Beauty in a Box
Devina Singhania’s packaging brand, le JAHAN, doesn’t simply wrap gifts or box up products. She creates an entire world of love, excitement and joy that redefines the process of unravelling a gift.
Text: Benaifer J Mirza
They say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. But aren’t we all guilty of judging what’s inside a gift box from the way it is wrapped? A classy bow here, a pretty knot there, that dainty floral decoration… they all add to the entire gifting or packaging experience. Ever seen a cake that is so pretty that you just don’t have the heart to cut it? A beautifully wrapped gift is more or less the same. It’s so perfect and pretty that, at times, you don’t even have the heart to unstring that ribbon. That’s the magic of packaging!
But how often do we actually make the effort to create that magical suspense? We just wrap the gift or product in the typical boring, conventional way and literally kill the charm of an otherwise exciting gift item or product.
Devina Singhania sensed this gap in the gifting and packaging experience and launched le JAHAN. ‘Le’ means ‘the’ in French and ‘Jahan’ translates to ‘world’ in Persian, and both the words come together to give the brand its name—le JAHAN, meaning ‘The World’. It’s the world of innovative concepts, exciting designs and, above all, a whole new refined and sophisticated way of gifting and packaging.
le JAHAN’s brand philosophy is to produce quality products that are innovative and have a design sense that exudes luxury. The brand’s offerings currently include packaging solutions for tea, jewellery, food, gifts and silver items.
Singhania belongs to a family of successful business minds who have always encouraged entrepreneurship. After schooling from Carmel Convent, she went to The British School for A-levels and then studied Business, Economics, and Art History from Boston University. The multi-talented girl is a sports enthusiast too and has been a part of and led several sports teams and associations for curling (a team sport that involves sliding stones towards a target area, on a rectangular pebbled sheet of ice) and tennis. During her college years, she was also involved with the art history and accounting associations, where she worked on taxes for low income families for the State of Boston. After college, she apprenticed under Mrs Rupika Chawla at her studio, restoring art, and trained under her father, Sanjeev Dalmia, in his business, and then finally launched her dream project, le JAHAN.
Singhania belongs to a big family and has thus been exposed to other areas through her family members. One of her many hobbies is photography, to pursue which she has done courses from the New England School of Photography and then from The New School – Parsons, New York, mainly focussing on the areas of night and analog photography, where she used to shoot and then develop her photos in a darkroom. Her other interests include an immense love for food, which, as she aptly puts, helps her bond with her family and other people. She also enjoys singing and is a part of a choir. These apart, she also loves to travel and experience new tastes and new things, which further inspire her concepts.
Speaking about what inspired her to start something so unique, Singhania says, “I have always had a keen interest in packaging. We launched le JAHAN in 2012, with a passion and deep appreciation of presenting things in a way, so that even one look at a gift or object would be enough to make its receiver happy. One of the major reasons behind creating le JAHAN was the lack of availability of this experience. And the other was my strong belief in ‘Make in India’. We don’t need to import stylish items; we can produce them too, and promote homegrown quality products. They are beautiful enough for the rest of the world to import from India.”
Interestingly, the brand has exported to several parts of the world and is now coming to India, its homeland. The thought process of creating something exceptional and personal is what makes the brand so distinct.
Of course, like any other start-up, le JAHAN too went through its teething phase which was marked with quite a few challenges. Since nobody in the family was involved in this sector, it took some time for Singhania and her team to master the technical processes. She admits that there was a lot of trial and error and that even today they keep experimenting on a regular basis. The brand’s current challenges include assessing different markets and being able to cater to the needs of those markets, be it in terms of the colour of the products, or the items themselves.
The six long years of the brand’s presence in the market have taught Singhania many lessons and much otherwise, one of the greatest lessons being that there is no substitute for hard work and patience.
Behind the box
Speaking about the brand’s designs and products, Singhania shares, “The French and Italian ateliers’ sense of design, innovation and simplicity inspires our brand. We create packaging that is defined by age-old luxury and classic design. We produce premium wooden packaging only, which when combined with an array of colours and constructions, gives a modern take to timeless designs, thus infusing a touch of nostalgia.”
With offices in Mumbai and Delhi, le JAHAN is currently available offline only and by appointment, as all the orders are custom made. However, plans to launch a website with some of the brand’s best-selling products are in the pipeline. The products are manufactured at Singhania’s atelier in the NCR region.
Inspirations and more
So, where does she look for inspiration? “Just about anywhere and everywhere,” she replies. Singhania has a keen eye for detail and is able to imbibe the intricacies and details of everything around her, be it when she is travelling, reading a book, meeting artistes and seeing and experiencing their work, or just by being in the midst of nature. She feels inspired at every moment. And, may we say, she is as inspiring, too!
Talking about future plans, Singhania says, “In the next five years, I would like to see le JAHAN in everyone’s home and heart! The first thing that should come to mind when you’re gifting should be le JAHAN, a brand that stands for elegant design and luxury. The giver as well as the receiver should feel proud of the product.”
Whosoever had ever thought of wrapping a gift or something as mundane as a box of tea to give it irresistible appeal with some out of the box thinking.