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On art, fashion and heritage: Building a brand with purpose |Richa Maheshwari|

Watch & Listen to this podcast Episode.

This week on the Arts to Heart Podcast, our host Charuka Arora has an insightful conversation with Richa Maheshwari, who is a designer on a mission to bring back the arts and crafts that are fading due to the advent of fast fashion.

Richa has been in the software services industry by profession, where she worked as a product manager for a German company for almost 16 years. As COVID hit, much like everyone else, Richa took a break to spend more time at home. This was her chance to restart and explore, and she took it. After going to an office for so many years, Richa longed to be on the ground where she could do something much more substantial and tangible, and that is when she was able to connect to an international labor organization which marked the beginning of her life with traditional crafts.

As a child, Richa was always interested in stories that were rich in culture, and now she has the opportunity to tell those stories to the rest of the world in an innovative way. With its textile legacy, Odisha has many stories to tell, and so Richa decided to direct her energy towards uplifting the local artisan community in a way that helped the artists as well as introducing their craft to the world. For Richa, it is very much about the “ability to build narratives in a fun way so that the audience is able to receive it simply”.

As she built her brand, Boito, Richa has had many things to learn and unlearn. From forming trustworthy relationships with the local community to finding a balance where their culture and traditions can be shared with the rest of the world, Richa has come a long way. She has opened doors for other artists who dream of utilizing their craft in a way that doesn’t succumb to the fast fashion industry.

So, tune in to this week’s podcast to listen to Richa and Charuka talk about the world of fashion and why it’s important for us as a society to not lose touch with our roots.

TimestampSummary
00:00.00Introduction and background of Richa Maheshwari
02:05.10Exploring the culture and heritage of Odisha
03:28.52Stories and traditions preserved through weaving
07:38.90Boito’s approach to preserving and presenting traditional designs
09:26.22Exploring the beauty, heritage, and crafts of India
10:15.10Growing up with stories and an inclination towards learning
11:21.47Discovering the diverse crafts of Odisha
16:24.53Expanding design possibilities with the local communities
27:16.62Repurposing items and sustainability in Indian culture
31:33.84Crafts as carriers of stories and heritage
33:25.88Introduction to the vision of Boito and plans for the future
36:29.96The focus on building relationships and meaningful associations
38:03.49Boyo can be found on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
[TRANSCRIPT]

**** – (): 00:00.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Welcome to the podcast rata.

**** – (): 00:00.98

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Thank you Cheruka I’m so honored to be here and be part of your show I’m excited.

**** – (): 00:07.68

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): No same year. The privilege is mine. Definitely um, okay Richard let’s start with I’m very um, very excited to have you here because I think there’s a lot of things that I think I truly am curious to learn about you. And I think I have my own interest because um, you know you your work is around. You know, culture heritage um crafts and this is something I really feel strongly about but we’ll get there first. Let’s.

**** – (): 00:37.10

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, right.

**** – (): 00:40.31

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Let’s get to know you a little bit more for anyone who’s tuning in and everyone who’s tuning in um, can you um, introduce yourself who you are what you do and we’ll start from there.

**** – (): 00:49.90

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Show show. My name is richha I live in Bangalore I have been by education and by profession in the software services industry for the longest I used to work with sap which is a german software company I used to be a product manager there.

**** – (): 00:58.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 01:06.72

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): For almost sixteen years I worked with the company and that was the only company really I worked with um so I was married to it very loyal in that and somewhere around covid you know like covid has given all of us these little bones in disguise I think i.

**** – (): 01:11.38

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 01:21.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 01:22.62

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Took a break from work because I wanted to spend more time at home spend more time internalizing what I want to do in life I was also turning forty and I thought that this might be a nice place to kind of restart. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so.

**** – (): 01:27.66

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, okay, you know all to bit really.

**** – (): 01:39.61

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And I’ve never lived in Ossa even though I am from oyssa I mean even as a child I grew up in multiple cities because my dad used to work with the State Bank Of India and which meant we had transferable jobs I mean we had transfercriable location moving. Sorry yeah so.

**** – (): 01:43.21

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay.

**** – (): 01:47.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, yeah, yeah, moving away from one sport to another.

**** – (): 01:58.66

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): It was really nice in a way because we got to adapt but at the same time I never really got to building roots I never stayed in 1 piece and built you know a flavor for the language for local jokes for local food and I think somewhere I was missing all of that and this was an opportunity for me to explore.

**** – (): 02:05.10

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 02:15.98

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, okay.

**** – (): 02:18.64

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): My kids were a lot older. They were on their own. So I I have two kids they’re both teenagers now and and so I took this liberty of exploring so I went into the artery and vaein of Forisa and I think one.

**** – (): 02:22.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 02:30.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): But what got you back to Resai was it that did you have a longing for it like you felt like you were missing something.

**** – (): 02:36.77

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): No I think I had I wanted to explore and I wanted to do something with my life which was different from going into an office space and working on a computer and I wanted to be on the ground and experience something more real and something more tangible. And I started with the of course like rural travel always excited me and you know understanding the various cultures that we have in this country. Um I had to start somewhere so I started with orsa because it was really easy for me. It was my home state. And I I got lucky with some friends who were connected to the international labor organization. So I kind of piggybacked in their ride and they were at work and I was able to then connect with um, you know what oessa has to offer in terms of so. 1 is the number of stories that the state has to tell like right from Kalinga Times ashoka times buddhist buddhism influence and all of that right from how the kunak was built in the middle of a water body. You know how that got done how it was held together with powerful magnets. Just so that the waves wouldn’t lash at it.

**** – (): 03:28.52

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 03:38.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay, yeah, okay.

**** – (): 03:44.81

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And break it down. It was built in the form of a chariot being pulled out of water with 7 horses and you know in a way that the sun god the det was such that the first rays of the sun would fall just below his feet and this the god was levitating in air.

**** – (): 03:55.78

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, oh wow.

