Note: Don’t forget to use the discount code ( it’s hidden somewhere below :) ) when you place an order on Zwende.
A bumpy shared auto ride, a bus ride with smell-the-sweat-and-dizzying-cologne of fellow riders followed by one last stretch of 500 meter walk through the by lanes of Indira Nagar, I arrived early one morning at the offices of Zwende.
Zwende, the 2-year-old Bangalore-based bootstrapped company, lets you personalize a range of products such as bags, wallets, laptop sleeves, lampshades, and stationery among other things – all from their website. Now, you can order one for your use or to gift to someone — with a touch of your personality!
Housed in the first floor of one of those classic independent houses built in the early 90’s, in a quiet lane (I know that’s ironic for Indira Nagar) off 100 feet road is where I met Sujay and Innu, the founders and brains behind this self-servicing platform.
The calm facade outside belies the brisk activity inside as the team engages itself in a host of activities: from styling their range of customized products for display for anyone who may walk in to managing social media and engaging with customers.
I make myself comfortable before Sujay joins me to narrate his dream and bringing in the zing of customization in everything one owns. Zwende is loosely inspired from the Spanish word duende that is regarded as one of the hardest words to translate into any language. Duende is is a magical feeling inside where we cannot express in words what one is feeling, it also means adding a soul.
Sujay argues saying he doesn’t want people to pick stuff from our shelf directly, he wants them to play around on their customizer and design and create their own product.
The Birth of Zwende
Zwende was born out of a futile search for a vintage finish dining table when Sujay and Innu were furnishing their new home. They had an idea in mind, but it was difficult to visualize and ascertain if the idea in their heads and how the furniture designer interpreted it were the same. The gap was viewing it online or making changes to it before the idea went into production.
Yes, there are makers for producing anything customised from a sofa to a laptop sleeve in your chosen colours and design. But, getting them together under one platform there and for customers to visualize how the product would look like before it gets made is our biggest USP.
The seeds for Zwende were sown from this quest to own a unique product reflective of their personalities – one that was not mass produced. Zwende used technology to fill this gap.
Zwende is built on improving three tenets: time, cost and complexity. Head over to the website to see the various product offerings, and what you can customize such as colour of leather and design.
This 15-sec video beautifully captures the essence of Zwende: the life cycle of a product from customization to delivery.
The Skilled Makers: What Makes Zwende Unique
Zwende has partnered with one skilled craftsperson in each field who specializes in that craft. Since each product is hand painted or hand drawn or hand made, no two products will ever look or feel the same.
Zwende’s Runaway Product Successes
My innate curiosity got the better of me; I wanted to know what products gave people the high of putting a personal stamp on. And boy, was I surprised? Sujay narrates,
You won’t believe but laptop sleeves and wallets are our biggest sellers. It is interesting to see the evolution of men’s wallets, which was not high on our radar initially. You see, we would set up stalls at pop-up exhibitions. The men who accompanied their families did not have many products of their interest in such places.
With time to kill, many men spent more time at our stall on one product they use every day. The thought of customizing it was appealing. We got more inputs for the design of men’s wallets than any other. And soon, it topped the scales, and women found it thoughtful to gift the men a personalized wallet, too.
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Custom Lampshade & Wallets for Gifting
Use it when you place the order.
Having said that there is a new entrant to our chartbuster list – the home decor range comprising lamps, decoupaged desk clocks and name plates. The aesthetic appeal of a hand painted lamp shade and nameplates is enormous.
The range below showcases city-themed decoupaged desk clocks.
Sujay predicts that lampshades will hog the limelight in the near future going by the trends. After all, you don’t see a hand-painted one in Madhubani art everyday.
Order Your Customized Totes, Bags, & Laptop Sleeves
Here are a few proud customers flaunting their designs of laptop sleeves. One laptop bag: four avatars.
I probe further and ask Sujay if the options for customizations are endless. He elaborates,
All of us are not designers, but there is a designer in each one of us. And that feeling of unwrapping a product you designed yourself in unparalleled; it can be as small as changing the base leather colors for your laptop sleeve to your favorite navy or yellow.
But, we know what colours work well for a design. So the available colour choices are tailored and made intelligent within limits. This guided customization takes away the fear of a product not looking good.
There’s much more to explore on Zwende; unleash your creativity and gift yourself, a dear one or your home something with a personal touch.