Founders | Women Series | Maithili Ahluwalia
Women series is a monthly edit to explore creative entrepreneurship amongst women globally. Through this series, we wish to understand creative journeys, challenges, inspirations and develop a community. This month we interviewed Maithili Ahluwalia of Bungalow 8, Founder of a concept store in Mumbai, India.
Tell me about how your creative journey started. Did you have creative influences growing up? What education/ training did you receive?
I was informally trained by observation and osmosis growing up in a family of designers; my grandmother started Dagina, one of the first lifestyle stores in Bombay in the 1960s and my mother Jamini Ahluwalia began working with non precious materials for her jewellery when it was unheard of.
What has been the source of inspiration for you( people, travel, places, cultures etc)?
I have an insatiable curiosity, almost to a detriment, and I keep my eyes and ears wide open in conversations with people, looking out of the window, film, music, books, politics - Lord, everything.
Can you also talk about your experience of working in the field of Design in India. Please share the challenges you faced as Bunglow8 was one of the first in it's kind. Do you think your cultural identity brought influences at work?
It is always a challenge when you buck conventional notions and don't fit in neat categories. Bungalow Eight has always been that. It's artisanal but modern, it's craft but contemporary, it's local but equally global, it's indian but without the obvious associations of color, embellishment and motif. So to do anything new is always exciting but exhausting because changing perceptions is never easy.
What is the step forward for your personal projects? Would you like to share any? Could you comment about 'being a creative soul' and How does travel facilitate your ideas?
I've often said this that when I was younger travelling externally enriched my creativity. The older I have become the internal journey through meditation and yoga has become more important in anchoring me and channeling my creativity in a more focused way.
Could you comment on the current landscape of independent artists/designers and how brands are more open to experimentation?
For me, authenticity and individuality of voice are paramount. For an industry to grow you need a community that nurtures each other through a similar goal but different manifestations. I'm concerned that everything is becoming too similar and a copy of the next thing.