**** – (): 04:00.71

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): You know So how they managed it was North Reppels North and magnetism and all that imagine like back in the day they were able to put together beautiful. So there are many many stories which are packed in the land of Verissa and what struck me was these stories are kept alive through weaving traditions in every.

**** – (): 04:07.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 04:16.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, right.

**** – (): 04:19.39

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Community across the state and given have almost 10% of the country’s um, tribal community and each of these communities are indigenous right? They don’t change much because they bring with them how they are. They don’t um, kind of mix with people. They don’t they don’t.

**** – (): 04:24.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Right.

**** – (): 04:36.48

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Ah, understand progress the way we understand the way we understand right? So they’ve really had a sort of timeless flavor in their um in their in their way of life. They’re unarded. You know they’re not running after targets the way of the way an average human being would you know you.

**** – (): 04:38.53

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 04:44.98

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, we do? Yeah yeah corporates And yeah.

**** – (): 04:55.33

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And balance you want that next promotion you want that best education for your child whereas these people lead very simple lives. They wake up in the morning and they’re like okay I need three hundred rupees to survive my day to feed my kids. How do I manage that I’ll work for 2 hours 3 hours in the field I’ll get it and I’ll chill the next.

**** – (): 05:07.65

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 05:13.26

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): The next few hours in the day you know what? okay I need to cover my body with clothes because I need protection. So what do I do I’ll get the bark of a tree which is growing shows by I’ll make thread out of it I’ll make a little something which will cover me wherever I need to and that’s my clothes so these are practices that still prevail.

**** – (): 05:15.88

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 05:29.94

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 05:31.65

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): In many many remote parts of Asa and somehow these stood out for me and given my corporate backing I think what I learned really? well thanks to Sep and thanks to my job is the ability to present things.

**** – (): 05:44.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 05:46.71

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): The ability to build narratives in ah in a fun way so that the audience is able to receive it simply right? So I think I wanted to take on this challenge of presenting these stories from across these communities in a way that the world is able to understand and appreciate them because I feel like that risk that respect and recognition.

**** – (): 05:50.67

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 06:06.37

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Something that these communities deserve. So I think that’s why my journey started and to tell you honestly like some things that stood out at me was you know one of the communities as a community that came in from Africa almost sixty thousand years ago they’re the bonda community they live in south so otissa.

**** – (): 06:08.27

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, absolutely okay.

**** – (): 06:20.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay.

**** – (): 06:24.50

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And these women till date they have not moved you know spatially and they have lived on the same Bonda Hills from it’s in malkanggiri and they cover themselves with beads all over. They don’t wear clothes otherwise and they have you know they have this little loin cloth which they make on their own. They have little looms at home.

**** – (): 06:35.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 06:42.87

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Like you know rudimentary hand looms backstrap weathing and every woman in that community is able to um you know use this thread from the bark of a tree and weave multicolored drinkas for themselves using organic vegetable eyes or whatever and it looks quite beautiful and they’re very nicely put together. Um, you know so.

**** – (): 06:43.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay.

**** – (): 06:54.35

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 07:02.56

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): If you look at them you feel like wow this is stylish and there’s another community called the donngria con her community which they only wear white saris and they wear Saris in a way that you know it ends on the knees. Its very loosely casually draped and they have one knot at the back and they have bare backs.

**** – (): 07:05.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 07:21.61

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And they have nothing else in terms of a companying this sare but they look quite beautifully put together and what they eve is a certain shawl. The whole community would weave only that one shawl where they represent mountains and forests and rivers because they kind of.

**** – (): 07:25.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay, yeah, okay.

**** – (): 07:34.96

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 07:38.90

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): You You know they pray to their mother earth surrounding them because they believe that mother Earth gives them security protection food. Everything is coming from nature so they leaveave that and they pray to that and their temples have those painted so it’s quite stunning how these stories differ from tribe to tribe and from community to community.

**** – (): 07:41.73

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, you know.

**** – (): 07:56.40

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): So what we do at Botho We just pick up these pieces. You know what as they build it and we sit with a designer to say that How can we present it in the form of a trench coat or in the form of a blazer or in the form of a lose casual bomber that the world can start using and at the same time be able to pump that. Um.

**** – (): 08:11.89

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 08:16.33

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): You know that infuse that pride back into these systems because otherwise they’re dwindling because otherwise there is no way the next generation is going to take it up or this community is yeah or or even this community having the faith to continue doing what they’re doing unless there’s something being shifted back into the computer pumped back into the community I don’t see how.

**** – (): 08:19.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, going to survive that. No.

**** – (): 08:35.85

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): You know we’ll only read about it in documentaries or books in future. So that’s that’s really the attempt.

**** – (): 08:39.27

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): No, that’s true, but tell me something Um, what? how do let me think about it. You know what? what really brought you in this way like like you said, um.

**** – (): 08:46.43

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And yeah.

**** – (): 08:55.13

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You did not grow up in uresa in the first place but you know these amazing stories now. Um is it like was it were you already familiar with these stories that brought you here or it was your own learning curve like you know you know when you get your feet into things and you start to know how.

**** – (): 09:01.11

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Um, um, Smith.

**** – (): 09:14.96

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Deeply things are involved in like you know these narratives because India has so much beauty to offer. Ah so much heritage and crafts and stories in hello. Yeah.

**** – (): 09:26.22

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Charo you you’re breaking up just just one second I think you’re breaking up charuka I don’t know if it’s my network I don’t know if it’s my network or yours something is breaking up your voice.

**** – (): 09:34.34

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I can hear you well I can hear you? Well yeah yeah I can you you? Well yeah I’ll repeat my question. What I’m asking is um so these stories that you’ve been mentioning.

**** – (): 09:40.50

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): You can hear me well Okay, then maybe we can continue. Yeah, okay show. Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 09:51.44

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um I love that India has so much too often and I think southeast asia specifically like you know there’s so much of culture. There’s so much of craft There’s so much of um, um, heritage that one can look It’s just it’s not 1 state. It’s so many like the like the whole map of India has. So much to offer and there’s so much so the more you go. There’s so many stories that we can all hear um tell me something what did you did you were you someone who was also let’s say interested in these stories before you started this or as you you know, paved your part.

