9 Creative Companies From Delhi You'd Want To Work At - Homegrown

9 Creative Companies From Delhi You'd Want To Work At

The capital is no stranger to the crafting of conquests and plotting of grand plans; today, it has morphed into a cradle of entrepreneurship, home to creative companies that shrug off conventions to pave their own paths, however long and winding they might be.

Ranging from design studios, to street art movements, to curated holidays which are pet-friendly, these guys will offer you experiences you never even knew you wanted.

Read on to know the creative companies that have our curiosity piqued:

I. Studio Wood: Young, Restless and Driven

Co-founders of Studio Wood Navya Aggarwal, Vrinda Mathur and Sahej Bhatia, all in their mid-twenties, came together in the summer of 2014 to create the design studio. It was when Vrinda came up with the idea to re-design and re-love old existing structures that were available, that the trio found their calling in the craft of furniture design.

“With no education or hands-on experience in woodworking, our design process started by observing and learning on an everyday basis in the company of skilled karigars, at a furniture manufacturing atelier in the urban village of Kishangarh, New Delhi,” explains Navya. “Furniture design came to us as a complete surprise, and a great one, at that. Now, two summers later, we couldn’t be happier. What started off as a mini-project between a group of friends, turned into a potential business overnight.”

In the last two and a half years, the trio has worked with top brands the likes of Asian Paints, Truly Madly, TI Cycles of India and Wingify Software, to name a few, through their space design vertical. With furniture design, they’ve launched three collections so far, with the last one being showcased at the India Design fair organised by Elle Décor and Asian Paints. ‘When we look back at our journey, it’s overwhelming to see how far we have come.”

On what makes their company special

“With varied expertise in the team, ranging from an architect (Sahej Bhatia), to a furniture designer (Vrinda Mathur) and interior designer (that’s me), we bring together a great mix of good design enveloped with precise execution and an enhanced thought process. Together, our outlook towards design is not an individual’s point of view, but a collective one, which is the key to good design. Moreover, this mix helps us grow as individuals, both in the professional and personal spheres.”

The Backdrop

Navya worked with a renowned interior designing firm right after college; after her 6-month stint at the 9-to-5 job, she started freelancing as an interior designer. This was when she and Sahej (who worked in an architectural firm) were approached by Vrinda (with a renowned lighting design firm in New Delhi) to discuss Studio Wood. “I can safely say, for all three of us, our professional history has mainly been Studio Wood,” Navya says. “We all ventured into different fields of design after graduating from our respective courses.”

On other interests

“Since good design has no barriers, all forms of design — graphics, lighting and architecture are all things I enjoy reading up about. Something not related to Studio Wood would surely be dance (our parties have a busy dance floor). Having learnt Kathak in my early years, the beats and dance moves is something I can never unlearn!”

On the most important lesson they’ve learned while running the company

“Patience — waiting to get a call back from a prospect, training your colleagues, listening to excuses from vendors, or even knowing it’ll work out eventually; all these situations need one common trait to be able to handle. This is something we have learnt with each passing day. Initially, we knew little of how to deal with people and their expectations, but with two and a half years (and counting) of Studio Wood, we have learnt to keep calm, and then resolve the issue.”

On a typical day in the office

“Our routine usually differs each day. But all mornings start with replies to emails that are received in the wee hours of the morning. Then, the day goes by on Delhi roads, travelling for meetings, site visits, sourcing. The time we spend at our studio is when the design and brainstorming happens! But even with this busy schedule, we find time to eat lunch together or share a cup of tea/coffee with our team to plan our monthly sundowners for freaky Fridays.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“We are all foodies, and Café Connect is our one-stop shop, because of the variety they have to offer. Our standard order is a 5pm call for Makhni Maggie (my mouth is already watering).”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in your office

“No snack, good or bad, lasts more than a week. Our snacks keep changing every now and then. The current choice is Papad, which has become an indispensible item during lunch hours.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“Our mascot has always been a chair. Since we started our journey with re-loving chair structures, and learnt the maximum about furniture design from some successful, and a few failed, chair designs. It’s only fair we give it the credit it deserves! In fact, we recently started working on a campaign in collaboration with our artist friends to interpret our logo (the chair) in their own styles, and the results have been amazing. Follow #youforus for more updates!”

[Follow Studio Wood on Facebook, Instagram]


II. CollarFolk: Friendly, Trustworthy, Pet-Lovers

It was when 32-year-old Rukmini Vaish and her husband adopted their golden retriever Kiki that they hit upon a realisation — whether it was coffee or dinner or a holiday they wanted to set out on together as a little family, it was always a challenge with Kiki in tow.

