When you step inside the stone paved entrance of a two-storied rustic store ‘Options’, situated on the bylanes of Bodakdev, you are sure to be transported to anera of ‘slow life’. Nestled amidst the lush greens of frangipani and green foliage, Options is a visual delight for the lovers of good aesthetics. The design minimalism is reflected in its utilitarian planning of the store, exteriors and interiors both. A one stop solution for fashion & decor enthusiasts, Options stores eco-friendly fashion brands with a bent towards handlooms and craft forms besides one of a kind furniture pieces and home decor products including furnishings and lighting.
Started in 2002 by Ms.Janki Patel, an interior designer by qualification, Options has stood and surpassed the test of Ahmedabad’s brutal consumerist market. Despite Ahmedabad boasting itself of the premier design institutes that it started eons ago, patronage has always been at the back-seat. Value for money has been the single business -driving mantra in this city. Tending to this market in the times when home-decor was but a one-time event for most, Janki proved her business mettle in this space.
Here are the excerpts from a free-wheeling conversation with Janki Patel.
Tell us the story of ‘Options’ origin?
Having studied design from Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, I worked in an interior design company for a year, way back in 1986. After marriage, I started helping my husband, Jayshil Patel, in his architectural projects. I would design the home spaces and add furnishing and decor knick knacks to finish the design process.
However, I had to always travel the country to source the fabrics and artefacts for my designing projects.
While it used to be fun initially to explore different places and get exquisite pieces, over a period of time, it became tedious. With the increase in number of projects, it became essential that I had what I wanted in Ahmedabad itself.
This thought gave birth to ‘Options’ in 2002.
Options became an answer for all those who sought after home –decor items with focus on detailing.
What were the initial challenges that you faced in Ahmedabad market?
I started initially with textiles for home-furnishing. Challenges were many; starting with convincing different furnishing brands to be housed under one roof. Everyone wanted exclusivity and I wanted to give options; naturally.
The best collaboration that we did was to get ‘Yamini’ in Ahmedabad. There was a segment of the city that valued its products and was more than delighted to have it, right in their city.
Natural extension to the existing business was to add lighting options as well.
What made ‘Options’ stand out from the other home decor stores, if any?
I started this store to bring craft-based exclusive upholstery and other interior design products to Ahmedabad so that design connoisseurs didn’t have to rush to metros to do their shopping. The pre-requisite for a brand to be placed in Options is only one – it has to have a craft based narrative or has to be sustainable in its approach. This led us to form various collaborations with designers from across the country and globe.
We hosted exhibitions of these designers in the city way back in 2000 so that patrons could find exclusive designs in the comfort of their own city. Dinner sets from coconut, Coffee tables with leaf imprint, cane furniture with exquisite weaves are but a few example of many interesting and eclectic designs that Options offered.
When did ‘Options’ embrace Fashion in its offering?
The patrons of Options always admired what I wore; it was essentially Anokhi’s cotton stuff. So I thought, why not? Anokhi falls in my design sensibility and it is craft based fashion label.
I approached ‘Anokhi’, based out of Jaipur, in 2004 to set in-store outlet in Ahmedabad. It’s been a decade plus now and yet the charm of Anokhi garments never wear out. People still come asking for Anokhi new arrivals, every month.
Which are the new fashion labels at Options?
Once we revamped the store, we felt like we wanted to add more offerings. Sustainable Fashion is a big movement in the fashion fraternity globally. Ahmedabad based designers in sustainable fashion weren’t showcasing here due to lack of awareness. We thought of changing the narrative.
To cater to the new segment of fashionistas, we added eco-friendly and organic brands like Shades of India, Translate, Tulsi, Almirah, Linen story, Shaila, Tejal, Aavran, Soham Dave and Crow. We now house luxury casual brands that are not only sustainable but also minimalist in their design approach.
One can find dresses, tunics, tops, sarees, dupatta, sulwar suits and more – but all of it in earthy, pastel & muted shades, mostly. The price segment is between INR 3000 – INR 15000 for all these fashion labels. We wanted similar sensibility brands falling in same price bracket to maintain the store philosophy.
Besides sustainable labels in fashion and accessories, Options also has delectable offerings in toiletries: Areev is a luxury beauty brand that offers organic soaps, bath oils, moisturisers and body butters.
Are there any interesting labels coming up at Options- both in fashion & home decor?
This year we have planned one event per month to bring in a new designer/ label that Ahmedabad has not seen. Most of the designers do not come to Ahmedabad citing low business. Most of Amdavadis complain of no new brands.
We are trying to bridge that gap by introducing right brands every month to the ever evolving and discerning consumers.
Ciceroni has been in love with this store – for its ambient surroundings , perfectly curated collection of lightings, decor items, furnishings and furniture besides the tastefully selected fashion brands. Someone once quoted ‘The details are not the details, they make the design’.
There is something for every design lover at Options.
Address: “O P T I O N S” Next to Sarthi Hotel, Near Amaltas Bunglows, Bodakdev, Ahmedabad – 380054
Phone: 079 2684 1922
Some Images from the Gallery