R E T U R N T O I N D I A W I T H S O S O U K
This is the fifth story in our series of interviews with Jo Peppiatt and Petina Martin from artisan lifestyle boutique So Souk. We were keen to find out more about their trips to India and how they began to work closely with local craftsfolk they met there.
W E L C O M E T O J A I P U R
"When we went to India in 2018 we were at the point in the business where we were buying products from trade fairs or from suppliers we had found through Instagram or through the Internet. But, we also very much felt that to be really unique we needed to manufacture ourselves, which is what drew us to India."
"In particular, we were thinking about a sleepwear collection and we wanted to make our own bath bags. We had picked up on the fact that the traditional technique of handblocked fabric was very popular."
We asked, what actually inspired their first trip to India and how did this trip affect So Souk?
Entranced and inspired by the beauty of the artisanal workmanship they found in Indian market places such as those found in Jaipur, Jo and Petina have designed their own range of items that form the core of So Souk's unique brand.
"We think this market, particularly homeware, is very saturated and people appear to be moving away from buying from large companies or big manufacturing industries. We felt that there was an opening for more Artisan fabrics and handblock fabrics, so that's what drew us to India in the first place."
"We work with Artisans in India, Morocco and other countries, and they love seeing their products on the UK market. It’s a very exciting relationship to build with a supplier and we particularly enjoy seeing these relationships grow over time."
So Souk offers such a wide and vibrant range of handblocked items that it's easy for customers to pick and mix matching colour schemes throughout their collection. So, we asked Jo and Petina; what drew them towards the ancient Indian technique of handblock printing in the first place?
D I R E C T F R O M T H E A R T I S A N S
"Sunny days and a riot of colour round every corner. I don’t know about you but things that happened last year seem more like a lifetime ago. Longing for days when we can travel again and be inspired by beautiful India - but so grateful to have built relationships with suppliers that we trust enough to order from long distance. Thank goodness for What’sApp!"
L I F E B E Y O N D L O C K D O W N
And even though the current pandemic might be affecting Jo and Petina's travel plans to return to India, lockdown isn't dragging down So Souk's mood. Their Instagram feed lights up daily with joyful memories from previous trips, and social media has also enabled them to stay in close contact with their friends in India.
S O S O U K I N T E R V I E W S E R I E S
This is just one of our stories in a short series of talks we had with Jo from So Souk. You can find @SoSouk on Instagram or at www.sosouk.co.uk Watch this space for more stories with Jo.