You were greeted by red and white bangles when stepping into the Baruni Sharat Mela and the smell of homemade traditional cuisines pulled you in. This was a festival of local entrepreneurs, but there was nothing 'business-like' about it. You could see stall owners visiting neighbouring booths, laughing with each other and buying beautiful trinkets.
There is a saying in Bangla: Baro mash ey tero parban, meaning Bangalee people love to celebrate 13 festivals in 12 months. This is why Baruni, an event management company, loves celebrating Bangalee festivities every chance they get. The Baruni Mela celebrated the festivities by showcasing traditional products by local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs themselves infused their creativity and cultural interpretation into their products.
Baruni, founded by Sanjib Ghosh and Susmita Bashak, has a keen interest in sharing unheard stories of local products, which many people are yet to learn about. They have also organised other events such as the Baruni Eid Ananda Mela.
Baruni Sharat Mela was held from 16 to 17 September at MIDAS, on the occasion of the upcoming Durga Puja. They celebrated by inviting local entrepreneurs to share their passion for our rich traditional culture.
Sakia Rashid, a former architect, is the proud owner of Artwave.
Artwave sells minimalist and affordable home interior products that include holders for potted plants, tables, etc. During the pandemic, she decided to start a business where she can apply her expertise in interior designing. The brand had also helped design some of the display stands for jewelleries and clothes for other stores at the fair.
Artwave's products are made by Bangladeshi artisans. The materials are also sourced locally.
The brand's expertise lies in products which are functional, yet aesthetically pleasing to look at.
Bandi Baksho (Tk3,250) is a carbon steel shelf, it is an enclosed accessory for your wall. It is sectioned off into two compartments, one long area where you can keep your books and decor and a boxed side which is great for keeping potted plants, or your pens.
They also sell decor items such as their Aranya Shelf (Tk1,750). This simplistic wall hanging shelf uses a minimalistic triangular shape with contrasting material; carbon steel and kerosene wood.
Where to find: https://www.facebook.com/artwavedhaka
Shimul Majlish, a news presenter and co-founder of Rupban, creates home decor pieces by painting on household items such as hurricane lamps, teacups, and kettles.
Shimul and her husband, the founders, take inspiration from rickshaw art for their products, which they paint themselves. They go to great lengths to collect glass bottles and tea cups for their art.
The painted tea cups (Tk300 per cup) resemble the cups that we commonly see at roadside tea stalls. You can pair the teacups with matching rickshaw art style painted trays (Tk1,000) as a decor piece in your home, as they can add a lot of colour to the space.
They also sell jewellery, inspired by jamdani motifs, made from brass and gold plated materials. The jewellery sets are customisable; you can add a tiara, choker necklace, and even long necklaces. They also offer bridal sets with similar designs.
Where to find: https://www.facebook.com/Rupban00
MYTH arts & crafts
Myth arts & crafts was founded by Prithila. She studied archeology, which became the source of inspiration for her product designs. The store mostly sells handmade jewellery made from uncommon materials.
Their unique jewellery is made from 'gamcha' fabrics and materials sourced from tribal groups. Prithila aims to make her products accessible worldwide, especially to Bangladeshis living abroad. Most of her products are made from materials sourced from the local market. However, the beads used in her jewellery are imported.
A few of the store's highlight pieces include their Churir Alna (Tk560) and their Novera Necklace (Tk859). Churir Alna is made using gamcha fabric and is decorated with sea shells to give it a rustic feel. The Novera Necklace is a statement piece made in a choker style with a gamcha patchwork.
Where to find: https://www.facebook.com/MYTH-arts-crafts-843920599029378/