‘We stand out amidst the burgeoning home decor industry,’ says Naqiya Yusuf, RIT
Random In Tandem is a contemporary home décor accessories brand that is fun and functional. Shop InOnIt speaks to the dynamic founder Naqiya Yusuf as she juggles 3 kids and this fresh and urban brand.
As per your description, Random in Tandem (RIT) is a result of your experiences with international cultures and communities. Please elaborate.
I grew up in London, my parents are originally from Sri Lanka, I’ve studied in different parts of the Asian subcontinent, I live in India, my husband deals mostly with Americans and I have close family in Egypt and Kenya. Unconventionally, I got married very young and thus at 30, have a unique perspective into two generations – one as a wife & mother, and one as a young career woman.
This myriad collection of experiences and exposure to international cultures and communities has helped shaped my identity and molded me into who I am today. Random in Tandem will reflect that diverse history and taste and somehow, it all seems to sync! Basically, my products will showcase how the ‘Random’ in my life has come into ‘Tandem’ in ME.
When did the thought to start RIT come to your mind?
As I was completing my education through long distance learning from London (and delivering babies!), I also did a course in Home Furnishings in Mumbai and worked with Zeba’s Design Studio. I freelanced as a stylist for a couple of years, but then chose to take a sabbatical from work and studying when my third daughter was born. During that period, I renovated my own house and office and being European in my design sense, I couldn’t find any of the accessories I wanted in India! There was only high-end Italian, rustic, Far Eastern or quirky Indian kitsch. That was when RIT started really formulating in my mind (about two years ago). The design scene was also flourishing in India and many stores and online portals were launching offering shelf space to new, upcoming designers. The hardest part was coming up with a name for my brand, which conveyed everything I wanted it to!
You’re among so many like-minded designers on Shop InOnIt. What makes you stand out?
We believe our products are a refreshing change and we stand out amidst the burgeoning home decor industry in India which is over flowing with pop art and Indian kitsch. Our designs are different because they are minimalistic and clean in delivery and cater to a more global citizen, not bound by culture or country.
In an age where travel – real and virtual, has broken down barriers from all parts of the world, I think it is important to create objects which will appeal to people across the border. RIT creates stuff which anyone, anywhere can connect to.
Describe your products in one word.
Savvy! (Design savvy, thought savvy, functional savvy)
What is your personal favourite product from RIT?
I just love the ‘Im going Nuts!’ tin. For the visual, the concept, and the delivery – go nuts over nuts! Become nuts over health. Indians have very bad snacking habits where everything is deep fried and very sweet. I want to actively promote healthy snacking. Truthfully too, my husband, my dad, my brothers, my uncles – all deal in nuts so it’s very close to my heart! I also love the ‘Words Worth’ book ends and ‘Think Tank’ and ‘Smart Talk’ chalkboards as I am in awe of the power of the word.
Tell us how you conceptualize your designs.
My first love has always been English so most of my products are heavily influenced by words, quotes, letters and typography. Every product has to be evocative - something which must evict a smile or a thought.
I am also a mother and a home maker, so I’m always looking at getting more organized! Form follows function follows utility. My designs have to be high on usefulness, and not just the looks.
How are you liking the tie-up with Shop InOnIt so far?
I love Shop InOnIt’s website interface and overall look. It’s classy and fun at the same time. And the fact that it ships international is fabulous! There are dozens of e-commerce sites coming up every day, but very few are distinguished or specialized. Most of them dabble in everything. What I like about Shop InOnIt is that it stands out in its niche for selecting young lifestyle product designers who are creating awesome stuff for Gen Next Indians. It fits the mould where RIT wants to promote itself.
What would you like to own from Shop InOnIt?
I love the concept behind ‘No Nasties’ so definitely the tees. Also, the notepads from ‘LetterNote’ – no fuss! And even though I already have quite a few products from Happily Unmarried, they are fabulous, so definitely some more of their stuff!
What’s in the pipeline?
Water!! The fresh monsoon wind and rain is affecting everything around it, including us! We’ll be introducing contemporary, classy, fun stationery lines unlike what’s been seen before in India. Also, expect more variety in the mirrors and tins categories and an expanded portfolio in terms of cushions and desk accessories. We’ll also be focusing on adding to our line larger pieces like stools, poufs, bookshelves and dustbins by the end of the year. Get ready to up-fun, up-urban, and up-chic your homes!
As told to Suezelle D’Costa