**** – (): 10:15.10

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): He.

**** – (): 10:24.50

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Who can’t.

**** – (): 10:29.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): On this journey. You just learn more and more and it’s got you now like did you have an inclination towards something like this even before if not just let’s say not say Tamil Laru but just in general Also like you know.

**** – (): 10:44.11

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, so when it comes to orssa. Um I’ve grown up on stories. Everybody Orsa is a brilliant storyteller. Let me tell you that because also we have a lot of content in terms of stories. So my grandmother would tell me lots of stories and I would thrive on them I have.

**** – (): 10:50.66

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, oh wow. Yeah, so you’ve heard those stories in the sense of your own passing down down of from Bio Mothers Grandmothers and you know how that goal.

**** – (): 11:00.56

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, yes, yes, yeah, yeah, absolutely I’ve grown up on stories I’ve enjoyed my storytelling sessions. Um, almost like you know, finish your food fast because there’s a story waiting at the end. So yeah, so it’s been um, but. But I wouldn’t say that I knew all these stories in advance. Obviously it was a learning curve and was a huge learning curve I mean I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know of so many crafts that existed within the state of foresta you know and when it just comes to hand loom. We have 17 different weaving clusters across the state.

**** – (): 11:21.47

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 11:29.84

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 11:36.37

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 11:39.65

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And apart from that we have handicrafts. You know we have the potta chipra we have. We have the Cowunng craft which you wouldn’t have heard of you know using Kaw du and mud they make dolls. We have the wax Dolls craft and then we have docra the heaten beat. Yeah, so we have.

**** – (): 11:47.25

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, Wow yeah do care? Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 11:58.96

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Tongues and tons of craft that’s staring in our face and I really want to be able to do some sort of design collab work so that you know maybe we end up designing tabletops with poachitthra or blinds or lamp shades or you know something which kind of uses skill sets.

**** – (): 12:04.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You write.

**** – (): 12:18.60

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And therefore um, people who have the skillset feel even more leveraged are feel even more uplifted that you know what I know Dokra and I’m I’m pretty cool that I know Dokra You know that feeling has to come into Artisans I think I’m after that. So.

**** – (): 12:26.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 12:35.48

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And why but why wire design Why did you choose design or art as a medium to um, unfashion as a medium to um to communicate and to do this work specifically coming from software.

**** – (): 12:35.51

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): In a way.

**** – (): 12:41.84

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Ah.

**** – (): 12:53.29

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I Mean like why this? So how and why this ah combination has happened for you.

**** – (): 12:53.40

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Um, yeah shift. Yeah I Think that’s a very valid question I’ve also been thinking of the answer myself, but it was a very organic go with the flow sort of energy. Um, I am somebody who gets influenced very easily and I love to experiment and I’m a very free thinker So I don’t have too many boundaries like that and because I started exploring orissa and all of these things sprung at me I said why not give her a shot.

**** – (): 13:19.89

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Token.

**** – (): 13:25.93

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 13:26.70

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Why fashion because for me Orisa is the brand and I want because Urissa is a land of art craft culture like you write right? and it’s also very untapped like people don’t know about it right? It’s quitey so for me to be able to bring these things to the fore I felt like fashion was an easy route because people keep buying clothes.

**** – (): 13:44.11

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 13:45.40

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): All the time and people are you know it’s an easy route to kind of bring the story to the for. So maybe today it’s fashion tomorrow. It could be something else, but these are ways to circulate the traffic and to keep kind of keep bringing things to the fort and I’m experimental so we’ll figure out you know.

**** – (): 13:52.96

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Night.

**** – (): 14:01.83

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, so what has it been your journey so far. Um, what have you? How have you started? What have you been your like steps so far. What have been your learning so far.

**** – (): 14:04.60

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): The journey.

**** – (): 14:16.68

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah I’ll tell you? um what have we started I mean you have a really funny story because I came from a corporate background I went into you know in the in the beginning I said oh my God These are such beautiful textiles. Even the Banha textiles right? Whether to tiedye.

**** – (): 14:24.69

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 14:30.77

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 14:33.10

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): They can’t do beyond twelve meters at 1 go of of a s certainten textile because it’s literally like you know there’s a lot of complicated math that goes into bundling the threads that goes into drawing the pattern. It’s a lot of hand work right? So if you’re drawing a little story onto a sari imagine.

**** – (): 14:34.27

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, light. As the lord of handwork everything is being done manually.

**** – (): 14:50.11

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Ah, youre you’re drawing a villagee scene where you have some trees some people some Heartts some monkeys all of these figures have to be tied manually onto your threads you know and that that thread is going to be dipped in one particular ah color and then it’s going to be covered and then another color and rather color so you have to keep doing this tie-dye Tiedye resist dying.

**** – (): 14:56.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 15:09.70

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And then finally it’s prepare and put onto the hand loom and then somebody sits and leaves it. So. It’s a lot of work right? Um, that plus these tribal textiles that are talked about like the Bonda Community the Dongria community and all of these things were obviously staring at me that do something about these are so beautiful right? So um. I Took a designer friend in Tourissa right? and I’m telling you from the beginning of my journey since you asked right? It could be a little bit of a long answer please bear with me. But but yeah, so this design a friend of mine Unsure Aora I kind of I Really like the clothes that they make.

**** – (): 15:32.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay yeah, show joy.

**** – (): 15:45.36

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): She had a label of her owns I said listen you just have to come with me to Arisssa and she agreed like yeah to kind of understand how and it’s she is not somebody I knew in advance. She’s just somebody I reached out to because I loved her designs and I said I pitched to her I took my laptop I said okay here is all but.

**** – (): 15:49.18

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Look at it.

