Indya Kaleidoscope Store

Meet Preethi Prabhu, an engineer-MBA grad, ex-IT pro, design blogger, who has found her calling. A venture which will work with crafts people who need the income the most and help them earn a livelihood. Meet, the Indya Kaleidoscope store.

Indya Kaleidoscope store entrance

front room

I have followed her blog for a while now, and was delighted to see the passion for crafts find an avenue through this store. This post is best written in her own words (if you see me, I’ll be in italics). 

Preethi: I researched Indian handicrafts for about two years and decided this is the space in which I wanted to do something. There are so many crafts people who need an income and are hard pressed for it. They just need someone to work with them, either give them product ideas and design, or source their products and take them to market.  So I source mainly from artisans, NGOs, self help groups and other organizations working to preserve arts and crafts.

Photo frames from craftspersons in Banaras. They used to be ivory carvers by tradition, but now they have moved to carving wood. They are in dire economic circumstances so I have sourced a number of small and large frames from them.

frames from Orissa

Each little animal or figurine around the perimeter of the frame is first carved in wood, painted and then fixed. (Pic credit: Preethi Prabhu)

frame close up

The Rajashthani pottery technique in jewel or masala boxes. The colourful boxes below are made of wood and painted by an artist who can paint on anything!

rajasthani ceramic jewel boxes

The black pottery is sourced from Manipur. I used to travel quite a bit in my pervious job. I still do, to meet the craftspeople and it gives me a sense of involvement when I meet and talk to them and see where they need assistance.

black pottery from Assam

The painted belans are my favourite :).


When I buy vintage pieces, or old heirlooms, I try to get as much background info as possible about them. When we restore and resell we would like these to be in the homes of people who understand the history and know what they are worth. This room in the store is dedicated to used things. We will have old, used products here, antiques and some vintage pieces…

mats and old furniture

This medallion (in the center) was issued in 1918 to soldiers who fought in the first world war. I was so excited when I found it, but was also left wondering who may have given a family artifact like this away.


Wood bangles from Channapatna, ceramics from Rajasthan and vintage wood furniture.

wood bangles

Pottery from Pondicherry, just unpacked!

pondicherry pottery

This moda (seat) is made of cotton and cotton fabric for a cover. (It is so colourful and doesn’t get crushed when you sit on it!)


If you look at the prices, many of the products are priced lower than what you will find in curio shops and most antique stores. I price them this way to make handicrafts affordable, and so that people become aware of pricing. One does not need huge profit margins to keep a venture like this sustainable.


I have been asked by folk who think the prices are quite low, why I don’t increase them. If I did, it would be like any other business venture, driven by profits and little else. I might as well have continued with my corporate job in that case. I want to create a meaningful model for myself and the people IK will work with. A beautiful stand with a mirror.

mirror stand

After paying a fair price for the products, if there is money left over between my budget and the marginal profit, then I plan to accumulate those savings and put it back into the community, for community projects, training, etc.

corner stand

To complete the picture of a beautiful home, we have lots of green too, in the mini nursery.


I am hoping to start a few community projects as well. These kambhas from Daily Dump are meant to source waste from the houses on this street where IK is. Once the composting is done, one bag of compost will go back to each house where the waste comes from. They just have to use the kambhas regularly here at the store and we all get rich compost. Some of them are open to the idea, which is great!

Here is Preethi, in her lovely office. Someone who, at the end of an hour and half, inspired me so much! She works with RAPID (Rehabilitative Assistance for People in Distress) and the people who help at the store come from this org. 


 As I prepare to leave, there is a surprise guest. No wonder, for this house (it is more than a store) is everything warm and friendly :).

surprise guest

She was quite upset about something and refused to leave, looking kinda irritated, from left to right. I was near the staircase leading up to the terrace and tarried there awhile (!) to give the bovine creature some time to contemplate leaving. Gave me time to observe the lovely flowering tree just outside IK <grin>!tree

Product prices range from as low as Rs.50 to a few thousand for the larger pieces of furniture. So do visit, and make a difference. IK is located at:

12th A Main, 4th Cross, Koramangala 4th Block, Bangalore, India 560034.
Web store (you can order products online):

Yellow Button Store, continued

Did the first post on this lovely store leave you wanting more? Here goes, then :). I continue to talk to Madhavi, who’s baby this store is. When I ask her what makes her tick and what her greatest motivations are, she says, “My biggest motivations are my two little girls. The day I started the store 10 months ago, my younger one turned 6 months! I wanted to be a stay at home mum as well as a working mum. To have a little store Yellow Button was always a dream! The fact that I had zero retail experience didn’t deter me from starting something on my own that I knew I could be great at! (Now I get my girls to the store whenever I can and my older one (5 years) will help with sticking the labels, arranging earrings or stay busy with her own art work!)”. Is that sweet or what?

Says Madhavi, “Picking products is the most fun part of my job.” I can understand that, picking up products for a store like this would be my dream job!  “It is also the toughest”, she says, “because I have to make sure they are different and they are unique and they stand out and also appealing to a larger audience. I want to have good quality products and be associated with artists/designers who not only make great products but are also nice people. I try to select products and promote products that are original work.”


It is a fun collection! And a lot of it is sourced from NGOs that Madhavi works with. Something close to my heart as well. Says Madhavi, “My interest in NGO’s started when I did a project on a women’s self-help group in Tamil Nadu when I was in college. During grad school I interned at the United Nations in NYC. I always thought I’ll continue in the development field, but got sucked into the corporate world and moved to a boutique investment firm after graduating from an MBA in finance (where I worked for more than 6 years). When I started the store, I knew for sure I wanted do a mix of products that were handmade and handcrafted by NGO’s as well a space where I could promote upcoming designers. Our shelf space is limited at the store, so as much as I would love to stock so many more products made by those talented crafts people out there, I will have to do in turns!”

