Traditional crafts combine with contemporary designs. “An artist shapes the tomorrow with his art and dissipates the negative energy because after a thick dark night, there is always a golden morning,” says Prakash Joshi, one of 4000 craftsmen working with Ellementry. Ayush Baid, the founder, credits the countless artisans that he is fortunate enough to work with as his daily inspiration. Giving a platform to artisans has always been the focus of this luxury home décor brand, launched in 2018. The USP of the brand is a fusion of traditional craft and contemporary sensibilities to create conversations around spectacular artisanal craftsmanship. Baid positions Ellementry “as the first Indian brand to establish a manufacturer to customer relationship.”
In May 2021, the lifestyle home décor label even opened their eighth store in India in the city of Kochi, for which they received an overwhelmingly positive response. In a candid conversation with Baid, LuxeBook decodes the elements that make Ellementry tick, their approach to sustainability and everything in between.
What is unique about Ellementry?
Due to a direct relationship with our artisans, we have quality control in our hands, and our turnaround time of manufacturing products is also fast. We can have competitive pricing for our products and there is no dead inventory, as we don’t have to procure products in bulk from outside.
What makes us unique is that we focus a lot on creating products that are often tagged as boring, and mundane into beautiful, useful items. A major concern associated with Indian handcrafted products is food safety. However, every material that goes into creating our products is entirely food safe. We follow strict international food safety regulatory standards. Our products are rigorously lab checked and tested extensively before being released in the consumer market. We use them daily at our homes, our workplaces and our Collab store in Bangalore.
What are the sustainable practices at Ellementry?
We work with sustainable materials like terracotta, papier-mache, glass and more. We’ve created an eco-mix material by combining waste generated from factories like marble dust, wooden dust and old textile with recycled newspapers and other sustainable materials. After experimenting with existing materials, our R&D department is now working on making products with cane/bamboo. Not just our products, even our packaging is eco-friendly. We use sturdy cotton bags at our stores that can be reused as a tote bag, or a shopping bag.
Moreover, 70% of the power used in the Ellementry office and workshops comes from solar panels. The office premises consists of a greenhouse, and we practice rainwater harvesting as well.
What are the CSR initiatives at Ellementry?
During the pandemic, we distributed free ration to all our artisans and got them free vaccinations. We are in the process of getting more amenities for them, such as accommodation, schooling for their children and more. In the next five years these things will also be in place. Ellementry is planning to revive the dying art of every Indian state and provide means of survival to Indian artists.
How did the brand manage to work with rural artisans during the lockdown?
We followed all the protocols of lockdown and maintained social distancing, worked in shifts, and provided them transportation. At the first opportunity, we got all of them vaccinated. In terms of production, for some products we do not follow ‘just-in-time management’, hence we had reserved stock at different stages of production. JIT is an inventory management method in which goods are received from suppliers only as they are needed. We were able to manage good sales with a smaller team. This helped us make sure that we were able to provide regular livelihood and safety to our rural artisans during the lockdown.
What is the design process for each collection?
From colours to textures and processes, Ellementry celebrates the cultural roots of India. We derive our inspiration from nature and the innate wisdom and skills passed on to us through generations. The design process for each collection must go through the six brand pillars of ellementry, i.e., form and functionality, fusion, sustainability, food safety, cultural revival and handmade. Every product has to possess at least four brand pillars to procure an Ellementry label.
Which segments have gained the most popularity in the pandemic?
During the pandemic because everyone was at home, all segments of Ellementry gained popularity. The lockdown made people more conscious of safety, and the demand for stylish and safe products grew. Cooking at home became a newfound hobby for many Indians. Everyone turned into a home baker. Social media was flooded with pictures of home-cooked food served in attractive-looking utensils.
All of this was a blessing in disguise for us. With the help of our Instagram page and online marketing, we tapped these consumers. This shift towards home-cooked food created a considerable spike in demand for our kitchenware and serve ware products.
What are the luxury home décor trends in India?
There is a lot of awareness and traction towards eco-friendliness and sustainability. In fact, we created this brand to fulfil these spaces in the market, as we noticed that there is a growing demand in the Indian market for sustainable products.
What are the new products in the works?
Our consumers are much younger than what we initially thought, and they are interested in solutions rather than products. To address this, we are coming up with a one-of-a-kind modular dinner set, enabling customers to mix and match as desired. Mugs have always been perennial favourites among our audiences; so, we have come up with a new handmade mug set with a unique design language and striking colours.
What is the plan for the future?
Ellementry products represent Indian culture and its milieu with an international taste. So, in 2021, through our e-commerce site, we are venturing into the foreign market, precisely the US and European countries. We plan to make Ellementry a one-stop solution for all home improvement needs.
What is your greatest learning as an entrepreneur?
In my professional career, I have learned that you should always hire people who are smarter than you. It keeps the flow of knowledge alive and leads to advancement in business, eventually leading to growth.