GET GLUED TO PAPER PRODUCTS FROM SKY GOODIES
Sky Goodies is a brand of paper and digital products created by Misha and Amit Gudibanda. They specialise in do-it-yourself paper products with vibrant designs and sell from their store in Khar (and other locations) as well as their website.
Sky Goodies, 1st Floor, Bungalow No. 29, Chuim Village Road, Khar (w), Mumbai 400 052. Phone: 097688 88688
I’ve never been to Paris, but I’ve built an Eiffel Tower. The raw materials came to me in the form of a postcard – four sides of the iconic edifice with perforated edges in the front, warm words from a childhood friend scribbled on the back. Some glue and five minutes later I had my own little piece of Paris I didn’t have to share with throngs queuing up to get to the top of the Tower. I felt special.
A decade later, I feel especially heady as I tread on the wooden floor, studying every item on the wooden shelves inside an old villa in Chuim village. Kitschy hot air balloons float above ornate pianos that play monthly tunes instead of Mozart. The black and white picture of a wide-eyed child posing for his passport photograph stares at me through the lens of a yellow vintage camera with red rose motifs. Two vibrant auto rickshaws have parked themselves next to authentic boom boxes filled with chocolate hearts. I feel like Alice, only this Wonderland is made entirely out of paper.
Amit and Misha Gudibanda, graduates from National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, began Sky Goodies with the idea of enriching lives through the simple act of creating. The aim is obvious in their tag line – Make Happy. “We believe that happiness comes from effort,” Misha tells me as we sit across the sole table in the room, surrounded by their creations. “Effort is very important. There’s nothing left if you remove effort from our lives. Many psychiatrists call it the ‘existential vacuum’, where you’re left with endless entertainment options, but nothing is good enough.”
This urge to consume rather than create is commonly manifested in the form of addiction to electronic devices – for both children and adults. “For children, the ability to deal with failure is diminishing because they know they can restart a game on their phones or tablets if they’re losing.,” says Misha. “We wanted to create something physical, so kids can learn to deal with mistakes and become more sensitive in the process.”
While do-it-yourself (DIY) is part of daily parlance in most developed countries, the concept is only just catching up in India. Sky Goodies is spreading that culture by ensuring that all their products are more than just pretty pieces. Each article is utilitarian, so the quintessentially Indian truck is actually a stationery holder, the boom box doubles up as a gift box, and business cardholders masquerade as matchboxes complete with matchsticks for that authentic spark.
The vibrant typewriter with monthly calendars printed on each of the twelve sheets is their fastest selling item. “After those featured on the Colossal website, my phone wouldn’t stop ringing and sales went through the roof,” says Misha. “Kaching, kaching, kaching.” But Misha’s favourite item is the tank penholder imprinted with the words ‘Make Happy Not War’, which stands for dialogues over disputes. A series is in the works, one component of which is a spitfire aka chocolate bomber. “We want to take images of war and destruction and turn them into something positive,” says Misha. Plus, the tough stuff sells like hot cakes. “Forget boys, even grown men love making these.”
Basically, everybody loves Sky Goodies. And nobody (me included) leaves the villa empty-handed. “Sometimes people literally empty their pockets and pay me half in cash, half by card,” Misha says with a laugh as she signals the counting of loose change with her hands. That was the Amit and Misha’s aim when they began Sky Goodies four years ago – to make products that are accessible to all. And that’s the reason they chose to work with paper. “If we use steel or wood, the nature of the material is such that the price will automatically increase. Paper is cheap, it’s easy, and it gives you endless possibilities.”
There’s more to Sky Goodies than quirky gifting options on their online and brick and mortar store. Over the past few years, they have created miniature DIY spaceships for National Geographic, finger puppets for Fevicol, and paper lions for a resort in Gir. They have also supplied schools with build-your-own-house kits, complete with windmills and instructions on how to save energy, as part of a workshop organised by a power company. Education will be a focal point going forward as well, Misha tells me. Think paper beetles with detachable limbs for biology class. Bigger DIY products and decoration kits for parties and festivals are also on the anvil. “Our aim is to reach as many people as possible,” says Misha.
Sky Goodies has been reaching out, and not just to customers. Amit and Misha’s creations are a big hit at Atmavishwas Vocational Training Center for People with Special Needs in Goa. “The children there really enjoy making stuff with their hands,” says Misha. They also rope in underprivileged women for packaging when fresh batches of products arrive at the villa. It works the other way around as well, with patrons who want to be more closely associated with the brand. “One of our loyal customers, a 10-year old student, has been trying to convince me to employ him!” says Misha with a laugh.
Everybody loves Sky Goodies, and I can see why. I walk in ‘to just check out the store’, and I walk out with a calendar for myself, matchbox diaries for former colleagues and a special something for my wayfarer friend who gifted me the Eiffel Tower – a vintage suitcase which I plan to fill with some of her favourite things. I don’t know how I feel about Paris, because I haven’t been there yet, but DIY is always a good idea.
Photographs courtesy Sky Goodies