What I also loved was that Madhavi has used old furniture and other objects, repurposed them to make either functional or plain beautiful accessories around the store. Like this old sewing machine stand which is now a table showing off bedspreads.

an old repurposed table

And this fan which, with its bright colours, completely livens up a space!

yellow fan

And this refurbished vintage chest which now displays the lovely collection of jewellery.


The store stocks plenty of recycled and upcycled products as well! Leaving you with one more glimpse of the store.

store 6

The Yellow Button store on Facebook | The website | Mail

080 25262108 / 91 9741511733

House # 787, 12th Main, 1st Cross ,Near Sony Center, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore, India 560038

Happy shopping!

Yellow Button Store

A story in two parts, simply because I don’t want to keep any of the gorgeous pics all to myself, and have to share them with you :).

Sunshine, and all the colours of the rainbow, with a good dose of yellow! That’s the Yellow Button store for you. A charming little store that is a craft and design enthusiast’s haven. Don’t let the ‘little’ deceive you though. The store’s stock packs a punch that is a bit hard to recover from! Am not just saying this because I fell in love with most, no, let’s say all the products that Madhavi has put together with great personal care. It’s because you will too.

The store is located just behind 100 feet Road’s bustle in Indiranagar. But climb up an inviting level, enticing you with a Mediterranean blue and the world changes.

yellow button store entrance

store entrance

Into a riot of colour.

store 1

Indian motifs lend themselves so beautifully to colour and Yellow Button counts on just this to make this a cheerful, fun place to discover.

Madhavi Rongala-Pavuluri, who set up the store about a year ago, believes in handpicking the merchandise that find their way to the shelves here. Her sense of aesthetics and design is what makes the store.

store 3

A mom of two little girls, Madhavi is one enthusiastic person who loves form and colour. When she moved back here to Bangalore from the US this is just what she planned to do, bring the love to life. And the store is pretty much a culmination of the things that she is interested in. Creating a platform for artists, designers and working with NGOs to source products that are helping people earn a livelihood.

Traditional Indian techniques like fiber and fabric weaving, painting, and pottery are seeing a revolution in expression today. Like this traditional Chettinad weave technique which is  used brilliantly here in baskets and trays.

chettinad weave tray

store 4

The store is quite full of products like these. here are some more. Mosaic art on bottles, coasters and trays…


Apart from the products themselves, it is a well designed store. Love the way shelves and pegs and stands come together. Especially this attic space with the clear and midnight blue gola bottles, almost a sculptural form in itself.


A number of the products Madhavi sources have a focus on recycling and green living. Like these jewellery pieces created by Sanchali.

Sanchali jewelleryThe store carries scarves, stoles, dresses, bags, baskets, jutis, key chains, jewellery and so much more! And the furniture that dot the store are vintage and quirky too. So stay tuned for the next post on the store where Madhavi talks about her drive to start this venture.

The Yellow Button store on Facebook | The website | Mail

080 25262108 / 91 9741511733

House # 787, 12th Main, 1st Cross ,Near Sony Center, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore, India 560038

When you just can’t stop…

A lot’s been happening on the ‘hobby’ front lately! And the ‘work’ front. And the blog’s been quite neglected, I’m afraid. But I’ve had so many ideas for posts that I want to share with you… on a quaint street right behind mine here in the slightly older part of Bangalore, a unique store that retails home products, plenty of DIY ideas… but gosh, these require not just time, but a little soulful time I think. I’m finding it hard to dash off a post just because the blog needs an update.

So I’m going to talk about where my ‘hobby’ is taking me instead. Because when something’s gotten into your mind, you just can’t stop…

Just like when you don’t find that kurta with embroidered sleeves, you buy your fave colour and then embroider it yourself (and feel prettttty darn good about it!)? I looked for classic movie posters and rock music memorabilia in Bangalore to frame for my walls, didn’t find any (or found some horribly expensive ones) and decided to make some myself.

And of course, once you start, you find more than you need – so you spread the cheer around :). I’ve hunted high and low for classic, vintage movie posters, and rooted through used books and magazines stores to lay my hands on a few keepers. And since the humble abode can hold only so much, the rest are up for grabs.

And god bless events like the Soul Sante for providing just the perfect avenue to take these keepers to.

The Maltese Falcon movie poster, story by one of my fave authors. Humphrey Bogart quite the Sam Spade. In fact, the only Sam Spade. There’s also advert posters of Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Lolita, Vertigo, Metropolis, A Night at the Opera (yes! Marx brothers), The Sound of Music…and more.

Classic_moviesIn the days of pods and pads, CD album covers which were gathering dust inside cupboards look very cool on the wall now. They need just a frame’s support.

GnR_CD album_coversJimi at Woodstock. The classic white and blue look that Jimi sported while twanging out the anthem.

Hendrix_at_WoodstockNow these little beauties are miniatures of actual tour posters of the Grateful Dead. I stumbled upon quite a treasure of them! Some will be framed in groups, some made into coasters, and some bask in their own little 4 x 6s – and the best part, there’s one poster print on each side of the print, so that’s double the groove.

Miniature_rock_concert_postersIf you love the 60s you love vinyl. And also Escher.

60s fanCould this ‘hobby’ turn into something else? Yes! More on that in the next post – as I tell you about a little venture that me and my long time friends Suman and Aiyisha are starting. Very excited, yes… and hope you will be too.