It is a quaint name for a quaint brand. Homegrown brand, The Purple Turtles, is making waves in all the right places—from decking up homes with its contemporary accessories to lighting up web major Amazon’s king-sized office in Bengaluru with 10-foot diameter fixtures. In a decade since inception, the Bengaluru-based brand has evolved into an eclectic destination for customised light fixtures, decor accessories and special furnishings.
Interestingly, founder-director Radeesh Shetty’s ‘en-lightening’ stems from an incident over a decade ago when he and a friend were combing the market for decorative lights to refurbish her home. “It took almost no time to realise that the lighting market was limited to mass-produced ‘Made in China’ fixtures, or extremely high-end designer brands from Europe,” recalls the entrepreneur and self-taught lighting designer. “Clearly, there was a large consumer base looking for good lighting at affordable prices that wasn’t being catered to,” Shetty recalls. Quick to rise to the fore, he grabbed the opportunity and The Purple Turtles came into being in 2009.
Along with his friend, Gaurav Rai, and acclaimed lighting designer Jenny Pinto (reputed for her work with sustainable materials), Shetty set up a definitive platform for local talent in the light fixtures business. The first starter advantage paid off and The Purple Turtles soon began to find takers in companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook and Ericsson.
Why the name Purple Turtles? “Purple is the colour of opulence and prosperity. Turtles are attracted to light and stand the test of time,” explains Shetty simply. “Further, our customers are individuals with a global view. They look beyond and appreciate the finer nuances of life. They are comfortable in their own skin, and stand untethered by labels. Curious, exploratory, with a keen understanding of sheer craftsmanship and design, they tend to be trendsetters and influencers.” Understandably, metropolitan cities, including Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai, account for a large percentage of the sales.
At the moment, the Purple Turtles catalogue covers an ingenious array of lighting fixtures, furniture pieces, soft furnishings, beautiful rugs, intriguing artefacts, tableware, and even planters. The bestsellers abound in the sustainable range from Oorjaa — chandeliers, planters, furniture, mirrors and artefacts.“The biggest challenge has been larger players in the same industry, with deeper pockets in terms of advertising and marketing. We have grown organically so far and it has been a satisfying journey,” confesses Shetty. “We are consistently getting new products to the store as well, in keeping with the trends and evolving needs of our buyers.” Powered by a team of 80 people, Shetty curates new collections through his interaction with architects and designers, going by trends and availability of newer materials, tacit needs and ingenuity.
“Our flagship store in Indiranagar, Bengaluru, is an experience centre: an extremely eclectic treasure trove with a multitude of options to explore. We have brought in curious pieces in eco-friendly materials such as paper, faux concrete, cork, reclaimed wood. The idea is to adapt to the constant change,” says Shetty. Meanwhile, the gameplan is to move ahead on retail expansion locally. Then into other cities, while intensifying online present inspiration at The Purple Turtles comes from nature, travel, people, and yes, “the need to constantly surprise and delight clients with an on-trend, transformative product offering, that balances vintage classic with shabby chic, and sustainable with the superlative,” says Shetty. “We consider ourselves in the last mile of home décor, aiming to offer our customers lighting, furniture, artefacts and home furnishings, all under one roof.”