Ritika Nanda, founder of Mother Gone Mad Design Studio, designs state-of-the-art decorative lighting. Read on as she goes on to discuss the shimmering story behind setting up her venture!
Q. How did the name Mother Gone Mad come up?
Well, there were a lot of saner names in the running too! But I chose to stick to this one because it captures completely, my personality. I think I’m a pretty crazy mother. I have two children (ages 8 and 10), and I happen to be someone who’d happily jump on the bed with them. It doesn’t stop there! My own mother, who is over sixty years old now, will happily jump on the bed and cycle around with the kids herself. So the nomenclature came about keeping in mind, the craziness of my mother, and motherhood in general. I’m happy I stuck to this name because it gives me license to experiment with creativity the way I’d like to. The attitude of the lights and the attitude of the designer complement each other perfectly 🙂
Q. What triggered you to start up?
I’m a NIFT graduate, specialising in jewellery design. I practiced jewellery design for a long time after college. I was very good at it and initially loved it, but soon realised that it didn’t give me the liberty to throw creativity around and experiment with wild ideas. People buying precious and semi precious jewellery always have a specific idea of what they’re looking for. And they wouldn’t want to spend lakhs of rupees on something wacky. They want something clean and beautiful which can be passed on through the generations.
So I moved away from that, and moved into my second passion which was architecture. I joined an architecture firm and got involved with restoration projects. Ultimately, I took up work at a company called Light Box which was involved in foreign trade in lighting. I visited all their fairs, and realised there was a lot of potential in this field. Floor lamps, table lamps, and other decorative lighting were all becoming part of an “art statement” in most households. So I found an opportunity there to go back to designing innovative stuff like I always wanted. That’s when I decided to go for it whole hog and not hold back.
Q. What have you learnt along the process?
When I was in design school, all I had to focus on was unleashing my thoughts and creativity to best of my possibility. But as soon as I graduated, I learned about how the entire marketing concept comes into play thereon. However, times are now changing. You don’t always have to build your products to suit only the customer. It’s good to be different. This entire project has taken me back to the idea of being wild and creative. The freedom of design was something I’d consciously forgotten while working in the jewellery business. Now I’ve decided that I will design the way I want to, even if the product fetches me two customers instead of a hundred. I don’t need to make it “acceptable.”
Q. Where were your inspiration vaults?
Initially, I roamed the colourful streets of Chandni Chowk, gazing at stoles, ribbons, and fabrics. I also went around admiring the woodcrafts and ceramics at Chor Bazaar. I picked them up not knowing what I’d do with them. All I knew was that they had the potential to inspire designs. I even made use of old pipes which the plumber had discarded, and also my kids’ broken toys. The crux is that as you burrow deep into the art of creating new things, one idea simply flows on to the next, and you end up with something great!
Q. What were the challenges you came across?
I guess the largest apprehension was the response. I always wondered if people would accept the madness of my creations. But so far, I’ve had a good feedback. Secondly, considering that this was the first time I was setting up a business, I was clueless about how pricing worked. Figuring out the marketing and accounts part of the business was pretty tough.
Also, I had to constantly remind myself to not be impatient with things. And to achieve that, I never set any time limits for myself. My only aim was perfection. I wouldn’t rest until each product was finished exactly the way I imagined it.
Q. Did your educational background help in what you’re doing now?
NIFT definitely helped. You can do this without formal training as well, but at design school they teach you the ideating process. You learn how to convert an abstract idea or a simple sketch into an elaborate design.
Q. How long have you been working on this project?
In December 2013, the project was conceived and I began with the ideating. I then started the studio in June 2014. I have plans of opening up a shop in Shahpur Jat and also creating an online store. But as of now, it’s too early to see where it goes.
Q. Were your family and friends supportive of your endeavour?
My husband is extremely encouraging. My entire family helped create a studio inside the house and were very accommodating. My kids always came up to me with new ideas for me to incorporate. I also have an aunt who works in the media. She and my friends from NIFT have been my bounce-back as far as ideating is concerned.
Q. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I feel my venture will do well. It’s got to do with the atmosphere my work creates. The youngsters especially are very appreciative of offbeat and eccentric furniture. I will definitely sell my products online, and if everything goes the way I planned, I’ll consider opening up a shop too.
To know more about MGM Design Studio, check out their Facebook page!