There's such a lot of world to see,” sang Audrey Hepburn in her film, Breakfast at Tiffany. This is the song — titled Moon River — which gives Radhika Gupta’s store its name.
“It’s a beautiful song,” says Gupta, “The lyrics encapsulate everything I believe in.” “This travel bug bit me years ago and I have a love for design. So everywhere I went — Europe, the Americas, Southeast Asia, I’d pick up things — sometimes from small ateliers and from large apartments at other times,” she elaborates.
After a 10-year stint abroad (she was studying in London and New York) Gupta finally returned to Delhi. To her disappointment, she found a serious lack of stores that showcased world design. “I couldn’t find interesting gifting options or objects,” she reveals. That’s what pushed her to open her first store in Delhi.
“I also felt that there would be people just like me who’d enjoy collecting items of beauty from across the globe. I wanted to enable them to travel the world from the comfort of their homes,” adds Gupta.
She now has three stores across the country — Delhi, Cochin and Goa — and plans to start shop in Mumbai, Pondicherry and Bangalore by January next year. But it’s the online store, which was launched a month ago, she’s most excited about.
“The Internet is the easiest way to access the global market,” believes Gupta. “We’ve already had orders from Japan and the US.”
A full circle
What’s most interesting is the transition of the store. Gupta may have started the store to provide easy access to Indians to the arts and crafts of the world. But Moon River is much more than that today. The online store claims to provide the “best of modern Indian and South East Asian art to a global audience.”
“We’ve come full circle,” says Gupta, who was surprised to know just how popular Indian indigenous arts and crafts could be with customers abroad. “These designs are contemporary and modern. It isn’t about selling tribal banjara crafts,” she asserts. It all began when Gupta kept a few Indian items at a friends store in New York. Their popularity pushed her to sell Indian items and woo a global audience.
Although Gupta studied journalism in New York, she never actually worked as a journalist. “I’m a closet writer,” she says, adding that her store allows her to pursue her love for storytelling. “Each object has a story to tell. On the website, I make sure that paintings and other objects are accompanied by detailed information of the style they reflect. This way, customers can be informed buyers and know more about what they’re buying.” “Books allow you to be an armchair traveller. In the same way, Moon River allows you to travel the world through objects and their stories,” she concludes.