MeMeraki - Bag Art Meets Utility

Works of art that work with an Indian flavor

In a moment, at the very center of the swept and cleaned veranda, she had drawn two intersecting triangles, one upward-pointing, and the other downward-pointing. In one, god’s grace descended from heaven to earth; in the other, the soul ascended, aspiring toward god. Because of Sitamma’s faultless eye, both met in perfect harmony.

U.R. Ananthamurthy ಯು. ಆರ್. ಅನ೦ತಮೂರ್ತಿ, Bhava

In a sweet spot where utility and art intersect and harmonize, the Indian enterprise, MeMeraki, has found a niche – an exquisite niche. They make leather, wooden, and cork (yes wooden and cork) bags. I don’t exaggerate when I say that each of their creations is a unique piece of art. A piece of art that becomes a part of you because it is a part of your wardrobe that travels where you travel and brings joy to you and the people you encounter.

Yosha Gupta, the founder of MeMeraki talks about the range of materials the Me*Meraki uses and their durability:

The bags themselves are made from different materials like Cork, Wood, Fabric, Faux Leather and Leather – we experiment with many different materials. Fabric and cork bags do get wet but are ok to use after they dry up. The artwork itself is completely water-resistant as we also use many different layering techniques on the colors using different types of lacquer… I’ve gotten caught in the rain many a time with my bags and the artwork is unaffected.

We’ve heard stories of our patrons and customers who didn’t know each other but were carrying our bags and could identify each other’s bags and got talking and became friends – that is the power of art! The power of art informs all the bags from MeMeraki. 

Work/laptop totes; Round slings; Rectangle slings; Clutches for evening or day; Saddlebags; Wallets. And what a range!

Each is individually designed and painted be one of the many (I counted 28 on the website) who are part of the creative community. That community is a vital part of the enterprise providing sustainability for the artisans and the patrons. 

We work with over 100 folk and tribal artists across India – the mission of our brand is to revive the dying arts of India and create sustainable livelihoods for these artists and artisans. To support this mission we keep expanding to cover more and more different styles of traditional arts in India (across these 100 artists we currently cover 20 different styles of art, and there are more than 100 styles of art in India that need to be revived so there’s still a long way to go). We select artists based on the style of art we want to work with and then, of course, depending on how the artists work is, whether they have consistency in their work and can deliver on time as ultimately to make this scalable we have to teach them good business practices as well.

MeMeraki – so many choices! I’d like one of each, please. I know I can find just the right outfit and occasion for any of the bags. I can’t have them all? OK -for its utility, color, and size, I’d like the TREE OF LIFE YELLOW LAPTOP BAG. It’s a joyfully practical work of art that I can carry and be proud of. As well, I’ll be only too proud and happy to tell acquaintances that it’s a Me*Meraki.  You won’t find it anywhere else.

We have created our brand MeMeraki as India’s only handpainted folk art brand creating artisanal high-end handbags with the artists as the central heroes of our brand. We are at the intersection of art, fashion and technology and retail direct to customers through our website as well as through our store and many popups in Hong Kong and India and even Singapore.

We are also creating an entire ecosystem for the arts e.g. we are hosting the first Indian folk art wall mural festival Kathaa where 4 tribal artists will come to HK for the first time to paint wall mural, then another festival ‘Kalyani – about women in Indian arts’ where we have invited many performing and visual women artists from India to Hong Kong.

We also work with a number of non-profits to support their work e.g. in 2017 we ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise 15,000 USD to help create an art school for girls in Madhubani district in India.

Writing and research help from JKJ

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