Ever since Nivedita Ganeshram of Madras Finds hosted her first pop-up last year, her Instagram page (@ madrasfinds) has been the go-to platform for Chennai’s homegrown brands. Now, after hoisting a ramen pop-up earlier this year, she is back with The Jolly Ol’ Pop Up, just in time for Christmas. All set for this weekend, the event will feature over 35 brands across fashion, food, craft, and stationery. Nivedita, who has been conscious about the number of events she now hosts, says this decision came about when she realised how common pop-ups have become in Chennai. “We decided we would rather do a smaller number of pop-ups with a more curated theme, than doing more of the same.”
Featuring the likes of Thaiyalist, Copper Soul, Rein, Varsha Chella Pottery, Citta Handmade, and others, The Jolly Ol’ Pop Up, Nivedita says, is being organised in collaboration with Epic Events “who are creating a whimsical atmosphere with their decor”. Visitors can look forward to live events such as caricature sketching, face-painting, personalised perfumes, cheese tasting, and more.
Constantly on the lookout for new brands, she says the team was working on the event for the last two months. While certain labels are known to Nivedita, others came via word of month, and some even through Instagram. “One of our interns chanced upon Da Box’s Kimchi Butter while scrolling through Instagram reels and we found the concept interesting. She then reached out to the founder, Nikhil, got on a really long call with him, learned about his journey and got him to participate at the event,” she says, adding that the brands she is most excited about include The Better Sustainable Company’s soaps and fragrances, festive themed stationary and wrapping paper by Inkline, and The Serious Sweets Co. for their cookie butter and mulled wine mix.
Known names aside, a number of first-timers are a part of the line-up this year. The Southern Collective (spices), The Spice Culture (artisanal dips), The Berry Shop (kids accessories) from the Nilgiris, Ting Ting Bangkok (jewellery) and Style with Lagom (storage solutions) from Chennai, among others. Also making their debut are Chennai’s independent lingerie brand, Qiwion, and art label Handmade by Shuba. “It’s rare to be exhibiting an innerwear brand, but we need to normalise bras, and desexualise the whole conversation around breasts. Madras Finds seems like a perfect opportunity to launch the brand,” says Nivedita. As for Handmade by Shuba, the team got to know about the brand when “a daughter wrote to us wanting to display her mother’s art creations comprising trays, mirrors, coasters, etc.”
Nivedita, who recently launched a Bangalore Finds page, is gearing up to expand her community there alongside hosting more events in Chennai next year. “Post the ramen pop-up, many chefs and restaurateurs from Bengaluru and Bombay have contacted us to create similar experiences with them in Chennai. So definitely, there will be a lot more curated food pop ups for 2023 and events across age groups,” she concludes.
On December 18 at The Folly, Amethyst. 11am to 8pm.