Tarini Manchanda, 29, founder and creative director of The Initial Studio, has always had a creative phase. Manchanda was not satisfied with limiting this creativity to a certain area, but went the kaleidoscopic route and invented new projects (literally and metaphorically) with all her talents in order to offer a unique and personalized gift service.
What made you decide to create your own gift tag?
I’ve always been interested in design and details. While working at a creative digital agency, I decided to take a graphic design course which helped me improve my skills and interest. I learned from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, the importance of understanding what the consumer wants and being exposed to creativity in different cultures. I’ve always been fascinated by personalized products, by my grandfather’s embroidered handkerchiefs, his reading chair with his last name engraved and his beautiful monogrammed lederhosen from child to adult who today have a passion for interesting logos and big brands.
Is there a typical gift option, or is it more kaleidoscopic since you specialize in bespoke gifts?
Everything on our platform is monogrammed, which makes it the common theme that holds our kaleidoscopic range together. There is a wide range of products suitable for all occasions. We have customized gift options on our website for weddings, birthdays and anniversaries for just because gifts are easy to buy. Every order is gift wrapped. Our best sellers are pajamas, travel sets and home accessories such as faux fur bowls and photo frames.
Has the pandemic helped or hurt your business because more people spend time online but less?
In a way, it did both – we saw a huge increase in our online retail activity through the website, which I loved to create before the pandemic. People were more comfortable shopping online because they had no other choice. We were also able to use social media successfully to attract new target groups. Products like household clothes have become very popular as people spend more time indoors. On the other hand, the budgets for promotional gifts have been cut and the sale of events such as wedding favors has been stopped, which is of course a huge market for us. Going forward, we will focus on building a stronger B2C brand, which I think would help us become a more recognizable brand.
What kind of gifts do you think people will give in the near future as we (hopefully) don’t start recovering until 2020?
The focus will also be on meaningful, versatile and sustainable products. We now have an attentive and conscious consumer who is shopping more consciously than ever before. We’re working on a range of more thoughtful products that are carefully made and generate less waste. In terms of product categories, I see housewares and household clothes are on the rise. In addition to our usual monogrammed pajamas, we are working on products like storage baskets, night trays, remote control holders, coasters and napkins, all with initials for unique and useful gifts. As events and gatherings get smaller, people give more intimate and personal gifts.
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