Paro, a new luxury brand from Good Earth

“It’s not a store; it’s not a shop,” Simran Lal says emphatically, as she welcomes everyone into the space called Paro. The name means “the sharing of special knowledge” in Sanskrit and that is what the brand hopes to do with different spaces carved out across 2,400 sq ft at The Chanakya.

There is Shanthi, a library where there will be workshops and discussions. This leads off to the therapy rooms with a Himalayan pink salt brick wall. Botanica has plant products: emollients, resins, herbs, and all-natural essential oils used to perfume and cure. Nidra, the area dedicated to sleep, has organic sleepwear and yoga accessories developed in tandem with Mini Shasti, the yoga guru. Punctuating these spaces are racks of apparel, shelves of jewellery and tables of home pieces.

Where Good Earth celebrates India’s tradition, Paro is rooted in the Vedas and is all about spiritual and philosophical thought — reflected in everything from the five-oil combination that keeps a wick steady to the simplest jasmine body wax reminiscent of a full-moon night. Paro is luxury; it is also the soul of Good Earth, and the latest in the brand’s new ventures. Earlier this year had seen the début of The Miniaturist, a couture collection put together for the Lakmé Fashion Week. Today, with Good Earth’s 10 stores — and daughter Simran’s fashion and lifestyle brand Nicobar, expanding with 11 stores — Paro seems like a handing over of a baton.

Paro, a new luxury brand from Good Earth

Luxury in India is nuanced, she says. “It is about personal joy, whether you are wearing the finest malmal or dabbing sandalwood on your wrists.” She sits down and looks back at where it all began.

At 22, would you say you’ve grown up?

Yes, I think so. It takes you a long time to be comfortable in your skin, to understand who you are, who your customers are, and why you’re doing it. These are questions one doesn’t ask initially — or at least I didn’t ask; we just plunged into it. At 22, we are more reflective and have a better understanding of how we should be doing our business for the future.

How do you work as the creative head?

I just tell stories. I do the research, give visuals and idea to the team, and they work on it. Each year we think of an inspirational space; it could be mythical, emotional, from nature. Last year we did the Shambala collection, which was mythical. I wanted to see the connection between India and China, and how we could view the country as Indians.

What have your business milestones been?

The first 10 years, it was a single-boutique business and I used to struggle a lot. Simran joined us, and we found Raghuvanshi Mills in Bombay, and that was a milestone. That’s when we started using the word luxury. Then we got Khan market. We’ve never looked back since because it has given us such great exposure. Business-wise, it brought us to a different level.

What are your creative landmarks?

Every year — and we’ve been doing it for the last 11 or 12 years — we do a launch. It’s a very thought out theme that reflects something about the culture of India, the subcontinent and Asia. We started writing journals that traced the journey of each theme. One of these days I’m going to do a rocking British theme!

Paro, a new luxury brand from Good Earth

We also sponsored the Fabric of India exhibition at the Victoria Albert Museum when we were going to turn 20, and last year, for Make in India, for the Prime Minister’s pavilion, we used hand-blocked, vegetable-dyed fabric from Machhlipatnam on all the walls. It was apparently well-liked.

Did it take 16 years to make a profit?

That’s not a word that comes easily to any of us. I personally don’t look at numbers — thankfully someone does. I think we’re kind of okay right now. But that doesn’t motivate us. That is only an enabler. What excites us is the act of creation.

What is luxury to you?

In Hindi I don’t think we even have a word for it. It’s a very western construct that has begun to mean very expensive products that give you a stamp of social superiority. Luxury to me is quality, when the finishing is done a certain way. Luxury lies in detailing and it gives you a feeling of well-being.

How has marketing worked for you?

I am a closet DJ. I love music and create our own playlists. We change them every month, depending on the season and mood. For Van Vaibhav last year, we did a party called the Moonlit Safari, and all the songs were to do with sitaras, chand and chandini. Similarly, every year I create an essential oil blend to go with the theme. For Van Vaibhav, we had a ‘green’ blend: cedarwood and juniper that take you back to the forest.

What next for Paro?

A wellness retreat in the Himalayas. While this is an urban sanctuary, Paro Himalayas will be in the mountains.

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Printable version | Jul 22, 2021 8:35:59 PM |

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