**** – (): 15:58.45

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 16:05.29

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Buta has to offer and if you’re excited, please come with me Theresa so she came with me and she sat with the beavers. She start with these communities and she said okay you know what? what can we do in terms of a design tweak I know you make this in yellow and red and I know you make fish and I know you make turtles of this size. Can we expand the turtle a bit.

**** – (): 16:06.62

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay, wow.

**** – (): 16:24.53

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): What would it mean to you if we expanded it from a two inch to a four inch you know, can you actually do it is it easy for you would you want to do it so it was a very weaver led discussion. Um, and we said that okay, we want to change these colors to let’s say a mov and a mud brown because we want the world to be able to consume what you make right? and not just let it.

**** – (): 16:26.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Here.

**** – (): 16:32.69

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 16:42.19

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 16:44.49

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Out here and I think whatever consensus we were coming to together as a unit with the beers as well as the designer we took those calls and we started designing so first step was to actually meet with the beavers. Um, and so even before this first step step 0 actually for me alone.

**** – (): 16:50.73

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay.

**** – (): 17:03.90

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): To figure out if there is a capacity or there is the ability and need to actually onboard beavers facilitate this. So the first weaver that I went to I thought he was quite excited I was very happy I took um you know and I said I want this this this this this can you please do it.

**** – (): 17:08.67

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Facilitate This yeah.

**** – (): 17:14.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 17:21.19

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): These are your designs only I chose from his textiles his Sas I said just do it for me these shifted colors and all like okay so I came back I sent him an excel sheet you know and I said okay this is the this is the ah this is the pattern I but put pictures.

**** – (): 17:34.13

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah.

**** – (): 17:37.00

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): This is the color. This is the number of meters and this is the estimated time of arrival, you know, almost like that and I said please validate are you okay to deliver like this. He lost it. He didn’t respond to my calls for two months so it was.

**** – (): 17:51.58

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, and for pride Oh kind.

**** – (): 17:53.26

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah I have had a lot of these funny, funny, funny funny tales across I’m giving you one of them. But you know somehow we managed to I think ah because I had faith in Oresan because I kind of believe that this talent is not to be found anywhere else. Let’s just stick on. Let’s just a severe and you’ll see.

**** – (): 17:56.91

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 18:06.91

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, keep keep pushing it. Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 18:11.43

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): You know, um because I wasn’t a maha and you know thankfully I’m in a stage of life but I didn’t need the money money immediately. So there’s no need for be rushed into things. My kids are kind of settled. My husband doesn’t like these. He’s got enough for us to survive this life that good on that. So I think for me the course.

**** – (): 18:18.62

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 18:23.46

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 18:29.50

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): The path was clear that I I have the time to experiment I wasn’t rushing anything So once I think once I started spending more time with them understanding their ways of work. You know having lunches and chive with them I think that’s when the little bit of a switch will and yeah building a relationship.

**** – (): 18:30.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 18:43.91

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You got in building a relationship I think specifically um because it isn’t I think the work the way tribal communities in these um ah the handccraft industry works is you know? Ah, there’s it isn’t like a corporate office or like um.

**** – (): 18:47.24

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 19:01.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): There’s a very community led relationship based and word-based um community where there’s so much trust for ears and yours and also very close knit tight communities like I’ve myself worked with um.

**** – (): 19:12.76

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, absolutely.

**** – (): 19:18.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, worked a lot specifically like you know from Ag from lucknow You also have a business where we you know work with um manufactures and you know, crafts and craftsmen and everyone and I do see this that um for them for them. It is also like. You know the thing is that there’s so many people who’ve come and taken advances in the sense of they want to do something and end end up hurting them or wasting their time or building a distrust that I think they’re very very of what’s coming their way.

**** – (): 19:48.60

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, absolutely you view hit the nail exactly where it should be hidden That is why you know this building Trust Activity took me forever. Um, but it paid off in the end because now we’re friends like I Love these new friends that we’ve made in the last.

**** – (): 19:55.38

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 20:07.12

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): But so it’s It’s such a fresh wave you know to understand that. Um, ah like the last time I went um there was this skid. Ah the buttermilk that he got for me which was ah the the he was basically used ah made using the local cow’s milk.

**** – (): 20:07.23

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, yeah.

**** – (): 20:24.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 20:26.44

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And it tasted different and then he put this, you know, freshly plucked. Um, yeah lemon leaf into it to it and put I tell you like even today I can taste that buttermilk was so good. Yes.

**** – (): 20:30.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 20:37.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, yeah I think in the life that we’re living um everything has got so commoditized so commercialized with social media I think we’ve reached a point that we forgot even the organic has been so much capitalized and commoditized in that sense.

**** – (): 20:51.19

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Exactly right? It’s everything is you look at it with a suspectful eye that maybe.

**** – (): 20:55.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And yeah, and also ah you know it’s it’s so rightly said like India um India is a country where everything was organic in the sense like you know the we our food pallets are built the spices the the vegetables. Um. Everything that we’ve consumed so far has been like even for the rural in the villages still the way they consume is so much better. Um, than we do the pesticides and you know there’s so much toxics that we consume in today’s time in the name of um, you know.

**** – (): 21:30.52

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 21:31.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Luxury expensive organic that we’ve truly we’ve all we’ve all been confused now that what really is a treasure and um, you know it’s just yeah because it it does not matter that. Um.

**** – (): 21:32.83

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 21:42.56

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Is good for you? yeah.

**** – (): 21:50.38

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You know, with branding where I do appreciate the business and all of those things that bring in the world. But I think arts crafts these are a reminder for all of us to like you know in in a way in a in a time that you living the fast pace live where everything can be delivered in 10 minutes

**** – (): 22:08.94

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Hm we have to pick that. Yeah, that is the biggest problem. You know you’ve just said exactly what because earlier I remember when I was just married I would Sundays would be those times where I’d go out with my husband to a grocery store store you make lists now figure out together. This.

