Ohrna

Pune, 
India
http://www.ohrna.com
  • Booth: 1076

Ohrna’s rustic contemporary designs are organic & traditional-artisanal. Our handcrafted products in jute, a plant fiber combined with ikkat & bandhini are made by women seeking financial freedom.

Our designs: scarves, gift bags, planter holders, totes, pouches, backpacks, laptop bags 

Brands: Ohrna
 Ohrna means 'veil' in Bengali, a language of India's east. 
 With focus on use of plant fibers, a source of livelihood among rural women and packaging in up cycled materials, Ohrna believes in responsible design. Our range of bags, gift packaging, table napkins and much more, all using ikkat and bandhni fabrics combined with jute, which is a plant based sustainable material.


 Press Releases

  • Ohrna is an organization based in India, launched with a dream of helping rural women earn a living making handmade products from organic and sustainable materials. 

    Our goal is to help save the planet while also giving some of its poorest people a source of income, livelihood and pride. 

    Our products are made out of jute – a biodegradable, recyclable natural fiber – and are designed using India’s rich, time-honored handicraft traditions. 

    Ohrna proudly introduces embroidered jute to wider markets and uses jute because it is a natural vegetable fiber. 

    We provide free training and raw materials that enable women to work from home. One of our core objectives is creating financial freedom and self-worth among home-based women. This lets them balance their family and home commitments without needing to leave their villages.  

    Every Ohrna product therefore provides a woman with not just income, but a sense of self-belief.

    The meaning of Ohrna is ‘veil' in Bengali, a language of India's east. For a woman, an ohrna adorns her attire, provides her the grace and comfort she seeks and shields her from the harshness of the sun... 

    Ohrna is just over a year old. When profitable, we plan to turn over profits in benefit of makers and their families.

    So every Ohrna product brings many people – and our earth – closer to a better tomorrow.

    Founder: Jhumkee Iyengar: A people-centered product and experince designer, also a teacher, writer and presenter 

    Inspired by: Sharmila Sen, a fine arts graduate who worked tirelessly with this philosophy of financially empowering rural women for 24 years

    Facilitator: Mann Deshi Foundation, an organization that promotes rural women entrepreneurship

  • Ohrna products are specifically designed to make your life just that little bit easier.

    A tote that lets you keep your shoes or bottles separate from things you don’t want dirty or wet…A laptop sleeve with special pockets for your boarding pass, pen, paper and of course, your phone... A journal cover with an integrated penholder so you never have to worry about where that pen went… 

    Our designs are backed by a studied human-centered design sense and sensitivity that make our products as practical to use, as they are visually appealing.

    Ohrna's objective is to combine traditional crafts and organic materials to make innovative, contemporary products of daily life. 

    We do this while always keeping in mind not just ease of use and beauty for the customer but also the abilities of makers who typically start out not as artisans, but as housewives or farmers, often with very limited sewing or embroidery skills. Understanding their context gives a greater appreciation of the quality of their work, and also helps us design to ensure that quality.

    As all of our products are made by our rural women partners, our designs are not just easy to use – they’re easy to make and easy to teach as well! For example, all our bags are designed for manufacture as a ‘bag-in-a-bag’, to make the finishing so much easier to achieve with in-home sewing machines. 

    We are thus constantly seeking to balance our designs to be useful, practical, visually pleasing, marketable and yet within our makers' abilities that allows us to achieve the best possible handmade quality. 

    Our main design philosophy is that there is much beauty in simplicity! We’re always experimenting with different designs, patterns and colors to express our beliefs through our products...and that is what makes each one of them unique! 

    Considering design as a tool of Inclusion and global outreach, Ohrna presented at the Interaction Designers Association Education Summit in Lyon, France in Feb 2018 on the topic ‘Can Design with a Purpose Inspire the Underserved?’ 

    So an Ohrna product you buy will not just make your life easier… it’ll also make someone else’s life better.

    Ohrna believes in responsible design. Our focus is use of sustainable materials, employment of rural women, preservation of rich craft traditions and packaging in up cycled materials. 

    We train for free and often employ women with minimum skills. We design to customers' needs and also constantly adapt our designs for ease of making, for our makers. Many of our artisans are from Mann Deshi Foundation. 