“We then looked outwards and realized that it wasn’t only us, there is an increasing humanization of pets today,” she says. “We no longer call ourselves pet-owners, we are pet parents! Given this context, and the fact that India is not as pet-friendly as some of the western nations, there is a huge opportunity to provide credible information and curated experiences that can be enjoyed by the entire family, including one’s pet.”

And so they set off to build Collar Folk; year one has been all about pet-friendly holidays, and they intend to build on that and go on to add more verticals that add value to their target audience, fellow pet parents.

On what makes their company special

“Our company is built on one single ethos: #takemealong.”

The Backdrop

Rukmini has worked for eight years with some of the big corporates across sales, marketing and specialized in branding. With an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad, she started her professional career in sales at Vodafone, and went on to work with AkzoNobel (Dulux Paints), where she was part of the product team and, subsequently, the brands team. She quit her job in Feb, 2015, and started working towards building CollarFolk; with their website going live in Feb, 2016.

On other interests

“I obviously love dogs, all animals and wildlife, in general! I have also been a national-level basketball player, and also used to play the violin back in the day.”

On the most important lesson she’s learned while running the company

“Well, the most important lesson can be summarised with this dialogue from the film ‘Dear Zindagi’, “A genius is not someone who has all the answers, but is someone who has the patience to find answers to every question.” Two years of running CollarFolk has taught me this, and Shah Rukh Khan helped me articulate it!”

On a typical day in office

“We have a pet-friendly office, so we have lots of cuddle sessions everyday! Besides that, we spend time travelling, to add new experiences, and we speak to customers to figure out our strengths as well as work on the areas tht need improvement. Our events team is busy planning group holidays; in fact, we are planning Asia’s first triathlon with pets at Rishikesh in March. Apart from all this fun stuff, we also closely watch lead indicators, and make improvements everyday.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“FreshMenu; we have this moment every morning, where some asks what’s on their menu that day.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Chai and biscuits from Chaayo’s (these guys should pay us for this free advertising!)”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“Kiki is our brand mascot! She tweets and quips on Twitter and Facebook regularly, she is also the model designate for all our photoshoots. All new experiences are vetted by her before we start promoting them.”

[Follow CollarFolk on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.]


III. ILM (I Love Music) Academy: Play Produce, Perform

35-year-old Nakul Vagale entered the music and entertainment business after five years working in hospitality and management; he has now been running one of India’s best-known electronic music schools, for the past 9 years.

Nakul wanted to strike out on his own, and with some help from his mother, who he describes as ‘an angel’, he linked up with a DJ friend of his who wanted to start a new project at the same time; together, they conceptualised the founding of an event and sound equipment rental company.

“I’ve realised that I’m good at interacting with people, and that I enjoy having organizational and management control,” Nakul reflects. “I always had the ambition to be self-made and self-employed. The company soon transformed into a DJ school, based on the need for skilled entertainers, which eventually morphed into the electronic music school it is currently.”

Today, he runs the ILM Academy with his brother Arjun, who he says is his backbone and support. “We make a wonderful team, and he has stood by me throughout my journey. It hasn’t been easy, but I sure am proud of what we’ve achieved and what we’ve been able to contribute to the field of music education. I Love Music Academy is India’s go-to music institution for electronic music production and performance, and it’s one of the leading electronic schools in the region.”

On what makes his company special

“Our team’s vision is to deliver quality music education in India at par with international standards, at a reasonable price. Our success in doing so comes down to our faculty members, who are passionate about sharing their knowledge, as much as they are about music itself.”

The Backdrop

A hotel management graduate from WGSHA, Manipal, Nakul started his career with work experience at hotels including Grand Hyatt, Adarsh, ITC and Shangri-la. He went on to work with his father as a hospitality consultant, and after gaining enough exposure in management and learning about business and finance, he decided to venture out on his own.

From a young entrepreneur who started from scratch, to running one of India’s best-known electronic music schools, he summarises the journey, “Dedication, hard work, motivation and a great support system, were the driving forces that helped me move forward.”

On other interests

“I always strive to better myself and increase my knowledge on various topics, as I have varied interests. Apart from work, my hobbies include playing the drums. I enjoyed music as a child, though never in my wildest dreams did I think I would run a music school! My brother Arjun Vagale always encouraged me to pursue my passion to play drums, which I still love doing. I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, and cooking is one of my passions. I like to grow my own vegetables — farming is a future ambition. Other interests are cartooning and doodling.”

