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Stringing together a dream

Last updated: 17 December, 2010

Samhita Barooah meets young designer Sreeti Mondol, who used six months of bed rest to conceptualise a unique business venture called ‘Memories of a Butterfly’

Free-spirited, boundless in creativity, unpretentious and grounded are words that best describe designer Sreeti Mondol, who turned adversity into opportunity by setting up ‘Memories of a Butterfly’ (MOAB) in Bangalore.

Sreeti hails from a Bengali family steeped in tradition and culture. She considers her grandfather her mentor — a person, she says, who taught her everything from candle-making to plumbing! She credits her parents for instilling discipline, business acumen and a passion for design in her.

The fascinating journey of MOAB started four years ago when Sreeti was bedridden for six months with a broken neck. Instead of moaning about the injury and the pain, she preferred to use the time to focus on her dream project, saying it gave her a new lease of life.

“Memories of a Butterfly is a phrase that has stuck with me since I was a child, inspiring vivid, mystifying images. Today, it is the essence of my company and therefore, its name. The bead curtain, which MOAB is so popular for, is a simple and malleable concept. With the right creative treatment, it can work wonders in transforming the interiors of a space in subtle yet striking ways,” she says.

The uniqueness of the bead curtain allows Sreeti to give her designs an edge by exploring style, material, dimensions and design. “The reward lies in catering to customers who are ecstatic over the beauty that is lent to a room by a simple bead curtain,” she adds.

MOAB specialises in creating high-end, customised bead curtains and screens in a flexible, modern, dynamic and eclectic avatars. All the designs are hand-made and every piece is customised to suit a client’s design and functional needs.

“What I love about bead curtains is that they not only allow a designer to play with colour, light and texture, but they also act as natural connectors between spaces. They have the ability to create privacy without disconnecting an area from the rest of the house, office, lounge bar or restaurant,” Sreeti explains.

She uses a variety of quality materials while making her curtains – pure glass, crystal, Australian shells, treated PVC, stained or sprayed acrylic, acrylic crystal and wood, to name a few. All these materials are used to create popular designs such as ‘Moroccan’, ‘Pomegranate Gold’, ‘Bold Polka’, ‘Gold Basket’, ‘Traditional Aztec’, ‘Descending Amber’, ‘Pink Bone Disc’, ‘Pink on Pink’, ‘Leaf’ and ‘Chandelier Decor’ bead curtains.

Sreeti shares a trade secret. “I create and sell what I believe would be nice in my own space.”

Some of those who have ordered her bead curtains in Bangalore include the ‘Oye Shaava’ restaurant, World Cuisine Network restaurants, the Nandhana Group, Angsana Spa, UB City, Estia Restaurant, and Blue Petal Hotel.

When asked if being a woman in business is tough, Sreeti says: “Running a business can be challenging for anyone. If you want to share your designs, you have to know how to sell your ideas. If you are passionate about what you do and move systematically, then the sky is the limit.”

Her next challenge is to step up exports. Currently Sreeti’s plate is full with diverse projects that include designing a wine bar, a spa and a few luxury apartments in Bangalore, Moroccan restaurants in Cochin and Chennai, a fine-dining restaurant in Bahrain and a lounge in Gujarat.

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