Amaya, the store for handcrafted gifts, is a product of love, says owner Simran Wahan

“I am a very bad business person,” says Simran Wahan. “Talk to me sweetly and I'll give you a heavy discount,” smiles the creative director of Amaya, a shop for “handmade gifting options”. Located within the Atmos café precincts, it reminds you of “The Shop Around The Corner” (Meg Ryan's book store in “You've Got Mail”). Amaya is personal and cosy. And Simran is an amiable host.

The store is a year old today and Simran says it has been a tough journey but an interesting one. “A lot of people declared that I'd close my store even before it turned a year old. But here we are, one year old,” she smiles.

Simran has many stories to share. Her favourite? When a Kenyan lady dropped by. Her daughter-in-law had seen pictures of Amaya on the store's webpage. “She had asked her mother-in-law to pick up the candle placed on the second shelf in the right hand side of the store!” beams Simran. She maintains a scrapbook in which she jots down her experiences. . “I could write a book on the store and the people!” she exclaims. From shop-lifters to difficult customers, she has dealt with them all.

What started off as a means of earning some pocket money in college has become a full-time business. “I began by learning craft from my mother. During college, I would make jewellery and gift items, and sell them,” she says. After finishing college, Simran went to Goa to learn ceramic flower making, candle making, paper quilling and other techniques from a Portuguese lady.

“It was always my dream to open a store,” says Simran who is also pursuing her Masters in Applied Psychology.

Amaya brims with colour. Everything — from the terracotta-paint-patches on the walls to the effervescent baubles — give a happy feel to the place. Apart from designing jewellery and gifts, Simran also takes party orders. “I organise theme parties,” she says. “We have themes such as bumble bee, birds and princess for little girls' birthday parties and those such as car, train and Pooh for the boys. I make props and junk jewellery based on the theme,” she says. She does trousseau and gift packing too. Simran shows some pictures of ceramic-painted coconuts and kundan-stone-sporting stainless steel dabbas. “I made them for a nalangu function,” she smiles. Simran also makes perfumed candles, chimes, wall and car hangings, and clay pendants too. Even the gift wrappers at her store are hand-made. Spices and dried leaves and flowers find place in her wrappers. Ask her where she draws inspiration from, and she answers, “I enjoy travelling. I work for eight months a year and travel during the remaining four. Anything that grabs my attention is incorporated in some way in my work.”

Simran makes a lot of personalised gift items. “Designing customised jewellery and gifts is challenging. A lot of my customers come up with innovative ideas. That reassures me,” she says. “Sometimes I have people asking me to make the strangest of things too,” she laughs. “I am making a car hanging for a boy who wants me to design a skull in the centre, surrounded by a Taurus, a bike, a fairy and a strange character!” For details, call: 98946-83225 or visit www.facebook.com/amayastore.