Featured Designer – Shuba and Padmaja

Team Zaarga believes that its not enough to just bring beautiful products within your reach; but we also need to introduce to you the creative minds that work behind the beautifully designed products.  Our monthly ‘Featured Designer’ project has been one of our initiatives towards that goal.

Padmaja Venket Ram and Shuba Kuila of “The Indian Twist”

This month, we are happy to introduce to you Shuba and Padmaja, two advertising professionals in Chennai, who wanted to capture all that is uniquely Indian in “THE INDIAN TWIST” – unique Indian gifts with a twist – philosophical yet melodramatic, artistic also kitschy, superstitious & cynical, quiet, sensitive and loud all at once!  Read on to get to know these creative minds!

1. When did you start designing ?

We’re a team of two ad-professionals. Shuba Kuila is a copy writer basically & Padmaja Venket Ram is a graphic designer. Shuba founded & runs a design hot house, The Inkpot. Padmaja joined The Inkpot in 2003. We have been working together since then.

2. What led you to start designing décor accessories/stationery ?

During a really long lull time in work, we decided to do something together. Tossed around a few ideas & we finally had this brainchild – The Indian Twist. We design various accessories for the home and people with a quirky Indian twist. And we lean a bit more towards Chennai & it’s various quirks.

Are you a Sapattu Raman? Then, prove it! We dare you with these coasters that can drive you to gluttony!”  – Sapattu Raman Coasters by The Indian Twist

3.What is your favourite colour or theme?

Since we’re about all that’s quirky Indian, we tend to use bright, kitschy colours in our designs. 

4. What / Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?

India! Especially South India. The vibrant colours all around us and the crazy stuff that people do…

   5. Who is your Number One fan?

We have lots of people who are always on the look out for new products from us. There’s this lovely lady for whom we put together a set of crazy, quirky stuff for her brother’s nalangu function (traditional custom in Tamil Brahmin weddings) – Specially painted Bakasura Tissue Box, Nala Damayanthi Apron, etc which are not usually part of a Nalangu set. She keeps in touch with us still and often gets a sneak preview of our new products too. She’s undoubtedly our number one fan! 

Somehow Ravana didn’t quite make a mark with Sita. In his new Avatar with the Indian Twist, he does try to make a mark with you. Go ahead, try his mug. it isn’t so bad after all!”  – Ravana Mug from The Indian Twist

6. What are the best aspects of your work that you enjoy the most?

We enjoy every part of it. Brainstorming on ideas, designing them and the high of the design resulting in something tangible…  all of them are thoroughly enjoyable. 

7. What do you consider the biggest challenge you face today related to your work or design in general?

For us, the biggest challenge is executing ideas. For instance, when we started off, we had so many ideas in metal. We couldn’t execute even one because we just didn’t find someone who could work with us & even when we did, they wanted huge orders… So lots of our good ideas are shelved only because we couldn’t get someone to execute it for us. 

You have to gift this one to your bearded, broken-hearted friends. But don’t forget to fill it up and watch his spirits soar! ”  – Devdas Beer Mug from The Indian Twist

 8. Is there any design of yours you consider your best? Which one is it and why?

It’s very difficult to choose a favourite! We’ve put in so much of thinking into each one that it’s unfair to choose just one! 

9. What is your vision for your work and design?

Every Indian Twist product should be something colourful, fresh, irreverant, Indian and bring a smile on the person who picks it up.


“Hey! Jalebis, Samosas and Chaats can wait. Feast your eyes on our delicious Dieter’s Coasters. That way you can stick to your Diet and still have a blast!” – Dierters Coasters from The Indian Twist!

10. Your thoughts on Zaarga…..?

A credible online portal for designers like us who are not big, yet tend to be selective about where our products are seen…

Check out “The Indian Twist” store on Zaarga to see all their quirky products, and we bet it will bring a smile on your face or even make you burst out in laughter! We wish Shuba and Padmaja a great innnings with The Indian Twist and hope to see all their great ideas take shape as great products!

Team Z

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