My obsession with saree is just growing. I can’t even explain it to you how much is there to learn about the different types of Sarees that we get in the market. Now that I have been collaborating with different brands and understanding the different types of sarees especially the Handlooms, I am loaded with knowledge regarding the same. I support women entrepreneurs and try to reach out to them as much as I can. While I was making the Durga Puja Lookbook I got in touch with so many of them. I was overwhelmed to cross paths with such strong, independent women. If I remember correctly Manjari sent a dm to me over Instagram and within a few days, we connected. We immediately clicked when we spoke to each other and I could not waste a single moment to get my hands on one of her beautiful creations. A red and white saree with embroidered pink Durga. Trust me when I say this, it was love at first sight. A lot of people told me that I’d looked fabulous but I really felt it from within that the saree did make me feel fabulous.
My obsession increased and I got myself another beautiful linen in blue and silver with embroidered butterflies on it and another, a Bhujodi saree.
Recently they are introducing an experimental line of sarees showcasing the works and designs of the modern Indian artists. Threads of Jari is also promising the best of quality at an affordable scale.
Here is a little chit chat with Manjari Mukherjee for all of you to get to know her personally and the brand she has created Threads of Jari.
Tells me something about you. Your life, career, family etc (The face behind the brand.)
If I have to start, I would pay homage to where it all began – Birbhum, that red soiled, rustic district of W. Bengal where I and my forefathers belong. My alumni – Joy Bhattacharjya, once made a numerical observation that there are 4 famous sons of Birbhum. Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Pranab Mukherjee, Amartya Sen and Allaudin Khilji. It may be hazardous to health to comment on Khilji Saheb, but I can claim the rest. Ex-President is from the neighbouring village from our Bolpur. Bonita Deb Sen, the Nobel laureate’s wife taught me comparative literature and finally Bengali novelist Tarashankar Bandhopadhyay is my great uncle. But what beckons me is the bucolic soil of Birbhum, colours of Shantiniketan, Poush Mela, the intricate designs of Kantha stitch sarees, colourful leathercrafts, fabulous handloom, village weavers, tribal dances, earthy smell of the land & the lingering aura of Rabindranath Tagore.
Basically, how did your brand come into existence?
At every puja I spent with my grandmother Birbhum, I met writers, poets, artists and artisans. For every poem, there was also a talk about a new weaver of Kantha & his work. For every short story discussed, grandma also had a tale of a new batik saree that she got. Or some tribal jewellery that some Santhal tribal had brought for her. And somewhere in that cauldron of experiences, ManJARI seeded the “Threads of Jari”.
How did you start this as a business?
I’m a 100% conventional housewife, for whom the business was the last thought to have. I believe all people are creative and so am I. And as my son grew up, I had more time in my hands to channelize my creativity. With my roots in Bolpur, I always had connections with the weavers and collectives that mushroom that place. I felt that by marrying my sense of aesthetics to the complex sourcing of sarees directly from the artisans would be a fulfilling business venture that met my creative urges with a social business purpose.
What are your plans for the future?
I started initially by curating sarees. I met more than 100 people, who either direct weavers in the villages or the intermediaries and must have seen hundreds of sarees to showcase only those that I felt reflect my sense of “art”. As I have grown in this field, now I have also ventured my own designs with my weaver partner network. I’m also experimenting on a line of sarees which showcases work of modern Indian artists in the sarees. Similarly, I have found that just like Birbhum, India has a rich tradition of having fertile pockets of textile and saree handlooms. Be that be Dharmvaram in Andhra Pradesh or Bhujodi in Kutch. My future collections will showcase these styles too
What lead you into this?
I’ve worked with so many people who actually make sarees, rather than just trade and I have realized the not only I but also my weaver partners have so much potential that has not been explored. The creative urge is always very kinetic. Today it has us in this direction and will point to another tomorrow and again somewhere else the day after.
What is your speciality? Kantha sarees on silk and Linen works with exquisite designs.
Your customers base and achievements so far from the time you have started! We have met our goals in the last 18 months.
Variety of products that you keep and price range as follows. Kantha Silk: From Rs 8000 – 12000, Linen: Rs 4000-8000, Cotton designer work: Rs 5000- 8000, Cotton sarees: Rs 1500 – Rs 3500.