"Fashion industry is notoriously difficult to predict"

Babita Jain claims to be a self-taught textile designer and artist from Ahmedabad is the Founder of House of Prana, a lifestyle, fashion, artwork and home accessories brand.

"Fashion industry is notoriously difficult to predict"

Soon after graduation in 1989, Babita Jain joined her family business. Somewhere during 1996, she took a sabbatical from business as she was totally occupied with multiple family responsibilities. However, she continued to instil art into her everyday routine.

Babita Jain claims to be a self-taught textile designer and artist from Ahmedabad is the Founder of House of Prana, a lifestyle, fashion, artwork and home accessories brand. Her creative style is abstract and she aims to evoke a therapeutic and emotional connection through her work. 

Prana is an Indian brand with global values that resonates with its audience and with unique concepts of hand-illustrated artworks and unique fashion accessories. All the art designs in her collection have been created by her. Once created, they are also used as digital prints to create different lifestyle and home decor products like scarves, clothes, cushions, tablemats and trays.

The main unique aspect of her art is the vibrant use of colours. Out of all the different approaches that already exist, her sense of colours sets her pieces apart from the rest available in the market.

What do you mean when you say you are a “self-taught” textile designer?

Born in a Garment export family I was always attracted to fabrics and textures so I joined the family business just after graduation. I did not get an opportunity to study fashion formally.  A quick learner equipped with good creative skills I have gathered a profound understanding of textile and different colour concepts and their application in design making the most of my everyday experience in the garment business. My art journey began in school where fine art was my favourite subject. I loved playing with colours on canvas especially with the Ombre effects. I am proud to call myself a self-taught textile designer.

I design exquisite fashion items in line with my brand’s aesthetic messaging. Out of all the different approaches that already exist; my sense of colours sets my pieces apart from the rest available in the market.

When did you realise that it's "the time" to follow my passion?

I started small by creating paintings first but wasn’t satisfied as my passion was always towards fabrics. So, later I thought I must use my creativity on fabrics. That’s how the idea of scarves was born.

Once my children grew up, I decided it was finally time to pursue my dream career which was art. I launched The House of Prana in 2018. My art came from the soul, so I finalized the name Prana. I believe in ‘Love what you do or do what you love.’ I was certain since the early days that I wanted to grow up and start something of my own. I design some amazing exquisite fashion items keeping in line with my brand’s aesthetic messaging. I experimented with few clothes as well.

Did you extend help from your family, as they were into a similar business?

I give full credit to my family for my extensive knowledge of fabrics as I had joined my family business before marriage. But later when I started my own business that knowledge was very useful. I could really apply all that I had learnt for years into my own beloved venture. Other than that my husband supported me financially and morally. I am truly blessed as my children too have been very supportive and have encouraged me through the entire set-up process.

What is your source of inspiration while designing?

The House of Prana was born from a simple idea of ‘Deep Meditation’. It is a lifestyle brand for the adventurous customer who wants both; colour and style in their life. It stands for styles that are fluid and open to imagination. Our customer is independent, self-assured, has a unique trend-agnostic sense of style that is timeless.

How did you come up with the idea of starting your own venture?

Both my children had heard about my creative skills and love for art from my paternal family and as they grew up, they urged me to use my hard work onto something more productive. With my domestic help taking good care of us and after my children grew up and finished high school, I joined the Women Organisation FICCI Flo Ahmedabad chapter. I enjoyed being a part of FLO as it gave me plenty of opportunities to network with like-minded women like me who were entrepreneurs. Being with them I always got inspired to start something of my own but could not realize my calling. In 2018, my daughter asked me to tell her the one thing that I liked to do most when I was in school. I told her I loved painting but had to let go of that passion as I had responsibilities to fulfil – from college to joining my father’s garment business, I had to do it all. She immediately gave me a canvas and some paints and told me to show her my skill. From then on, every day she kept forcing me to paint until the day I realized that I could convert my artwork into exclusive digital prints to make gorgeous products out of it. She also helped brainstorm a brand name - Prana, designed the logo and website for me and guided me to dive into some research on my competitors so that I could be well versed with the current market scenario. I am truly grateful to her for my entire entrepreneurial journey.

What was the motive behind it?

India is undergoing a transformation; there is a hybridization of the Indian culture. Indians are striving to find a balance between their cultural traditions and the changes which are the result of a global economy. It seems Indians have adopted the Cultural hybridization model in response to globalization with a balanced mix of tradition and modernity. Keeping this in mind, I launched The House of Prana, a label with an international sensibility that has Indian roots, yet is contemporary. We believe in providing Indian comfort with a touch of modern luxury and style in one wrap.

Are your products limited to women use only?

My product line includes exclusive abstract paintings converted into digital printed scarves, hair and bag accessories for women, pocket squares for men and home décor items like table mats, and trays.

Does it support the vocal for local initiative?

Yes, our brand supports the vocal for local initiative. Pure Silk, Ahimsa Silk, Georgette and Pashmina are a few fabrics in our library that speak the language of rich Indian lustrousness. Our scarves are made for people of today with the roots of yesterday. Keeping this in mind, I launched The House of Prana, a label with an international sensibility that has Indian roots, yet is contemporary.

Also, do you plan to make your audiences reach a global level with the help of e-commerce players?

Currently, our business is slow due to the pandemic. I expect growth in another three to four years as right now we are working mainly through e-commerce and reaching our audience through social media.

Any advice you would like to give to young women who aspire to become entrepreneurs?

Starting a business is a very personal journey. You’re probably a creative person, with something different to offer in a fast-moving industry. It’s likely that you’ve spotted a gap in the market, or have a unique design in mind for a specific customer group. But bear in mind, the fashion industry is notoriously difficult to predict. There is no space for being impulsive and hence your plan will need to be flexible as there are no guarantees. One will always have to be up for multiple challenges and deal with them as and when they pop up.

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