On the most important lesson he’s learned while running the company

“Always keep learning: the more you learn, the more you grow. Also, always put family first. We encourage our team to always prioritize their families. My team and the core members of my organization are my biggest strengths.”

On a typical day in office

“Laptops, lots of music, work, and fun with the occasional bunch of youngsters with their minds being blown.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“Binge at Qutub Plaza, and plenty of tea from Chaayo’s.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Samosas and Crax.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“One of the most widely-used tools for producers and performers — the knob, otherwise known as a dial. This is the visual stamp of I Love Music and part of our logo.

[Follow ILM Academy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Youtube.]

IV. St+art India: Contemporary, innovative and ambitious.

St+art India is an art movement that has been consistently working since 2014 towards embedding art within public spaces in a democratic, free and open manner, for everyone; the non-profit organisation has held six wildly festivals across the country so far.

2016 has been the organisation’s biggest year so far, with St+art Delhi 2016 seeing ‘The Lodhi Art District’ and ‘WIP: The Street Art Show’, involving over 29 international and Indian artists, who created India’s first public art district, and working with more than 100 containers to create a walk-through installation in Tughlakabad, ICD (the largest dry port in Asia). This edition of St+art Festival highlighted the importance of community through art, while offering a fresh perspective on re-designing urban spaces.

Their fifth festival, which took place in Bangalore, explored the forms of impact which public art can generate. Working in collaboration with BMRCL, the Metro stations of Cubbon Park, MG Road and Majestic saw artworks built on narratives and stories from the region. The most recent, St+art Hyderabad, 2016, had work centred on MS Maqtha, on necklace road, and it sought to create awareness and encourage appreciation towards making our public spaces more interactive for the masses, while also reinvigorating neglected parts of a city through art by some of the best local and international artists.

On other interests

“Art, design, interesting public spaces and independent cultures; fresh, cutting-edge contemporary artists, and old monk.”

The Backdrop

About three years ago, people from very different backgrounds — but with a similar sort of exhaustion from the contemporary art scene of the white cube gallery format, and the exclusive nature of art — started out with a common goal in mind: that of bringing art out of that gallery space, and straight to the streets, to a wider audience.

St+art Delhi 2014 marked the beginning of the journey, with the main focus being the dynamics of Shahpur Jat, and exploring them; a unique urban village, it is a densely-populated community found almost hidden between two extremely posh localities. This festival also saw what is widely regarded as India’s tallest mural: a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Police headquarter at ITO — the first sort of cultural engagement between the government and art.

Their next project was in Mumbai, exploring differents facets of the city; from the run-down facades of Dharavi, the winding lanes and empty walls of Pali Village in suburban Bandra, to an installation at one of the most iconic spots of the city, the Jindal Mansion on Pedder road.

“Another highlight of this project was the mural of DS Phalke on the MTNL building, created using 800 litres of paint and at 120 x 150 feet, being the largest mural in India,” the co-founders tell us. “St+art Delhi 2015 was involved in a lot of independent projects spread out all over town (Tihar Jail, HKV and Sheikh Sarai, to name a few) with the central focus being that of working with the night shelters set up for the homeless across the city. We engaged with several artists; one of thesewas Olek, the world-famous crochet installation artist from Poland, who covered an entire family night shelter with a beautiful crochet installation taking over three weeks, and involving over 60 people.”

On what makes the company special

“You tell us.

On the most important lesson learned while running the company

“Passion will get you far, funding will get you to the end.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“Dhaba lyf.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in your office

“Samosa.”

On a typical day in office

“Depends on where the office is — during the festivals, it’s all about scaffs, cranes, paint and sunshine; otherwise, it’s sunshine (the winter afternoon kinds), excessive coffee and the aforementioned samosas.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“Brian from Family Guy.”

[Follow St+art India on Facebook & Instagram]


V. Dameriino: Never stop experimenting.

28-year-old Abhishek Sharma and 26-year-old Pranav Sawhney launched Dameriino, ‘a labour of love for the artistry of handmade leather footwear’, towards the end of 2014 with the sole mission of dressing men in fashionable shoes, at prices that were not exorbitant.

“The reason behind starting Dameriino was simple,” the co-founders say. “No one was making the kind of designs and quality we wanted to buy, in the price range we could afford — so we decided to start doing it ourselves!”

On what makes their company special

“It’s exclusivity, offered at not-exorbitant prices.”

The Backdrop

“There’s next to no professional history I have,” Abhishek Sharma says. “Through the years, since my engineering degree, it’s been all about the hustle to create something of my own.”

