Who we are, how we got here, and why we do
what we do...
OUR STORY, IN A NUTSHELL...
The Burlap People is the dreambaby of Samriddh Burman, known far and wide as Sam, and now more fondly as
Samriddh attended Luther College in the US Midwest and while there was exposed to ideas of sustainability, green living and a conscious lifestyle. His family had run a jute business in Calcutta for three decades, so on returning to these shores, Samriddh put together his new learnings and the knowledge of and access he had to jute and dreamt up the idea of The Burlap People. When he began he knew just two things:
Chief as a young Jujubee with Nur da in the early days.
1) He wanted it to be sustainable and contribute to the world in a positive way.
2) He wanted it to be different from everything that already existed in the market.
Finding his head craftsman Nuruddin and convincing people it would work were the hardest parts and in the early days Sam was often distracted by bacon jam or his quest for a yoga teacher but he persevered and eventually found his way. Today Sam has less time for his other passions like watching late night Barcelona matches, or cooking up a storm (there's nothing he loves more than the smell of ginger, onions and garlic on a pan), but thanks to the nature-lovin', slow livin' lifestyle he insists TBP promotes, he still manages to spend some time in the mountains, listening to Ali Farka or the sound of rain, with a woman sans makeup and a fresh cup of coffee. Something you may not have known about Chief is that he started life as professional tennis player, and still swoons over Federer's backhand.
He gave it all up to start The Burlap People of course, a journey that seriously kicked off when he found Karuna Ezara Parikh, also now known to The Burlap Fam as
When Karuna met Sam he showed her a 4x5 foot room that contained a few rolls of high quality jute, a sewing machine and one craftsman. She spent a day designing the first bag with him, and on seeing the finished product, was sold on the concept. A year later she moved cities from Delhi to Calcutta and signed on to being a forever part of The Burlap People. When she's not lighting up the TBP HQ, Firefly (also an erstwhile travel show anchor for television) is busy modelling for campaigns but more happily, spending her time at bookshops, reading, writing poetry, eating, doing yoga, being breathtakingly in love and watching pit-bull puppy videos on Instagram. As you can probably tell, Chief Jujumahn and Firefly are both colossal dreamers with their heads in the clouds on most days, so it was pretty serendipitous when Sam said he had a friend called Rewant Lokesh. Also known as
The Gray Wolf.
Rewant was the last of the core three members to join, and in many ways he was what finally pulled The Burlap People's hiking socks up. An alumnus of the ultimate peace keeper school - United World College - he met Chief Jujumahn while they were both studying at Luther College. They joined forces again when Gray finished his MBA and Sam asked if he would haul ass with him at The Burlap People for a few months. A year later the corporate world has been safely forgotten, the Wolf lives in Calcutta not Bombay, and the most essential colour at the workshop is cool gray.
On his bad days, Gray turns fairly wolf-like, but here's a secret - his bark is worse than his bite. Offer him some bacon or butter chicken and you'll see that grin light up. On his good days you'll find him at his beloved Burlap People HQ playing Bob Marley or Pink Floyd, demanding Grandma's okra for lunch, and dreaming of the mountains. On his best days, he's in the mountains, singing love songs under the stars, a shaggy dog by his side, and all kinda mushrooms on his mind. But it's time we introduce you to the main man. Meet Nuruddin, also known as
The Master Craftsman.
Nuruddin chilling at the workshop with his babies.
Nuruddun is Sam's genius find, the guy who makes the magic happen. He often boasts he can "make any bag in the world" and the rest of Team Burlap don't mess with that statement. An artist in the true sense of the word he is happiest when creating new designs and styles or attacking custom requests with passion. An erstwhile football player, this boss man disappears from work from time to time to spend a few hours kicking a ball about. He doesn't admit it, but he wouldn't be able to survive without his boys, also known as
The guys who make the magic happen. Who handstitch each damn bag. Who play the good tunes, who put their love into every bag.
From left to right - (Top Row) Usman, Rofiq, Salam, Moni, (Bottom Row) Shahabuddin, Tinku, Mintu, Jehangir
This is Core Team Burlap, mostly laughing, always entertaining and craft elves extraordinaire. But they wouldn't run as smoothly as they do if it weren't for the administrative team, now known as
From left to right that's Pranita, Majida, Sanghamitra and Bapi. Pranita is the backbone of The Burlap People, often the reason why things actually work around here. Majida is the pro bag inspector, ensuring quality control with a peaceful smile at all times. Sanghamitra is the reason mails get answered, people get any and every customisation they want, and your bags reach you looking just like you want 'em to. And Bapi. No one has figured out what Bapi does yet but he is essential to TBP and we are constantly fighting the clouds for his dreams and his time.
And here finally we must mention the late great
Fresh Prince of Burlap, Felix.
RIP founding member of the burlap clan.
Your legacy lives on through the countless animals across the globe who send us their #FriendsOfFelix posts.
Image of The Prince by Rune Storetvedt, taken just after the His Highness completed grooming himself for the royal portrait. This image was later embossed upon his kingdom's currency to commemorate his first birthday.