innovative product.

The realization that it is desirable to repurpose an old piece of something into something new that contributes to society in more ways than just eco-friendliness still needs to be widely appreciated.

While Desi Jugaad began its journey into customers’ hearts via the direct selling model, they found that when it comes to home décor people still prefer to have a look, and touch and feel the product before buying.

Keeping this in mind, Desi Jugaad is looking at starting standalone stores offline a couple of years from now, when they plan to introduce larger pieces of upcycled furniture and accessories.

We wish them luck and look forward to being a part of their innovative journey. Way to go, Team Desi Jugaad.

Visit the Desi Jugaad Shop on Engrave.

To read stories about all our makers, click here.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.


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