Haresh Mirpuri On How Aranyani Is Changing The Luxury Handbag Game

Photo Credit: Aranyani

The name Aranyani means Goddess of the Forest and is the perfect encapsulation of the beautiful accessories made by Haresh Mirpuri’s company of the same name. The name’s origin comes from Haresh’s belief that every person his company comes across, whether employee or customer, must be treated as well as a god, and that their product must be packaged and done immaculately for every customer. 

Haresh Mirpuri founded the Indian luxury handbag brand Aranyani in 2016 with the mission of creating a brand that would spread Indian artistry and the message of sustainability across the world. Haresh spent more than 20 years in the textile industry, but after witnessing the mass overproduction and over-consumption in fashion, he decided to create a luxury brand of his own. He runs the company under three main principles: service, awareness, and inclusivity, that come from the ancient Indian texts, The Veda. 

Haresh Mirpuri recently sat down (virtually) with Haute Living to discuss fair labor practices, the new Fluidity collection, and his vision for Aranyani’s, and luxury fashion’s, future. 

Photo Credit: Aranyani

Haute Living: How has COVID-19 affected Aranyani’s business? 

Haresh Mirpuri: We said, you know what? Everybody is sitting at home, let’s say this is a God-given opportunity to improve the way we communicate digitally. So we first concentrated on bringing awareness to prospective customers. Then, the next thing we did was start atelier tours. We called upon editors or owners of boutiques or pop-ups and gave them a virtual tour of Aranyani. We wanted to showcase what we were doing.

We also refused to cut anyone’s salary. We wanted to sustain everybody. We provided what we call the Covid-19 insurance, not only for them but for their spouse, their children, and their parents. So that gave them faith in me, and if they have faith in me then they’ll do the best job. So for us, it’s been a very interesting journey and we didn’t want to be afraid of this situation. We said, let’s face it head-on, let’s take it with a smile, and let’s hope everybody sees what this kind of brand can really do. 

HL: Tell me about the Fluidity collection and the meaning behind it.

HM: I think it was honestly inspired by what happened [in 2020]. The first two months I was looking around and saying “How do I deal with the situation where I don’t know what’s next?” My father, who’s been my biggest mentor in business, always said that you really have to go by the inner voice, your gut feeling and for that to happen, you have to remain calm. My son, my wife, and I used to have coffee every morning in the apartment in Jakarta and we saw how beautiful the sunrise and the sunset was, and every day we sat out to watch because it was so inspiring, 

Being tranquil, which is represented by the temple that you see in our collection, is a very important state. And the other state that we notice is that from the beginning of sunrise to the ending of sunset there is this beautiful orange, and orange also represents creativity. So, keep your creativity alive while remaining in a state of tranquility every single day, and that’s the state of Fluidity.

Photo Credit: Aranyani

HL: You had been in the textile industry for 20 years before starting this luxury business. What was your reason for switching over to luxury? 

HM: Being exposed to manufacturing, I never understood the concept of overconsumption, it’s like an unending cycle. In India, we had what is called small-scale manufacturing centers. In these you do mostly vegetable dyes, you value artisans and craftsmen, and you do all the best embroideries. I wanted to cover how we can do small-scale manufacturing in an efficient way. So that’s where mass manufacturing brought me to small-scale manufacturing in Aranyani. 

HL: You are a proponent for fair labor throughout India and the Southeast Asia area. What is your company doing differently in that respect? 

HM: Aranyani does it completely differently, and we have math behind it. We watched what a leather craftsman is paid in Paris. We compare the PPP level between Bangalore and Paris and depending on the efficiencies they achieve, they are matched to the same standards as Paris. We are driven by high quality because my people are high quality and we elevate them to that standard. I always say, the difference between them and me is nothing but the level of exposure. God gave me the opportunity to be born of parents who gave me a lot of exposure to the world and to what luxury is about. So the only difference compared to me is exposure. 

We also remove their inhibitions that they come from slave labor. They are human beings, respectable craftsmen. I always tell them, “Why do you think you can’t eat in a five-star hotel? Now, you’re earning well and you should be able to!” So we literally go down to teaching them how to use the cutlery and how to eat. It’s a whole lifestyle we’re exposing them to. And that makes us completely different from any other company in the world. I feel proud that I can take them anywhere, and they fit in, and that for me is very important. 

HL: What do you see for the future for Aranyani?

HM: I think Aranyani will be the leading accessory company born out of India in the luxury segment. I truly see that. And I think now the next level is to expose our quality to the world, and that’s where we’re taking it. 

HL: Is there anything that you hope to see changed in the future throughout the luxury industry? 

HM: I do miss the good times when we used to have to fly to Paris or New York just to buy a Chanel bag. It’s different. Luxury is special. The reason for the existence of luxury is because it patronized great craftsmen, it patronized great artisans. I hope and I always wish that luxury continues to be patronized by the whole world, by the global consumer, and into the luxury industry, patronizing the craftsmen and artisans that work for it.

Photo Credit: Aranyani