Even the latest advertisement from Cadbury has Shahrukh Khan promoting small businesses. So, if you haven't started shopping from small or local brands yet — fret not; here's a list of Indian brands to shop and celebrate this festival season. While most of these brands have an online presence, I'm also including Hyderabad-based offline stores for locals to visit.
Siesta o'Clock: Run by Rene and Vaibhav, Siesta O'Clock is based out of Goa and works with Indian designers and local tailors. Siesta's clothes are made from cotton and have the quirkiest prints you can lay your eyes on; they're comfortable, breezy, and will make you ever summer-ready — I vouch. This brand packs its pieces in brown paper and adds a lovely little note if you'd like. Psst! What are gifts without notes?
Start placing your orders here.
To know more about the brand, you can read the article I've written here.
Pulp: I've been loving what Indian skincare brands are doing, and Pulp is one of my absolute favourites. Founded by Goutham Uppaluri and Deepti Alapati, this vegan brand uses superfoods like avocado, kale, spinach in its products. Their Date Night and Day After Binge face masks are quite effective, and for those who hate spending too much time on masking, Pulp's masks need just five minutes to work wonders. They also do cleansing balms and serums that you can shop for here.
The Mehran Collection: If you've got a thing for handmade jewellery, Hyderabad-based The Mehran Collection is worth checking out. Run by two sisters, Simran and Mehak Sisodia, this brand started as a fun DIY project. It now produces its pieces in limited batches using polymer clay, and they've launched a new collection this festive season.
When shopping here, don't forget to look for Daisy and Miha from their collection. Shop here.
Sugar Blushed: Choco-mint brownies, anyone? Sugar Blushed is a Hyderabad-based brand run by Fatema that whips delicious and fudgy brownies. While she does lots of mixed hamper varieties, brownie slabs, and brookies. You might want to consider gifting yourself one of these.
Sugar Blushed handles PAN India deliveries and you can place your orders here.
Monsoon+Chai: As the name suggests, Monsoon+Chai's scented candles evoke nostalgia and are perfect gifts to go along with books or wine. Founded by Manasvi Malik, this brand handcrafts organic soy candles; they've got lovely aromas like Whipped Caramel Latte, Spiced Pumpkin, and their limited edition scented candles come in hand-painted ceramic jars. Right now, they are offering festive gift boxes with handmade soaps and tote bags. You can shop for them here.
Akshara Books: If you're from Hyderabad, and looking to gift books to someone, please visit Akshara Books in Jubilee Hills. Run by Lakshmi Myneni, Akshara gets new stock every week. I love their curation, and whether you're into manga or poetry — they've got it all. Plus, their children's book collection is pretty phenomenal. If you're unable to visit the store, you can also call them with your requirement and get your books Dunzo-ed.
If you're looking for books online, I recommend Champaca and Book Chor. Book Chor mostly has old or used books, and you can grab some good ones are discounted prices. I buy from them often and the quality is great.
Murtle: Murtle is perhaps one of the most interesting brands I've stumbled upon. Founded by Shashank Pawar, it's the world's first modular footwear brand, and it works with artisans to handcraft its footwear. Now, here's what makes Murtle sensational — the footwear comes with changeable straps, that offer a brand new look to your footwear within minutes. While its Ikat straps are beautiful, it also offers several other variants.
Shop for it here.
If you want to know more about the brand, I've written about them here.
Somethings Brewing: Consider it insane if I don't recommend coffee, and more insane if Somethings Brewing isn't on the list. Coffee, equipment, accessories, and more — this is the only store coffee lovers need. They have a great curation that includes Savorworks, Araku, Nandan Coffee, Marc's Coffee, Black Baza, Beanrove, and so much more. They're also fostering a coffee community with their workshops, blog, and guides. If you're from Bangalore, you can visit their brick-and-mortar store located in Indiranagar.
Check them out here.