Pranav Sawhney says, “I’ve had a bit of an all-over-the-place professional career history — I started off in corporate communications, working with Microsoft for a couple of years, followed by hospitality marketing as Culture Manager at Social, and it all came together when Dameriino happened.”

While Abhishek enjoys fashion, golf and music, Pranav is interested in pre-independence Indian literature, music and is currently obsessed with Urdu.

On the most important lesson learned while running the company

“Work with people who share the same vision and passion as you do!”

On a typical day in office

“We don’t currently have an office. Free Wi-Fi, great coffee and potent sangrias are what determine our office for the day.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“Wherever we’re working out of.”

On one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Snack? Let’s talk sangria!”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“A pair of leather sneakers (Tranquillo by Dameriino), wearing headphones.”

[Follow Dameriino on Facebook; and buy their work from here & here]

VI. Beam and Words: Committed, dynamic and eager.

Beam and Words was born four years ago, beginning with a focus on three things as a firm: public relations, digital media marketing and graphic design, and it now offers more integrated communication solutions across platforms.

Co-founder 29-year-old Sahil Marwaha knew he wanted to start ‘something’, but confesses didn’t have the courage to do it alone. “I wanted to start something that hears you, understands your needs, and gives you a realistic picture on ‘how and what’ it can deliver to address those needs,” he elaborates. “An idea and vision that I commonly shared with my friends (and co-founders) – Abhinav & Arjun. After multiple meetings at cafes and homes, we decided that this is it; we decided to start a communication consultancy together.”

Over the years, the team has grown both in learning and in size, and they have honed their expertise in the lifestyle sector. “We’ve become a lot more confident but our vision is still the same – work for the brands we love and show some good results,” Sahil summarises.

On what makes the company special

“We, as a team, feel for everyone we work for, and try our best to give them a voice, so they are heard.”

The Backdrop

Sahil started off with a short stint at Risk Management, and the monotony made him realise pretty quickly that it wasn’t meant for him. Soon after, he joined a boutique PR firm in Delhi, and a personal and professional turnaround took place here, as he learned how to handle people and work.

“The idea of investing my efforts to start something myself (eventually with co-founders of Beam & Words – Abhinav and Arjun) came through when I realised I couldn’t work for anyone anymore, and it was the right time to use my skill sets (everything I learned from my mentors) and take that risk.”

On other interests

“Discovering – everything, mostly places. Learning and absorbing – from the people I know, or read about; I’m currently reading ‘Open’ by Andre Agassi. Hustling on the basketball court, and at the gym.”

On the most important lesson they’ve learned while running the company

“Take care of the team you work with, they are the true pillars of our firm.”

On a typical day in office

“The day begins at 10am (11am, for some), with catching up on emails, reports and the news. Short, internal accounts meetings to plan work are followed by everyone spending time doing their own things. All of us sit together in the same hall; so ideas, work and food are all shared under the same ceiling. All of us deal with our clients directly; the PR team is creating stories and pitching them, while making sure our online content is engaging is what the social media marketing team is up to. The design team (the quietest of the lot) is busy churning out everything visually appealing. There are a lot of coffee and tea breaks, thanks to our neighbours – Blue Tokai and Jugmug Thela.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“Salad Days for healthy food, and Speedy Chow, for food that’s not-so-healthy.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Pizza.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“It has to be Scooby Doo. We love dogs at work.”

[Follow Beam and Words on Facebook & Instagram]

VII. Doodlage: Young, Ethical and Innovative.

28-year-old Kriti Tula noticed at one of her first internships at an export house just how much wastage was produced during garment manufacturing, most of it being good-quality fabric, which was discarded due to overproduction, or minor differences in colour or print.

“It was this thought that stayed at the back of my head and influenced a lot of my work even as a student,” the founder says. “It was natural that my own clothing line be based on the same idea; since its inception, Doodlage has been recognised as a forerunner of sustainable fashion in India, and the first to make upcycled garments at a large scale.”

The company won the Gen Next Award in 2015, and was awarded at Green Wardrobe Week, Grazia Young Fashion Awards and Elle Graduates. This season, they plan to diversify from just Womenswear, to Menswear and Home Furnishings as well.

On what makes her company special

“I believe it is the work we do, and the material we work with — instead of creating new fabric, we use whatever is already available, and wasted, in the ecosystem.”

The Backdrop

After completing her undergrad in Fashion Design from Pearl Academy, Kriti worked as a Designer at Nandita Basu, and briefly taught and worked to build the fashion styling department at Pearl Academy. She attended London College of Fashion for her Master’s degree, and started working at Shopcade (UK), which she is currently the country manager of India for.

