An Interview With Simitri's Designer: Gayatri Chopra
Would you be so kind to share a brief story of how you got to the US? In 2014 I began dating my now husband. It was a long-distance relationship. He worked in Philadelphia while I successfully ran my handbag business in India. In 2015 we decided to get married and one of us had to make the big move. I wasn’t scared as I thought that if I could do it once, I could do it twice. I did not realize at that time how hard it is to establish yourself in a completely new world. The journey here has been so gratifying since my real hustle in life only began when I moved in 2015, unlike what I built in India with the help and support of my family and friends.
What is inspiring and motivating you now? My creativity like most people is dependent on the environment and circumstance I'm in and I find myself most creative when I travel to India, which is also the birthplace of my brand. Lately I find myself wanting to create outlandish and larger than life designs. The pandemic has made me feel that every time I step out that door, I want to feel fabulous and I want to wear and feel the best I can and I want people who believe in me and my brand to feel the same way. To celebrate this gift of life and relationships, friends and neighbours, nature and animals. We have all spent a large part of this year indoors and alone, but it's given us a good amount of time to really understand ourselves. This evolving time has been extremely motivational to creating not just a product but an experience. I am inspired to create moments in peoples lives rather than getting stuck back in consumerism.
Do you have a spiritual practice? Would you be open to share? I follow Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.
What is your most valuable inheritance? I’m not sure how valuable it is, but I do not judge people. I really see everyone the way they are and my first instinct is to always like someone. I'm good at fixing broken/damaged objects/gadgets and at problem solving. I like to do all my work myself that could also be because I’m bad at delegating work to others or taking help.
Would you be willing to share some of your design and development process with us? Sure! Our design process starts out with me doodling some ideas and then sketching out the shortlisted ideas and sending them to our manufacturing team in India. The magic is then created by our artisans and craftsmen. We have a team that works on our wooden base boxes. We have a team of hand embroiderers who work hours to convert my sketches to reality and add the sparkle and finesse to each design. A large part of our design process consists of raw material sourcing. Under normal circumstances, I travel to India twice a year to find new fabrics, textures, metals, crafts, and weaves by roaming the various markets of India. Lately, we have been using what we have sourced in the last few years and making the best of what we already have since I have not been able to travel back. The eventual product is created using the combined expertise of all the artisans, our master pattern cutter, and our talented team in India. Making each product unique, irreplaceable.