Yellow Verandah: Yellow Verandah is a lifestyle store that curates from Indian artisans, designers, and works with sustainable and cruelty-free brands only. Everything you spot at Yellow Verandah is handmade. I love their coffee cups and wall decor.
You can shop online here and if you're from Hyderabad, check out their store in Sarath City Capital Mall. It's a treat to sore eyes.
EcoRight: From tote bags perfect for everyday to box slings that you can flaunt during brunches — Eco Right is a sustainable brand that uses organic cotton, recycled plastic and cotton, and jute to make quirky and affordable bags. I've recently picked a panda tote bag from EcoRight, and it carries my laptop and other stuff without a snag. So, the bags are sturdy, fo sho!
Color D Earth: If you're into terracotta jewellery, please check out Color D Earth run by Hema Balakrishnan. This Hyderabad-based brand works exclusively with women, and ships across India. All their pieces are handmade and hand-painted; also, their terracotta jhumkas are worth buying.
You can check out their collection here.
Nazakat Creations: If you're looking to shop for Chikankari kurtas or fabric in Hyderabad, look up Nazakat Creations. Tucked away in a tiny lane in Laad Bazaar, this store has great fabric. Walk a little further in the lane and you'll find more stores selling fabric, lace, kurtas, dupattas, etc.
New Bright Shoe Mart: If you're in the Old City, you might as well take a detour to Nayapul for juttis or Kolhapuri chappal. Lined right across Pista House, there are plenty of stores that sell beautiful, pocket-friendly, and durable footwear. I recommend New Bright Shoe Mart and Sana Creations because I've shopped a lot from these two stores and vouch for their designs and quality.
ArtKrittique: A former colleague and an absolutely wonderful person, Krittika Mittal, sells her art online. She prints them on 100 per cent recycled paper, and all artworks come with an acrylic finish. You can also get them framed if you'd like. Apart from these, she also does stationery (bookmarks and diaries, anyone?) and goodie boxes that offer interesting curation.
She also takes customisations.
Hyderguda Nursery: Hyderabad folks, this one is for you! Located in Basheerbagh — Hyderguda Nursery offers hundreds of species of plants ranging from passiflora to bonsai. Their succulent collection is fairly extensive, and the nursery folks are super-friendly and suggest plants based on the weather conditions. If you're new to gardening or getting plants for the first time, please have a conversation with them. They offer maintenance advice and also customise as per your requirement. Also, you can pick planters and pots right at their entrance.
For photos, check out my post here.
When I recommended these brands on Twitter, some of you awesome folks have also suggested your favourite brands. I'm listing them here so others can check out.
Bloom Box Soapery: Bloom Box Soapery is a skincare brand based out of Bangalore. It's a vegan and palm-free brand that makes handmade soaps in flavours such as coffee, activated charcoal, lemongrass & shea butter, sandalwood & patchouli. Everything comes wrapped in paper packaging, and the brand comes across as a conscious and eco-friendly brand. You can DM them on Instagram to place an order.
Latha Natraj: For those based out of Chennai, you've got to check out Latha Natraj — a home-kitchen venture that's stirring fun in the form of traditional drinks and dishes. But for the modern age. As the name suggests, it's run by Latha Natraj, and apart from traditional drinks, they also do Elaneer Payasam and Almond Carrot Blend.
Please DM here to place your order.
Nurture India: Founded by Pratima Sinha and Somya Suresh, Nurture India is an eco-friendly home decor brand that crafts wooden homeware. They source their raw materials ethically and from beer mugs and platters to snack bowls and wine glasses — they've got plenty for you to check out. I couldn't stop gawking at so many pieces.
You can shop here.
Con Amor: Founded by Yagnika Sheshasayi, this small business is all about functional and charming accessories. She does scrunchies, keychains, coasters, and also handles customisations. You can DM her on Instagram to place an order.
Now, those were my favourite homegrown stores to shop and gift from. If you've come across any local/small businesses doing something amazing, feel free to share their details with me.