Concept Stores, the Art of Curation and Khoj
So, what is a concept store?
A concept store is a store that sells a carefully curated and unique selection of products that connect to an overarching theme. Often the curation evoke a lifestyle that appeals to a specific target audience – they are inspirational.
Handpicked products are pulled together from different regions and crafts, and they usually span different lines, such as homewares, design accents and more. In addition, the display mixes these lines and products together in an attractive fashion.
Concept stores are about discovery and experience. So the products and design tend to change regularly to keep telling that story in new and interesting ways.
Concept stores are innovative and unusual, offering consumers a place not only to shop but also to be inspired, gain information, and simply to slow down the buying process and revel in the experience. Im many ways, it focuses on individual pieces and a process of slow buying and treasured pieces. The idea itself dates back to 1955 when Mary Quant, creator of the miniskirt, opened the very first concept store. Called Bazaar on King's Road, the store was open until the mid-1970s, by which time Quant was a worldwide name in fashion. The store itself was an inspirational mix of music, art, and of course, fashion design. Immediately successful, Quant built the brand around Bohemian fashion, architecture, writers, and more.
As we go about building an Indian online concept store, Khoj’s theme is about passionately exploring India’s rich landscape of craft and design. Not restricting or anchoring itself to a particular style or material, but bridging and merging varied styles , textures, materials and forms.
At Khoj, our love for discovery, crafts and handmade anchors the brand. Our interest in textures help us unlock old and new products in different ways. This interplay has unfolded many new design creations - the rough and the smooth, the seasoned and the fragile, the matt and the shiny. Our journey is all about discovering an aesthetic for contemporary, artistic Indian homes.
Individually, we are drawn towards cultures, stories, poetry, nostalgia and individuality. Old crafts and techniques fascinate us. Gallis, Mohallas and Char Raastas intrigue us. All this cumulatively feeds into our curation and design philosophy.
Indian Homes have always been about marrying utility with design - Jharokas are nothing but beautifully embellished windows, the courtyard is all about airiness, shade and temperature control , the aangan is where Indian families gathered together, the setting for both the daily routine and the special celebrations, Jaalis and Mud Houses were all about tackling the strong Indian heat and dust.
From this earthy, rich cultural world, stems our love for different materials and forms - to understand Indian’s love for the robust and the timeless. Homes are not “precious” but rather sturdy, aesthetic and enduring. Delicate Interiors are not part of our culture, but well seasoned, wood, stone and marble. Places for kids to grow, friends to entertain, sherbet ( or wines ) to drink , plants to thrive and full of good vibes and natural materials. Let’s keep plastics and synthetics out of the equation.
As a store, we are never about the staples - We are all about the accents. Bold, Striking, Unusual, Statements that take spaces from being well designed to creating a personal design statement. Our love is to bring pieces that tell a story, that open conversations and that reflect a certain aesthetic. Our lamps, mirrors, pedestals are not designed to fade into the background but compelling enough to capture your attention.
Finding a Happy Mix of a stylish, yet comfortable space is not easy. It needs both effort and time to evolve. The designs and homes we were attracted to in our 20s are not the same as they are in our 30s. They’re a little older, a little wiser but perhaps also have a little more of our personality. The mix is eclectic, the designs are original, the spaces talk about the places we’ve been and the journey we’ve had . The colours we love and the pieces we treasure. It’s both our comfort zone and also our little piece of madness - to let our hair down or swish it up in style.
Khoj is this journey of finding the happy mix, the exploration and discovery of the better things of life , the life beyond labels and highly polished pieces, its all about balancing the rough with the smooth, celebrating our roots, but no letting them become our millstone.