**** – (): 22:09.34

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Right to your house. Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 22:21.24

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yes, yeah, yeah, yes, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 22:24.69

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): So it was a very together activity that we enjoyed doing but now it’s a matter of zep towing it you know or done zowing it and we don’t get that time together. So in a way this convenience is coming with a trade-off and I think that’s also what we’re trying to attack through the slow fashion space that we’re in right? I mean.

**** – (): 22:37.73

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 22:41.86

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 22:44.59

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): So if you look at it like cars. Don’t change their silhouettes or colors every six months. Ah, you don’t have seasonal launches you know, but but the fashion industry does and somehow.

**** – (): 22:46.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Right? right? Yeah yeah, the more I think in this economy of more and more you know and I think as artists also like I Love I Just love the magic where artists and Artisans if they come together because there’s very. Um, is such a cool combination in the sense of I feel in the way today I think a lot of artists are struggling with this idea of being on social media content creation fast production where the sense of art there of course are let’s say. Pros to aid where the skill buildingt, etc, etc et etc. There’s always something good that you can find in all situations but the biggest con I feel is like um just the art of making just just the process. How soothing that process is how you know how intuitive that process being being.

**** – (): 23:37.92

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Oh.

**** – (): 23:43.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): It in itself. A very therapeutic process and not just let’s say a sales process or a selling or a marketing or a branding or a content creation and I feel like um, the tribal communities. It’s It’s such a big tradeoff for them in the sense of to be able to keep.

**** – (): 23:51.25

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): When.

**** – (): 24:03.49

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Their legacy survive like to be able to survive that legacy. They have trade off and protected themselves from a lot of things so far and the hindsight of that is that they haven’t been able to access or get the support that they deserve and the um the heritage that they’ve been um.

**** – (): 24:09.87

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Who.

**** – (): 24:21.99

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Oh yep.

**** – (): 24:22.95

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Building and you know taking forward so far but also they still win in ah in a life that we are living I think they’ve been able to protect their their crafts and not make it as commercialized and I’ve seen that there’s a fiercely ah did they fiercely protect themselves from this idea that they do not want to be more.

**** – (): 24:32.15

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Know that? yes.

**** – (): 24:42.75

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yes.

**** – (): 24:42.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, overly commercialized and um, they understand that the code is ah they have to protect their craft so much that it doesn’t take away like nothing takes away that.

**** – (): 24:49.35

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, no, you’ve said it absolutely that that even when we are working with these communities. We’re being very very mindful that we don’t create a shiftica see I sitting in Bannglowre I’m craving that life so a can.

**** – (): 25:06.84

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yes, yes, yes, yes yeah.

**** – (): 25:08.12

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): I can’t move their life out of what is today right? because that is the beauty of it. So but at the same time I want them to have access to clean toilets I want them to have access to you know women use gunny sacks in some of these communities instead of sanitary napkins.

**** – (): 25:16.23

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 25:25.12

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): So and these are things they’re not even exposed to and they’re pretty okay with you know life the way it is presented to them. Um, but I also like yeah.

**** – (): 25:30.62

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, but you know what I’ll tell you something the other day I saw an advertisement um um and this was I don’t know this was on Facebook or something. Um, and I found it so strange because in India I’ve seen even before like around the time I was born and I’m sure you must of course know that um I saw my my grandmothers in you know, but with sanitary. Um.

**** – (): 26:04.91

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ba cloths um Cotton sanitaries. You know they were made at home where people use used to you know use ah clothbased sanitaries and then the then the plastic game and you know all of those things and I was seeing this ad where ah this brand has um they choose.

**** – (): 26:07.32

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Smooth.

**** – (): 26:24.44

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): First organic cotton based sanitaries where what it is was ah particularly is just a stitchd way of sanitaries. What ah and disposable and once you know through ah use- in throw kind of a stuff. Because of course sanitary is the plastic that you’re using so it you know gives you rashes and it’s long hours and etc etc and it brought me thinking that really the life that you’re living. We really do not know what’s right? like what’s evolution and what’s progress and not progress because.

**** – (): 26:56.89

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Exactly who.

**** – (): 26:58.97

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): We really are calling it progress. But ah, we’ve seen because I saw my grandmothers um use cotton-based ah, wasteful fabrics and they were so conscious about ah repurposing things when even what it it wasn’t trendy like we spilled this is like a joke.

**** – (): 27:08.71

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And.

**** – (): 27:16.62

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Running joke for Indians that you’ll have a drawer full of um Potan bags and paper bags. Just you know we collect them and repurpose them. It wasn’t cool. It wasn’t it. It wasn’t a phenomena in the sense of oh you know we are sustainability and it was just very regular practices that we have ah as a culture. We’ve always.

**** – (): 27:33.42

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, no, and I think that was quite a healthy. It was a healthy practice I would fully agree with that. Yeah yeah, and see the thing is that that was healthy, but what I’m talking about is you know having? Ah yeah yeah.

**** – (): 27:35.79

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Had Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 27:46.84

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): No I understand show. Yes, you no no I completely understand that they may not have access to a lot of things but I what I’m just trying to say is in the sense that um, we this is so confusing. Um, in the times that we’re living.

**** – (): 27:50.44

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Ah.

**** – (): 27:58.43

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Where then for request? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 28:02.63

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, keep that what do we keep intact and what do we take forward in the name of progress and technology because it is only that you go further 10 20 30 40 years and you realize oh what we had was much better than what we have.

**** – (): 28:16.40

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Um, right.

**** – (): 28:18.24

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I Think we’ve come to that point now and that we understand oh we didn’t come from a technology world but the peace in the mind that we had or we didn’t come from a fast fashion world Now you know if we cease to talk talking about homegrown brands. It has become trendy I grew up in a small town.

**** – (): 28:32.35

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): A.

**** – (): 28:34.26

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Where we for a very long time we did not even have access and we did not even know about brands we would bear who it wasn’t a cool thing but it was just a regular thing. We all would in India this the brand culture came really later. We all would very homegrown I mean.

