A quirky store that sells artefacts from all over the world
If you are driving down the ECR, chances are you have spotted this store. With rows of African masks hanging all over its hut-like façade, D’Hut is an oasis for thirsty art lovers and artefact collectors.
K. Reshuma and her husband Neethirajan Subramanian, who have expanded their personal collection into a thriving business, are ardent travellers. “It was my husband’s collection actually,” says Reshuma, “He had a whole lot of handicrafts from many countries, especially Africa from all his travels as a marine engineer. When we didn’t have place to keep them, we decided we’d set up a small shop.” And so, four years ago, D’Hut began as a small store selling world handicrafts.
The couple now imports products from over 15 countries including China, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Indonesia. “Most of the stuff we sell are handmade and are crafted by artisans living in huts; hence, the name,” she adds, “These masks and other artefacts have now become great gifting options.”
D’Hut’s name has spread far and wide for its unusual products. Spread across three floors now, some of the shop’s prized possessions are masks made in China and Papua New Guinea. “People who appreciate art love our store and come here to find things they don’t get elsewhere. In all these four years, we’ve only advertised once,” Reshuma says.
Keychains, fridge magnets, djembe drums… Reshuma and Neethirajan travel to villages in these countries and get their artefacts custom-made. “We stay with the craftsmen, give them ideas and understand how the work is done. It’s difficult at times because they are not usually familiar with English and even if they are, they aren’t fluent.” Reshuma and Neethirajan usually need a translator to get their orders across.
But every little thing in their store, whether it is a key chain or a magnet, has a story. “Everyone is so fascinated by the things we have, they often ask us the story behind it. And most often, there is an interesting one to narrate,” says Reshuma.