The Sindhian

Amit Ahuja – Interview

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Home is where the heart is. This popular adage however needs help from décor spaces to make your house a home. This is where Studio Malabar comes in. 

Studio Malabar is a lifestyle and fashion store in Mumbai that specializes in home décor, custom-made silk, linen and cotton clothing, jewellery, artefacts, and hand-embellished bags and cushion covers. The products available here are completely customised and prepared in-house at the store-owned workshops. Studio Malabar is a mélange of classic, traditional luxury and modern life.

Post his schooling in St. Mary’s boys school, he completed his commerce degree at H R college and a Master’s degree in finance from the University of Lancaster, England which in a way exposed him to the world of antiquities and the love for all things beautiful. “My passion for beautiful pieces and fashion is very intrinsic to my nature which attracts me to having beautiful and meaningful pieces around me. World trends and fashion interest me and allowing me to express myself through an impressive layer of beautiful selected textiles and well cut styles.”

Studio Malabar started in 2012, a continuation of the boutique, Malabar at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel for over fifty years. “My entire focus has been to take it ahead not only as a brand but make the shopping an experience to cherish while keeping our quality and core value of uniqueness intact. We are looking to open and expand Studio Malabar to different cities in the near future.”

The products that find place on the shelves are primarily old vintage artifacts and furniture that is sourced and carefully restored and polished back to its old form. “Our apparel is individually styled and crafted with intricate details. Our fabric is sourced, printed and woven for us by our team of trusted weavers and embroiders incorporating our designs and creations.”

Again the company prides itself on listening to what client’s need. “When we source a product I know which of my clients are going to be interested in them. We share a very special bond with a lot of our clients.  It is very important in our business to know your clients taste well. Clients who have been coming to Studio Malabar have been doing so for generations. We’re an extended part of their family.”

Being in a field that is largely competitive, completion of client requests and challenges of reinventing and creating are seen as learning experiences of the business. “Keeping our work force of skilled labor motivated and creative is always our top priority to maintain a warm environment conducive to customer satisfaction.”

What makes the studio different is that the core values are in place and the company believes that they will never totally give into market trends. “Keep in mind your own USP to offer that  one unique quality that will always garner good loyalty and admiration from your existing client base and that definitely will attract more. A lot of my friends ask me to introduce contemporary designs in our products for it to ‘appeal’ to the younger crowd. But we know our brand ethos and we know that introducing modern elements might help us sell better but our existing clientele might not be able to relate to the brand anymore. The motto is to not dilute your product value. One has to look at a broader picture and not mere revenue generation.”

In his leisure Amit spends a lot of time on the football field and says that walks on Marine Drive motivate him to maintain a clear mind. Being an avid traveler, he likes to absorb local culture by visiting museums and local markets.

This story first appeared in The Sindhian Oct-Dec 2018 issue here: Studio Malabar, Studio Malabar

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