It was not many years back when Nappa Dori, a homegrown accessory label was born. Brainchild of Gautam Sinha, whose journey began as an entrepreneur when he dealt with leather for his own company, Definite Design. With Nappa Dori, he wanted to do something that would make him happy. And today, this happiness is taking him places. Currently, London. We sat down with him to discuss about design and his future plans.
Excerpts from the interview:
When did you first decide that you wish to step into business of leather?
I started this in 2006 when I was running a company called Definite Design, where I used to export belts to Scandinavian market. Before that I was working for a company that used to make Christmas ornaments. I only used to do belts and don’t have any official training of working with leather. In 2010, I was bored of it. That’s when Nappa Dori happened.
How did you come up with the name, Nappa Dori?
We thought about two crucial elements and that was leather and thread. So, Nappa Dori literally means leather and thread. Dori being the Hindi dialect and Nappa being the soft leather.
Do you think you have advantage over others?
We work on classics, timeless pieces, and we want to stay true to what we have done from the beginning. We have stayed true to our shapes, our silhouettes and we use a lot more material than anyone else. We also use metal, wood, different fabrics. That really puts us apart from the rest.
Rajasthan is well known for leather goods. How has the state inspired you?
Ignorance is bliss in a way (laughs). Initially, I actually didn’t know anything about the leather industry. I was just focusing on designing things. The type of products and the quality I was coming up with, I don’t think anybody could have matched it up at that point of time. I think whenever people are designing for the Indian market, they lack on quality and they think anything can be passed off, which I don’t like. For me, it has to be perfect.
What are some of the key elements you keep in mind while designing?
For us, simplicity is the key. You don’t have to put everything possible on a particular product. It can be simple and utilitarian. We make pieces that do not reflect season but reflect time. Everything is manufactured in Delhi.
You have done some unique collaborations. Is there anything in the pipeline?
Yes. So, we don’t do namesake collaborations; it has to be a fusion of both the brands that come together. We designed a bottle case for Chivas. It was a good blend keeping in mind how we are as a brand and how Chivas is. With Qatar, we are the first Indian company to provide them with branded amenity kits on international flights.
Tell us about your upcoming store in London.
All Nappa Dori stores have a fixed DNA in terms of how we decorate the stores, and we have carried that forward to London as well. We have never hired an architect. It’s always done in-house. This also keeps us a little ahead as we save a lot of time.
How did the thought of opening up Cafe Dori came about?
I am a coffee addict. I wanted a place where people could come in and enjoy the environment and get immersed in design in all sorts of ways.