**** – (): 28:47.20

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Now.

**** – (): 28:52.10

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): We still in the indian wear and whatever the suits in the Sas. We buy the designers and labels and all of this have come now. But for so many years we were always homeg grown supporting local business.

**** – (): 28:57.68

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Absolutely now in fact, even I as a child would only get 1 set of clothes on the valley every year I don’t I don’t remember getting more than that. So in a way like it was good.

**** – (): 29:06.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 29:16.40

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Because then you would need for it and then you would earn it? Um, but now you can’t see that to my kids like they would not agree to something like that So already exposed them to so much right? So yeah.

**** – (): 29:24.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, yeah, yeah, life was a lot I think and we’re all still I think post Covid a lot of things have changed in the life that we’re living now. But let’s see where does it go No okay.

**** – (): 29:33.65

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, true, true, true but see through our clothes. We also want to reflect the timelessness of these textiles because like I said these indigenous communities or even the. You know, slightly more advanced we were communities like Sambaur and condua sorry are you still there I think I’ve lost you.

**** – (): 29:56.72

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yay I’m yo. No no I’m here.

**** – (): 30:01.21

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Okay, okay, okay, greet. Yeah so I feel like yeah, so what I’m saying is these communities because they believe they’re there Belief systems are all housed in their textiles. So if we pick up that for example, in quote part they have something called a.

**** – (): 30:04.22

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I can hear you.

**** – (): 30:19.85

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): A Bille sharpp meaning a cats spw so they make that as a motive and because they considered it auspicious at some point in time. So can you imagine considering a cat’s aw auspicious like world over nobody would have heard but in a little village somewhere. This was considered now coming from three hundred years ago or their grandfather’s generate. Great grandfather’s generation.

**** – (): 30:20.54

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay, okay, Wow. Wow.

**** – (): 30:39.30

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): That trend continues because their textiles don’t change their motives. Don’t change So that’s what I mean by the timelessness of their textiles. Yeah, so it’s nice to be able to yeah, it’s nice to be able to use this these little historical motifs.

**** – (): 30:44.63

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I Absolutely know I think that’s this amazing.

**** – (): 30:57.33

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And patterns and convey that that you know you will buy by 2 coats a day a year, buy 2 clothes a year but invest in handmade you know and encourage encourage people to continue their tradition and craft.

**** – (): 30:59.85

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 31:06.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, but also I think is what’s the beauty of about I Love Handmade and I love Indian crafts and you know specifically craft southeastation. How all parts of the World. We have so many different techniques. What I really love is that the I think the most the beauty of ah about crafts is the the stories that they carry not only the aesthetic but what what is very common ah amongst everything is that there is always a story behind everything and everything I mean.

**** – (): 31:33.84

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Get me.

**** – (): 31:46.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, it’s like um, we are taking these stories and these beliefs in our heritage and everything. Ah you’re on you taking passing ah it on to generations I love pieces like you know, um, our mothers have worn. Um our grandmothers have won I still wear my. Mom’s stolls and shawls and it is something that maybe some of those are that my mom had from her um mother and like it. It reminds you that how where you come from like in the in the world of everything new It’s so important to know that where we come from and the stories that ah that have been that are not of only today but also way way beyond us. Yeah.

**** – (): 32:25.69

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 32:31.94

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Absolutely yeah, yeah, so I don’t I mean it. It is an attempt to not let because see what’s happening is weavers are falling trap falling prey to power looms now because won fast output right? and people want designs that people can you know, just.

**** – (): 32:45.89

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 32:51.00

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Immediately even as Saris For example, you want modern prince you want So what happens then is that the beaver is doing things of the world onces and the world wants fast fashion. Ah, which then the beaver is not feeling challenged to do. It’s just that he’s getting succumbed to it. So unless there’s a pull on the opposite side.

**** – (): 33:00.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 33:08.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, right right? No now tell me something What is your vision with boyta and um, can you talk a little bit about exactly how are you doing this and.

**** – (): 33:10.88

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): There’s no money for the Weaver craft to survive.

**** – (): 33:23.63

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, what are your plans for the future.

**** – (): 33:25.88

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, so with boto okay boto literally means a boat in in oria and ah traditionally it was used to carry cargo off the coast of oisssa because we had access to a port bay of Bengal right? So we used to make.

**** – (): 33:29.82

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 33:36.88

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, yeah.

**** – (): 33:41.87

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Woven textiles like very fine cottons and silks and these families would depend on this textile’s income. The income that was brought in with the sales of these textiles for the year for them to see see them through the year that income. So um, these textiles were woven through the year and they were loaded onto a ah boat.

**** – (): 33:53.55

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 34:01.60

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): This boat was called abuitho beautiful swan kind of head. Um you know and it was decorated before it traveled far into the east and these ancient marina or sahabas they would get onto the boat with the cargo and they would go into lands of Burma China Indonesia it was also called Bali jakra.

**** – (): 34:08.52

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 34:19.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay I Oh really who oh Wow I didn’t know that.

**** – (): 34:21.50

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Like the the travel from Orissa to Bali so you’ll have a lot of oria influence in Bali actually yeah yeah, a lot of people settled there. Yeah, it’s it’s quite yeah so they would go in the month of October November and they would come back home after the.

**** – (): 34:36.94

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Come back? Oh it came became kind of migration.

**** – (): 34:39.74

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Ah, kit in the March april yeah, so no, so it was like they were away from home for almost three four months doing trade cultural exchange you know, understanding from others selling their produce or bartering or whatever and they would bring back fortune into the land of kalinga so that was the boy though.

**** – (): 34:45.21

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh okay, oh yeah I am okay okay, okay.

**** – (): 34:59.48

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And that is what our brand stands for really, we’re trying to expose crafts and hand loom from Marissa to the world. That’s really all everybody else like whoever is keen on it. Um, what is my plan with boyo I want to take it easy and slow because like I said I don’t want to disrupt anything these lead very beautiful lives.