  • Ohrna chooses to combine jute, the organic, plant-based fabric of Bengal....with the beautiful kantha style of embroidery from the same region. We patronize jute because it is a natural vegetable fiber, biodegradable, naturally decomposable and strong and durable. It is a wonderful and proven substitute for plastic. And Ohrna proudly introduces embroidered jute to a wider and global audience, using kantha on jute!  

    We generally use earthy colors in our choice of jute as well as in our other fabrics and in our embroidery, carrying forward the same organic and natural feel even when we combine jute colors in our products. 

    Much of the rustic look of our designs is courtesy beautiful organic jute. 

    Eastern India abounds in water bodies, the natural and unique environment for jute cultivation, hence this part of the world is home to jute plantation. 

    With our allegiance to jute, we also apply our organic philosophy in everything we do. For our journal with penholder for example, the paper is 100% handmade and recycled, originating from cloth and cotton waste and not trees. 

    This year, we also introduce elaborate kantha embroidery using age-old,  traditional tribal motifs, on silk stoles – our attempt at preserving this exquisite but dying tradition.   

    In continuing our organic philosophy and practices from start to end of our workflow, we package our products in up-cycled saris as well and very colorful ones too! We love it, as do our customers. And we have amassed quite a collection from our well-wishers! 

    With beautiful embroideries on jute, a natural vegetable fiber, recyclable and completely biodegradable yet strong and durable, Ohrna products thus promote both empowerment and environment preservation. Made by rural and home-based women, your purchase supports their journey to empowerment, and profits benefit their families.

    Ohrna believes in responsible design. Our focus is use of sustainable materials, employment of rural and home-bound women, preservation of rich craft traditions and packaging in up cycled materials. 

    We train for free and often employ women with minimum skills. 

    We design to customers' needs and also constantly adapt our designs for ease of making, for our makers. 

  • Ohrna’s leadership hails from a design background with an established process of going from concept to prototype to finished product. 

    However, we had to change many parts of the rulebook when it came to our makers -- our rural women partners, primarily because of a vastly different context. Our simplest designs and assumptions were sometimes not as simple as we had thought!

    Yet we learn from them even as we teach - not just about sewing and making but also about life! And they have played a big role in shaping the design journey of our products. 

    A journey to the village for a Maker’s Workshop™ involves a lot of planning. 

    First, detailing out our design concept, multiple prototypes and making methods. Then deciding how many of each design we want to make over two or three workshops, and finally cutting jute, our base material accordingly.

    Our prepackaged Maker’s Kit™ also involves coordinating fabrics and embroidery thread colors, a part we enjoy immensely, as we mix and match colors and textures to arrive at the right design. 

    Our training is free and we hand over pre-cut and ready-to-make kits to the ladies at the end of the workshop. There is always a lot of excitement to learn new designs!

    The first product we designed was our eco-sunglass case, which we thought would be quite easy to make but was a steep learning curve -- for them and for us. But the effort paid off and we found the perfect first customer – an ophthalmologist! 

    Our second product in our second workshop was a journal cover with an inbuilt penholder. The ladies first practiced on paper and then on rough cloth before switching to the final materials. Getting the dimension, alignment and overall perfection was quite a challenge, but we got there in the end. 

    As we ventured into making table runners at our third workshop and then table mats, penholders and even bags, our planning and preparation got more and more elaborate so even detailed products would be easier to make and teach. 

    Working with artisans in multicultural, multilingual India is fun. Instructions often have to be labeled in various languages and translated, sometimes getting lost in translation too! 

    But working with our Makers and understanding their needs has helped us make our products not just better and more beautiful but also meaningful for them. This is because we want our products to be made in their village homes and on their own time. ‘Easy to make’ has become one of Ohrna’s key tenets! 

    Ohrna believes in responsible design. Our focus is use of sustainable materials, employment of rural women, preservation of rich craft traditions and packaging in up cycled materials. 

    We train for free and often employ women with minimum skills. We design to customers' needs and also constantly adapt our designs for ease of making, for our makers. Most of our artisans are from manndeshifoundation.org

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