Founder and Creative Director, Gautam Sinha
Handcrafted leather goods specialist Nappa Dori opened its first London store this year on Monmouth Street. Gautam Sinha tells us how his brand is delivering a unique shopping experience, while offering quality bags for men and women, and a whole lot more.
"We belive in experiential retail, and so our store offers a complete experience as we want people to really get to know the brand and spend time with us".
How long has the Nappa Dori brand been established?
We started up in 2010 and, in that time, we've expanded from bags and other leather products to a much wider range. Although the Nappa Dori name is firmly rooted in Indian origins and literally translated means 'leather and thread' we are now more of a lifestyle brand rather than just a leather goods brands, so we continue to use leather in whatever we do.
'What's special about Nappa Dori products?
Everything is handmade in India. With all our materials and fabrics locally sourced in India too. We have around 60 artisans from all around India making our products, helping to revive traditional age-old skills. Hand-stitching leather is a very technical and time -consuming process, and there are alot of different elements involved in making our bags and leather goods. The hand - stitched details really make our products unique and timeless.
Why did you choose Seven Dials to open your London flagship store?
We only opened in April, at 15 Monmouth Street, but Seven Dials has always been high on our list because it is full of independent brands and boutiques.
What kind of customer do you generally see in Seven Dials?
A well-travelled person who knows more about design tends to gravitate towards Seven Dials, as opposed to the more tourist-driven Covent Garden areas, as they want to find exclusive products. It's an aspirational area, with more of a neighbourhood feel to it, which suits us well. It has brilliant places like Monmouth Coffee, which has a legendary following and is only two stores down from us, and Neal's Yard is massively attractive.
What are you mainly known for?
Our box bags and women's handbags, which are more sling bags. We are quite a masculine brand and have a signature look. It's quite structured and inspired by architecture with clean lines - more Scandinavian in it's look and feel but, at the same time, with an Indian essence to it. However, functionaliuty is still key for us. We are also known for our men's satchels, laptop bags, messenger bags and backpacks. Some are all leather, others are a mix of leather and canvas.
After your bags, what else is popular?
We produce luggage as well, and so our trunk has also become a signature piece. Our metal trunks are brightly coloured with leather straps, and they are used more for home decor than travel. In India a lot of brides buy the trunks to put their weddings trousseaus in. When i started to make the trunks, i thought people would use them in their living rooms as a coffee table or side table, but i ended up tapping in to a market which i actually didn't known much about. The wedding market in India is massive!
What's new product-wise?
We introduced leather stationary two years ago, including organisers and notebooks, to sit alongside the bags and fashion accessories that we are known for. We've also now added homeware. We have trays, a cocktail bar kit and a cheese knife set, made with hand-forged brass with leather details to keep with the brand's aesthetic. We also sell a lot of Christmas ornaments, make our own candles and sell indpendent design magazines. Before the end of the year, we will be introducing a line of travel-friendly luggae, and we are working on a collection of leather shoes too.
What else can customers experience at the new Monmouth Street Shop?
It's really like a mini concept store. We believe in experiential retail, allowing people to really get to know the brand and spend time with us. It's over two floors and has a fully functional cafe - serving eight varieties of Indian coffee and chai/ We serve the chai in a terracotta clay cup, which is the traditional way it is served in India. Customers can take the cups away with them, which is 100% sustainable and disposable - we call it earthware.
15 Monmouth Street