**** – (): 35:04.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, yes.

**** – (): 35:12.23

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 35:19.11

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): I am selfish because I want to be able to boast about my state I Want to be able to tell the world and beat the drum that hey look at what we have look at our skilled people and I want to find the best way to be able to do that balancing you know, balancing fully well that we don’t disrupt.

**** – (): 35:22.19

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 35:31.34

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, do that.

**** – (): 35:38.25

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 35:38.84

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Unhued Lifestyle We respect that fully we tread with caution but at the same time I need to be able to build stories and package them and build garmins and build other beautiful things using this craft and art so that the world starts appreciating it I Also want to be able to.

**** – (): 35:52.75

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Got in it.

**** – (): 35:56.20

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Set up centers of Boyto and all these remote corners which can then become even you know if we start doing well and we have um money flowing in. We can kind of ah push back money into into these communities through these centers.

**** – (): 35:57.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 36:12.92

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Which can deal with anything that the that the community needs eventually right? Yeah so and um, and to me like right now I’m not really going aggressively after sales. That’s not a targetable but I am looking at surrendering relationships.

**** – (): 36:13.72

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Needs. Yeah I think that’s a really good vision.

**** – (): 36:26.17

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 36:29.96

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Making more meaningful associations with these communities. Um and eventually like get a really strong backbone going and and think about sales find them. Yeah because we do want to um, make very beautiful products make products that the world appreciates.

**** – (): 36:30.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 36:38.11

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 36:45.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah I love that I think that’s a really really good vision and I think the work that you’re doing is incredible and.

**** – (): 36:47.46

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): And eventually be able to pump back money into the system right? The entire value chain is to get impacted so that will be the ultimate. Yeah desire to be able to tell these stories and narratives across.

**** – (): 37:02.16

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Thank you.

**** – (): 37:05.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I really hope that you take in. You do not um, not only take it to India but to the world I think we really have a huge heritage and I think art lovers and creative lovers and people who really appreciate. We. We all no matter where we are sitting in the world. We truly understand. Um. The labor and the intensity of these handcrafted um heritage born like you know the way this work is done. It’s it’s not easy. We all understand that and I hope that the world recognizes it. It does I think from r 2 fashion. We see every now and then how these crafts are coming and it’s become more and more popular.

**** – (): 37:32.64

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 37:44.55

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): But I only hope that this the vision of yours only comes to life. Thank you so much Richard it was so nice speaking to you thank you so much oh thank you so same you and and for everyone who’s listening back in the far. Follow you.

**** – (): 37:44.86

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yep.

**** – (): 37:48.74

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): You I Absolutely loved speaking with you sharuka and yeah and I hope you keep inspiring people like me.

**** – (): 38:03.49

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): How can they learn about boy to more Can you just let us know.

**** – (): 38:04.60

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): It sure so we have an Instagram page. We’re also on Linkedin and Facebook and Twitter we are called boyto dot I n and our website is going to come up very soon within the next month or so so we are hoping to Instagram actually we are quite active already.

**** – (): 38:20.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay.

**** – (): 38:24.22

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): We have published a lot of Artisans tales you know techniques. How a cut is made how tribal textiles are built out.

**** – (): 38:29.17

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I Would love I encourage people to go really watch that to learn more about the the work and the handigraphs.

**** – (): 38:35.96

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, so I think these little stories and travel logs. We keep publishing and and yeah I think that’s that’s where we are. Yeah.

**** – (): 38:42.62

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Perfect. Thank you so much. Thank you Rich I look forward to speaking you again where you have more to there with us same yeah same yeah, you love to stay once.

**** – (): 38:48.42

**** – (): Richa Maheshwari

**** – (): Yeah, absolutely jeric I Look forward to meeting you in person as well. You take care. Yeah, all right Lovely talking bye.


Richa Maheshwari is a former product manager in the software services industry who took a break from her corporate career to explore her passion for culture, heritage, and crafts. She is the founder of Boito, a brand that aims to bring the stories and traditions of indigenous communities in Odisha, India to the forefront through fashion. Richa is dedicated to preserving and promoting the timeless beauty of handloom textiles and traditional crafts, while also empowering the artisans and weavers who create them.

Episode Summary:

In this episode, host Charuka Arora interviews Richa Maheshwari, founder of Boito, about her journey from the corporate world to the world of culture and crafts. Richa shares how she discovered her passion for the rich heritage of Odisha and her mission to bring the stories and traditions of indigenous communities to the world through fashion. She discusses the importance of preserving traditional crafts, building relationships with artisans, and creating sustainable and timeless fashion pieces. Richa also highlights the challenges and rewards of working with remote communities and her vision for the future of Botho.

Key Takeaways:

  • Richa Maheshwari left her corporate career to explore her passion for culture, heritage, and crafts in Odisha, India.
  • Boito aims to preserve traditional crafts and empower artisans by creating sustainable and timeless fashion pieces.
  • The brand collaborates with weavers and artisans to design garments that showcase the unique stories and motifs of indigenous communities in Odisha.
  • Boito is focused on building relationships with artisans and creating centers in remote areas to support and promote traditional crafts.
  • Richa’s vision is to bring the stories and traditions of Odisha to the world, while also ensuring the well-being and prosperity of the communities involved.

Notable Quotes:

  • “I wanted to be on the ground and experience something more real and tangible.”
  • “These communities deserve respect, recognition, and a sense of pride in their craft.”
  • “We want to infuse pride back into these communities and ensure the next generation continues their traditions.”
  • “Fashion is an easy route to bring these stories to the forefront and make them accessible to the world.”
  • “Our textiles carry the timeless stories and beliefs of these communities, and we want to reflect that in our designs.”

Charuka Arora is the founder of the Arts to Hearts Project and Host of the Arts to Hearts Podcast. She is also an acclaimed Indian artist known for her contemporary embellished paintings. Her unique blend of gouache, collage, embroidery, painting, and drawing explores the intersection of art, culture, heritage, and womanhood. Through her work, she tells stories of female strength and encapsulates them in pieces that can be treasured for generations.

 Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Charuka’s work draws inspiration from Hindu mythology, recognizing women as vessels of Shakti, the cosmic energy. She beautifully portrays powerful goddesses like Durga Maa riding a tiger or lion, symbolizing their unlimited power to protect virtue and combat evil.

Through her art, Charuka invites us into the world of women, showcasing their beauty, strength, and resilience. Her creations not only exhibit exceptional talent but also serve as an inspiration and a symbol of hope for those challenging societal norms.

About Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Arts to Hearts Podcast is a show delving into the lives and passions of renowned artists. From running creative businesses and studio art practices to cultivating a successful mindset, Charuka Arora engages in heartfelt conversations with her guests. Experience your personal happy hour with your favorite artists, right in your studio.

Through candid discussions, Charuka and her guests reveal the joys and challenges of a vibrant creative life, both within and beyond our studios. Get ready to be inspired and uplifted as you tune in.

Richa Maheshwari

Richa Maheshwari, who belongs to Odisha herself, is the founder of Boito, a luxury garments label based on Odisha handloom. Through her brand, she is championing the textiles of Odisha and empowering the weaver communities that weave them.

She comes from an engineering background, and has built multiple complex systems that are now productive. Her core strength is HR, a domain knowledge built over 17 years, with an expert level understanding of the Australian and American customer base. She also feels passionate about learning.

As society has developed and evolved, we have also begun to lose touch with our roots and traditions. Living in this fast-paced world, we seldom have enough time to reconnect with our culture, and that is something that Richa wants to bring back. As she moved to Odishashe saw the beauty that is now tucked away and decided to share it with the world in a way that is more appealing to the masses of this age. 

Away from the hustle and bustle of cities, there are still people who are living their lives in a way that is most authentic to them. There are tribes who still follow their traditions, whether it is wearing a certain piece of garment or using a certain motif on their clothes. For these people, it means everything and Richa wants to make sure that this craft is not lost over time. Through her brand, Boito, she wants to preserve these pieces and show the world how India is home to diverse cultures. 

Richa Maheshwari
Courtesy of Syed Zubair- Image taken from Vogue India‘s website

About Boito

Richa talks about how different tribes in Odisha are living a slow life, contrary to what we have gotten used to. For these people, it’s all about surviving and living their life one day at a time. Similarly, the way they lead their lives is also fascinating, from the way they dress up to the way they conduct their matters, these are the things that need to be preserved and celebrated. 

Richa is interested in the stories each tribe has to tell, where she takes inspiration from their clothing and tries to infuse it with modernism. Her job at Boito involves sitting down with a designer and figuring out how these pieces can be made into a trench coat, a blazer, or a bomber etc., so that more people can use it. By doing so, her aim is to infuse pride back into these systems that are dwindling, and unless we do something about it, the chance of them fading away with every generation increases. Richa doesn’t want to wait for a time when the only way we can experience these cultures is through books and documentaries, and she wants to take action in real-time. 

I wanted to take on this challenge of presenting these stories from across these communities in a way that the world is able to understand and appreciate them.

Richa Maheshwari  – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e06
Image taken from Condé Nast Traveller’s webiste

Why the fashion industry?

Richa’s passion for preserving these narratives is commendable, and the reason why she chose design and fashion as a medium to communicate is not something that took a lot of effort. For her, it happened organically, where she was open to experimenting and exploring. Odisha is a land of art, craft, and culture, a place that has a lot of potential but is still underappreciated. The fashion industry is something that never goes out of style. People are always in need of clothes, and so they are going to keep buying what’s trending. For Richa, fashion was the most natural and easy route, because it is the perfect industry where you can experiment and keep bringing new things to the fore, something that also speaks to her experimental nature. 

Drawing patterns and then bundling the threads is not an easy job, a lot of hard work goes into it, something that is not sustainable for such artisans in the fast fashion industry. Richa realized this soon after she entered the world of fashion. If she wanted to make it work, she needed to have community-led relationships that were built on trust. During her journey, she discovered the many crafts that existed within the state of Odishaespecially handloom, where there are 17 different types of weaving clusters. In light of all these facts, it becomes imperative that these artisans are given a platform where instead of succumbing to fast fashion, they are able to use their skills in a way that benefits them and their community. 

In an attempt to preserve these diminishing crafts, Richa is also attacking through the slow fashion space where she wants to provide the right kind of access and support to these communities. For her, it’s important that these crafts are not commercialized, something that the local artisans themselves want as well. In the end, it all boils down to sharing the art and craft in a way where it also remains protected instead of being exploited. 

Richa’s vision

The name of Richa’s brand is Boito, which literally means a boat. The name Boito commemorates the voyage of the Odia mariner merchants who would travel to different lands for trade and cultural exchange. This is also what the brand stands for, ‘to expose crafts and handloom from Marissa to the world.’

With her historical motifs and patterns, Richa wants to promote slow fashion where she wants to encourage people to invest in handmade stuff, and instead of buying loads of clothes, only invest in quality pieces. In future, she wants to continue building stories and package them in a presentable way, and while she isn’t aggressively going after sales at the moment, she hopes to turn Boito into a business that can push back money into these local Odia communities. Right now, she is looking at making more meaningful associations with these communities, and hopefully, after a time, the brand will build a strong backbone where she can afford to think about sales. 

Courtesy of Syed Zubair- Image taken from Vogue India‘s website

In a world where fast fashion has become the norm, and where ancient crafts have taken a backseat because of brands churning out unsustainable pieces, we need more people like Richa who are not only conscious of the environment but can also identify the dire need for reviving our dwindling cultural heritage. Ultimately, Richa’s vision for her brand is to make beautiful products that the world appreciates and pump that money back into the system. Boito’s official website will be launched soon, meanwhile, you can reach out to Richa and her brand on Instagram!

To read up more about Arts to Hearts Podcast and its episodes, click here.


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