Interview with CEO of Rajboori Home Décor: TIME’s Style and Design Green 100 Pick

Posted on 06. Oct, 2009 by in Design & Culture, Entrepreneurship, Interviews


OppGreen recently had a chance to catch up with Mitun Chakrabarti, CEO of Rajboori – one of TIME’s Style & Design’s 100 Green Design companies for Home Accessories. Vancouver-based Rajboori is a unique and modern eco-friendly collection of vibrant and luxurious quilts, throws, and pillows that embody a contemporary and innovative take on ancient craftsmanship. I asked her about her company, the market opportunity for eco-friendly products, how she started her company, and advice she has for eco entrepreneurs.

Read how this former tech-savvy MBA and her NYC-based industrial designer/partner turned a passion for great design into an acclaimed home décor company.


OG: What do you think is missing in the eco home décor market?
MC: I think the eco-home décor market lacks “pizazz”.  There isn’t enough variety and innovative design available, especially, in the home textiles market.  Colors are still limited to mostly neutrals.  That also means there is an opportunity to fill the gap.  As companies spend more R&D time and effort behind developing more interesting products while still being eco, there will be greater choices for the end consumer.

OG: What makes Rajboori an eco-friendly and sustainable business?
MC: Rajboori home textiles are made of Peace Silk.  This unique silk is made from the cocoons of wild or semi-wild silkworms found exclusively in India. Unlike other commercially available silks, in this case the silkworm is allowed to live out its full life cycle. Instead of stifling the pupae to obtain reeled yarn, the silk is degummed and spun like other fiber. The resulting yarn is soft, fluffy, and light with a texture similar to cotton mixed with wool. It is rare and not readily commercially available. Additionally, we use organic dyes and use natural resources, the sun, for drying which makes it more energy efficient.

We work very closely with artisans who live in a village just outside of Calcutta, India and in Calcutta who meticulously handcraft the desired patterns and weaves.  The community of weavers have had their skills handed down from generation to generation for 600-700 years.  Through our efforts we are trying to sustain this ancient craftsmanship and the weaver community.  This is why Rajboori is sustainable.


OG: What was your marketing strategy? You’ve won design awards. Was the design community your first target?
MC: Our first launch was in New York at New York International Gift Fair in Jan, 2009.  We were able to showcase our unique collection to a broad audience.  This led to some awards and a spot in TIME Style & Design’s 100 Green Design Companies.

OG: How did you start Rajboori?

MC: My two passions in life have always been design and entrepreneurship.  Even though my academic background has been in MIS and then an MBA, and consequently my work experience in corporate America had been in the software industry and general management roles, I was always drawn to design.  When the time was right, I decided to make a complete career change to pursue my two passions, design and business.

I grew up around gorgeous textiles in India and experienced the intricate artwork so abundantly available there.  For me home was a place of love and warmth that needed beautiful objects to reflect our personalities and how we looked at life.  I decided to start a home textiles company that offered silk products of high craftsmanship to the Canadian, or primarily, Vancouver market.  Silk, for me, is a timeless fabric that is luxurious, resilient, elegant, and all season.

The silk I offered was very unique in texture and look and I knew I had something different to offer to the discerning clientele who would prefer products that are not mass produced, but have a story and more human element associated with them.  Each piece would almost be considered as one of a kind.


OG: Who is your customer?
MC: Our target clientele appreciates the value of quality craftsmanship, uniqueness in design, and is possibly well traveled and knowledgeable about various cultures.  The story of our collection and the eco-friendly silk is something they value and would like to make a part of their homes and lives. We did not specifically target designers, but we do get considerable interest from them.

OG: Where are your products sold? What is the best selling item?  What is your favorite?
MC: Our products are available to all through the Rajboori website. People can just email us with their requests.

In Vancouver, we sell through a high-end, home décor store called Provide.  We will soon be available in boutiques in Barcelona, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.  We are currently in discussions with some stores in the US and are looking for more retailers/distributors.

The best selling items are the Milon Coverlets/Throws and the 26” pillows. They’re simple in design in gorgeous colors and they feel great as just a throw on the couch to snuggle with on cooler nights.

My favorites are the Holi duvet covers and the Milon Coverlets/throws.  Holi (festival of colors) is my favorite festival in India and the duvet covers are otherwise simple, but have the element of vibrancy of Holi festival in them in the patchwork portion.

OG: What advice would you give any entrepreneur who is wanting to incorporate their passion with a business idea?

MC: I support entrepreneurial initiatives as I believe that’s where true passion is involved.  In these tough times, if someone wants to get started, they have to minimize risk, reduce costs, be resourceful and look for “blue oceans” to operate in.  The key is to ride this storm and come out even stronger.  The life of an entrepreneur requires a lot of hard work, long hours, dedication and above all, the faith in the initiative.

One has to truly believe that he or she can be successful and go about getting there smartly.  Creative solutions and resourcefulness goes a long way in helping an entrepreneur.  I believe that I would rather try and fail than never try and regret that for the rest of my life.

For more information, visit Rajboori.

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2 Responses to “Interview with CEO of Rajboori Home Décor: TIME’s Style and Design Green 100 Pick”

  1. Salwar Kameez

    20. Jun, 2013

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  2. Silk Veils

    26. Jun, 2013

    I enjoyed this as well! I just got into the art of Feng Shui, and ive noticed the energy in my office is much improved! excellent post.

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