As a country, India has an exceptionally diverse culture that celebrates the heritage and traditions of innumerable ways of life, from varied rites and rituals to sacred relics and artefacts. Our country’s artisans have long since mastered the art of creating beauty that holds tradition close to itself. It is this belief in our country’s artisans that prompted Vartika Jain and Shalabh Hirawat start Agora. With Agora, they provide a platform to creative artisans, designers, and enthusiasts to showcase their authentic and thoughtfully designed products. Read on to know more about this unique venture.
It takes two individuals immensely passionate about their craft to start a venture such as Agora. Vartika has always been a vivacious designer and a crafts enthusiast, and thus is a Product Design graduate from the Indian Institute of Crafts and Design. Shalabh was born and brought up in Jaipur, having seen and experienced the business activities around Hawa Mahal. He is a gemologist, and an MBA graduate from London’s South Bank University. While travelling, the two of them always found themselves attracted to shopping markets in tourist destinations, looking for quality utility products that could double as gifts for their loved ones back home in Jaipur.
Hawa Mahal, and the area surrounding it, is a popular and much admired tourist spot, with many shops selling artefacts and gifts. However, the area lacked the comfort of fixed prices, quality, and an assurance of originality. Vartika and Shalabh decided they wanted to provide high-quality products that India has to offer that people can take back home as souvenirs for themselves, gifts for their loved ones, memories of India along with reminders of their experiences. They decided to bring together their expertise and their love for the traditional handcrafted techniques of India with Agora. Agora not only provides high quality souvenirs and gifts for loved ones, but it does so along with a piece of their experience of Jaipur.
As individuals with a tenacious drive and an impeccable eye for design, Vartika and Shalabh are optimists at heart, always looking ahead as though anything is possible. They are striving to make a world without limits, a world which is full of opportunities where everything is genuine, personal, and has a positive vibe. Their love for detailing gives way to character, and their love for simplicity paves a path to elegance.
With Agora, they strive to show a better side of India to the world. They thrive to be sustainable with their products and activities. Agora also gives people an opportunity to learn more about the design and craft treasures of India, as well as getting to know the artisans who are still working to keep the ancient crafts alive. The cherry on top of the Agora cake is that they allow people to support the upliftment of artisans and the revival of disappearing art forms. They actively strive to preserve and cherish the richness of Indian crafts.
Every success story has challenges that have been fought and overcome. Agora faces stiff competition every day. The key players in the market have an understanding and a strong relationship with the travel agencies and hoteliers, drawing tourists towards them. A new entrant with a different vision, like Agora, who doesn’t want to be involved in this way of business, has to naturally work twice as hard to make a mark in the market.
Established in an area where the negotiation of prices and bargaining is rampant, Agora has been steadfast about keeping their prices fixed. However, the customers are liking the idea and the store, but they still have a long way to go.
Agora Aiming Higher
Agora dreams big with plans to establish a multi-brand store. One of the most endearing characteristics of people in Jaipur is how they love to host their guests, and Agora wishes to cater to the needs of every guest who is visiting Hawa Mahal, providing shopping, lodging, and boarding solutions. Check out Agora on Instagram.