What we are all about....

 

The women of India’s villages are our biggest inspiration and the heart of everything we do. And sustainability is a key pillar of our business.

Ohrna’s guiding principle is using design as a tool of inclusion and global outreach and we work to showcase our materials and traditions beyond India's borders. 

We are passionate about innovating contemporary, everyday products by applying traditional arts and crafts to them, from backpacks to laptop sleeves to planter holders and more. 

Our products are all made using natural fibers like jute and cotton. Even our packaging is made from up-cycled saris. 

'Ohrna' means veil in Bengali. For a woman, an ohrna adorns her attire, gives her the grace and comfort she seeks and shields her from the harshness of the sun.

Each of Ohrna’s unique products are made by homebound or rural women who cannot get work without leaving their homes or villages. The training, skills and materials we provide give them a source of livelihood, financial independence and self-respect.

Meet some of our artisans here

Our Story

Ohrna was founded by Jhumkee Sengupta Iyengar in 2017. A people centered product & experience designer, Jhumkee is also a teacher, writer and presenter. Her strong desire to give back, to help preserve rich craft and fabric traditions of her roots in Bengal, India, along with her strong beliefs in sustainability, her artistic flair, imagination and love for colors, initiated Ohrna as her passion project few years ago, that soon turned into a social enterprise operating globally. This work also brings her full circle to span a cultural bridge between India and USA, the two places she considers home. Jhumkee is based in Pune, India. She designs, trains all artisans for free, while also running and growing the enterprise in India and overseas.

 

Mitul Iyengar co-founded Ohrna with her mother Jhumkee. She studied graphic design and visual communication, before working as a digital product designer. She is inspired by Ohrna’s mission to promote a sustainable product lifecycle, as well as the ability for design to empower women. She is passionate about crafts and textiles, and enjoys working with her hands. Mitul is based in Brooklyn, New York, and works on new product development, as well as Ohrna’s online presence.

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Ohrna is inspired by Sharmila Sen, a Fine Arts graduate who worked with the philosophies that Ohrna has imbibed. Sharmila ran a home-based enterprise in Kalyani, West Bengal for 24 years, training tribal women and selling locally, jute based products made by them. The results were apparent over the years, when many a woman came back with recounts of how the income helped educate their children or solved some of their basic monetary problems. 

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OUR PRODUCT DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

Creating products of utility that have a contemporary look but still with a touch of tradition, is our style of design. We have attempted to design products of everyday use that are made sincerely, with sustainable materials and also create work for women in need of work. Creating sustainable products is one of our important goals. Many of Ohrna's products feature a signature 3 lines of Kantha - the simple running stitch as an art form of eastern India. We apply kantha embroidery on jute and are proud to introduce embroidered jute to western markets.

Secondly, we line our products with cotton fabric and not plastic as is the unfortunate common practice in much of jute usage around the world.

We combine jute colors in interesting ways too, that give our designs a distinctive look. We use cotton webbing in most of our products and we use the strap colors as a design element to highlight the product.

Our designs are functional, so for example our laptop sleeves have a place for all the paraphernalia that typically go with carrying and using laptops, including a cell phone.

Creating sustainable products being our key goal, we often take everyday products and try to adapt jute to its design to make it sustainable. Both highlight fabrics we use in our products, ikkat and bandhni, give us a range of colors and designs and therefore lend themselves well to a variety of appearances and feel as well as custom designs in our products, to suit various tastes and preferences. 

Testimonials coming soon ...

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