Spotlight Series #1: Meet the team behind The Essentials Story
Today we’re excited to introduce you to a few people behind The Essentials Story. Scattered around the world in three different continents, we bring you Salma Merchant Rahmathulla, the brand’s Miami-based Founder and Creative Director, Eszter Rakita, the Designer in London, and Vasudeo Alawani, the Designer/Production Coordinator in Nasik, India
Before we dive into our questions, how are you and your respective families doing?
Salma: All healthy and well thankfully
Eszter: We are also all doing well.
Vasudeo: I am good…and my family is doing great.
Well that’s great to hear. To start, Salma, what are some of your favorite travel destinations and what do you miss most about each of them?
Salma: I love traveling to Italy in the summer for some classic Dolce Far Niente. I also absolutely love going to New York City, a place that was home for a decade, for long weekends to eat at some of my favorite restaurants, explore my favorite museums, and feel the vibrant energy of the city. And of course, London and Mumbai are two of my absolute favorite places to visit for a much-needed dose of family and friends.
Eszter, what are you most looking forward to when things start reopening around London and the world?
Eszter: First of all, I’m looking forward to meeting my loved ones who I couldn’t see during lockdown. Then I would like to do all those things that we “normally” do – have a holiday, visit an exhibition at Design Museum and go to one of my favourite restaurants.
Salma, what has changed about the way you look at life now and how you live?
Salma: For me, I now prioritize and look forward to being around nature with my family. I realize the importance of constant movement and how it has become such a big part of my daily life, contributing so much to my sanity and general wellness. I also feel like I now understand what to prioritize and how to say no to certain things–both on a personal and professional level.
Vasudeo, how have you approached your new routine for everyday life in Nasik, India during these past few pandemic months?
Vasudeo: When you live in a country with 1.3 billion people, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing is quite difficult. It took a while to adapt to this new way of life. I guess the goal was always and continues to be “stay healthy and do not lose hope” which is encouraging.
Salma, what are some of the things keeping you entertained, motivated, and creatively inspired during the pandemic?
Salma: I have a slew of people that I look to for daily inspiration. I love Molly Slim’s relatable mum jokes. I look to Kanchan Koya and Elaine Weltheroth for keeping me current and sane with everything going on in the world. The Wonder for giving me ideas to entertain my kids. Suleika Jaouad’s Isolation Journals for keeping me grounded during this time, Alison Roman and Athena Calderone of Eyeswoon for helping me make our daily dinners around the table a joy. And last, but certainly not least, I am newly obsessed with Sleeper for making my at-home outfits feel like pure magic!
Eszter, what are some of your own self-discoveries that you’ve had during this time at home?
Eszter: During the lockdown I discovered my local area, long walks in nature and riding my bike on the quiet streets. That kind of slow and conscious existence helped me to reconsider what really matters in life. I learned that I don’t need many things to be happy but it is more important to be connected with inspiring people, my family and best friends.
Salma, with the launch of your first collection, what are some of the takeaways you want your customers to have when they purchase The Essential Pack?
Salma: We are beyond excited about our first chapter at The Essentials Story that came together in the middle of a Global Pandemic, across 3 regions and all on Zoom! It is fitting that our first collection came to life with 7 beautifully-designed packs, each uniquely inspired by global cities, nature and crafted for specific lifestyles. Ultimately, we want our customers to feel confident – confident that they are taking the necessary steps to be more responsible and health-conscious with their day-to-day routine as the world starts to reopen again.
We love that. It really is up to our global community to act a certain way to ensure that we get through it together. If each of you had to pick one pack in one color, what would it be?
Salma: I love the London in Sunset Orange.
Eszter: My pick would be the Tokyo in Hazy Morning Fog.
Vasudeo: The Rio in Mountain Green and the New York in Stormy Night.
And what would we find in your pack?
Salma: Obviously all my essential protective items, my phone, my credit cards, and a lipstick.
Eszter: My wallet, phone, keys and of course the face mask and hand santizer which have become my new essential accessories in my bag.
Vasudeo: All the essential items.
Each of you spent your quarantine in different cities. What were some of your highlights? I guess we all have to look at the bright side as much as possible these days.
Salma: We were fortunate to have great weather throughout our entire quarantine in Miami so we enjoyed a lot of bike rides in the neighborhood during the day, lots of creative projects with the kids in the afternoons, and some deep dives into children’s stories related to race, equality and inspiring life stories.
Eszter: London has also shown its bright and sunny side through the quarantine. I discovered London’s most beautiful parks like Holland Park or Hyde Park by bike. In the evenings I watched films and webinars and then on the weekends, I tried some new smoothie recipes.
Vasudeo: : I was with my friend staying with his family and had an absolutely great time. We each read several new books, flew kites, had fun laughs around the dinner table, and watched a few sunrises and lots of sunsets.
Did any of you take up new creative endeavours during this time?
Salma: Painting & creating our own cards, cooking up every craving in the kitchen. Also making “jewelry” with the kids has been a joy.
Eszter: Experimenting with new recipes and baking cakes.
Vasudeo: I started doing stippling again which is a technique that requires a lot of attention and focus so it helped keep me busy, avoiding negative anxious thoughts.
Salma, if you had to share your biggest lesson learned or your greatest takeaway from this pandemic, what would that be?
Salma: One thing is for sure. We cannot go back to the world that we had before this pandemic. I’m confident that the change we are implementing now and the collective action that communities around the world are taking will help create a better, more compassionate, progressive world. Each of us can make a difference in our communities, cities, and countries–especially when we do it together.
Cheers to that and cheers to a new, changed world. Thank you to your entire team for their collective passion and dedication to create this new platform and collection of products. We’re excited to see it go live and be shared with the world. Best of luck!