On other interests

“I really enjoy travelling and try to do is as often and for as long as possible. The second thing is also travelling-related, in a way — I love going to different places and exploring the crafts and culture of its clusters. Lastly, I enjoy physical activities; running, cycling, gymming — I would swim all day if I could!”

On the most important lesson she’s learned while running the company

“That creating a good product is just a quarter of the battle. There is a whole iceberg of communicating, packaging, taxation, certification of a product, to create a good brand. Of course, we knew about this while we were ideating about the brand, but it gets very real when you actually get into the market.”

On a typical day in office

“Office starts at 9:30am; the first and last few hours are spent on the production floor, monitoring the pieces being produced. A lot of time goes into putting together each piece from the material that is available with us in the studio. In between, we work on new developments, samples and research for newer collections.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“Rose cafe. cute li’l cafe in Saidullajab, near Saket. It’s our go-to cafe for all meetings big and small, as well as occasional brainstorming sessions.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Chapatta Masala, Crax!”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“Dave - Minion (if Universal Studios allow!)”

[Follow Doodlage on Facebook & Instagram]

VIII. Anomaly: Ahead of time.

33-year-old Medha Khosla had been working for corporate fashion brands for years, and always struggled to dress for work. She felt it had been a constant challenge to find quality, dailywear at an affordable price, and she yearned for a closet replete with easy-to-wear essentials, that she could wear all day, and into the night.

“I started exploring the Indian market, soon realizing that there was a need for well-made, affordable, easy-to-wear separates that women could wear from day to evening, and the rest is history,” she recalls, for us. “I am happy to say Anomaly has become the go-to workwear and everyday brand for our customers. We have return buyers who appreciate our attention to detail, high-quality finishing, and classic silhouettes. We’re looking forward to growing our customer base and reaching more people at home, and across the world.”

On what makes her company special

“Our passion for simple design, keen attention to detail, and listening to our customers.”

The Backdrop

“I moved to New York in 2001 from Delhi for my Bachelor’s in Fashion, at Pratt Institute,” she says. “After a four-year degree, I began working in the fashion industry, starting at DKNY and went on to work for a number of department store and contemporary fashion brands in New York.”

After having worked as a designer and technical designer for ten years, Medha decided to move back to Delhi and start her own clothing brand.

On other interests

“Travel, textiles, and reading.”

On the most important lesson she’s learned while running the company

“The importance of effective communication, and time management.”

On a typical day in office

“Emails, phone calls, working with our masterji and karigars, brainstorming with my team, and meetings.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“We don’t have many lunch spots around, so everyone mostly brings their lunch to work.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Fruits. We’re a healthy bunch!”

[Follow Anomaly on Facebook.]

IX. Animal: What company? Oh.

Brought together by the realisation of the lack of creative control and good working ethics that exist in the industry, 29-year-old Sharon Borgoyary and 33-year-old Kunel Gaur started putting many nights (and most weekends) into their own passion projects. It was the diversity of ideas and effort put into those projects, that paved the way for brands and startups to initiate conversations with them.

“As of now, we’re working on some tech-related design projects — making our own apps, creating rapid prototypes using 3D printing, and experimenting with VR. That is the plan going forward. We’re gradually moving towards experiential work that moves from merely talking about ideas, to creating worlds around them, by making tech invisible (yet consequential) to design.”

On what makes their company special

“We’re a bunch of intelligent perverts. We think. We do.”

The Backdrop

Prior to forming Animal, Kunel and Sharon worked with creative teams at agencies like Ogilvy, JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi, Cheil Worldwide and Wieden + Kennedy, working through areas like advertising, films, graphic design, illustration, social media and online. In 2013, they decided to combine forces and go solo.

On other interests

The list is long. “Art, Future, Coffee, Winters, Mars, Elon Musk, Sex, Space cats, Flume, Netflix, Barack Obama, Pink, Rony Abovitz, Oil slick, More coffee, Daft Punk, Light leak, Vampires, After-life, Love, Colours, Hoverboard, UFOs and other such.”

On the most important lesson they’ve learned while running the company

“Perseverance. Insomnia. And that Red Bull does give you wings.”

On a typical day in office

“Last-minute brilliant thoughts, ideas that are hard to execute, and lots of caffeine-fuelled discussions.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“Berco’s Saket: 011-33106559. The reason why we mostly only manage to break even.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in your office

“Fruits mostly. And cakes. And Chinese. Lots of Chinese. So much Chinese. Mmmm, Chinese.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“A woolly rhinoceros. Fierce, with a straightforward vision, immune to majority of attacks and cuddly. Also, they’re horny.”

[Follow Animal on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat]


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