In My Experience…. Devina Dalmia, Founder and Creative Head,
*Devina Dalmia started Le Jahaan after seeing the thoughtful and intricate packaging methods in Japan.
*Seeing that there was a gap for luxurious packaging in the country, she decided to give it a shot and started the brand in 2012.
*Another reason for creating the bespoke brand was that gift boxes and materials imported are not that great as most of the time they do not match with the design required.
*These ornate boxes can be reused in many other ways, for storage or as a table piece.
*As part of the ongoing efforts to encourage sustainability, her brand has adopted several measures to reduce wastage and conserve water.
*Devina Dalmia is a stickler for quality and design which shows in the designs of the many handmade boxes her brand creates.
*Advises budding entrepreneurs to stick to what they’re passionate about and not give up.
The process of gifting, for a lot of us, especially in India which has a number of festivals, is a carefully thought out and elaborate process, right from choosing the right gift till presenting it. A lot of thought goes into each present but an important aspect is often overlooked: the wrapping. Luxurious packaging enhances the look and value of the present while both intriguing and delighting the recipient.
Bespoke luxury packaging has a lot of market potential as there are not many brands that do that, which is what Devina Dalmia leveraged when she started Le Jahaan in 2012. The Delhi-based company specialises in creating bespoke luxurious gift boxes to make presents much more unique. In this interview, she speaks about her journey, her brand’s unique nomenclature and a few tips for future entrepreneurs.
Q: Can you take us through your journey of launching the bespoke luxury packaging brand - Le Jahaan.
A: The reason I started Le Jahaan is that I didn’t find anything like that in the market.
On a trip to Japan, I was blown-away by the process of packaging I saw there. I just wanted the boxes and the wrapping paper, and not what was inside them! The process of making them was so intriguing but when I returned home, I was devastated as there was nothing like that here. I saw there was a gap in the market for packaging so why don’t I fill it up.
I think I was the first mover in this area in the country. At that time, people would import a lot of these things. When we talk about importing, the problem of making things bespoke arises, especially when you have to explain your design aesthetic.
That’s how Le Jahaan was started. We had two workers and one manager. Now, we have 25 full-time employees, five back-end employees and we hire seasonal labour during peak season.
Q: The brand name is intriguing. What was the thought process behind it?
A: The name Le Jahaan is multi-faceted like the brand. ‘Le’ in French means ‘the’ and ‘Jahaan’ from Urdu means ‘the world’. I sort of mixed cultures and ideas, and that’s what I wanted to bring to the brand. I wanted to bring the world to the brand and make the brand a part of the world.
Q: The brand originated understanding a gap in the Indian market. Was it a challenge to develop and educate the consumers about the value of high-end thoughtful packaging?
A: It was a big challenge. I was the first person to try something like this in the country and at that time, nobody understood why anyone should pay so much for a box. People didn’t know why it was so expensive. A lot of them said that they’d rather make do with cardboard or paper.
From the start, I wanted to make the product the star and it took a lot of effort to educate people because they, firstly, did not have an idea of what it was and secondly, they couldn’t fathom why it was so expensive. Over the years, I think, we’ve grown from strength to strength and we’ve become a brand people can understand.
Q: What are the three things that are essential for a brand to truly be considered a luxury?
A: First and foremost comes quality.
Next, I would say design and then finally functionality.
I remember we had made a carry box that once opened, acted as a coffee pour-over. It could also be used for storage and as a table or counter accoutrement.
Q: Le Jahaan also promotes a sustainable culture — can you shed some light on this?
A: We’ve been sustainable from the start. The boxes can be reused for storing things. For the past year-and-a-half, we’ve really been teaching the workers about sustainability wherein we minimise waste. We’ve also reduced several steps in the production process of several products that are harming the environment. We’re using less water. Hopefully, we’ll get more sustainable raw materials. Paper and cardboard do not last long but wood does. Wood is ultimately organic whereas plastic isn’t.
Q: What is that one piece of advice you would give a budding entrepreneur wanting to leave an indelible mark on the Luxury industry?
A: If you’re passionate about something, stick with it because it won’t be easy in the beginning. But don’t be afraid. It’s just that people give up when things don’t go as planned.
Le Jahaan has earned many regular customers across the world and also makes products for third party retailers such as Ogaan and The House of Things. Gift-giving has become a much more thoughtful and elegant affair thanks to this brand which will only conquer new frontiers in future.
Watch the full interview with Devina by clicking here.