Looking for a quirky handmade clutch to go with your summer dress or a beautiful Warli Art coaster for your coffee table? Head to SMILE, a quaint little handicraft store at Sadashiv Peth that houses a variety of items created and designed by almost 4,000 underprivileged women in and around the city. A brainchild of former Mayor Vandana Chavan, Savitri Marketing Institute For Ladies Empowerment (SMILE) believes in fashion with a cause. In the year 2000, SMILE started as a small institution with 4,000 volunteers imparting skill-based education to women below poverty line. Eventually, the organisation grew to become a small handicraft store inside one of the sections at Vishrambaug Wada, displaying organic and indigenous products handcrafted by budding women entrepreneurs. Currently, the store is situated at Sadashiv Peth, inside Vishrambaug Wada (a part of the wada is given to the store).
Getting back to their product portfolio, every item for sale is unique and aims to promote Maharashtrian culture by generating employment opportunities for the less-privileged. The best part about shopping at Smile is you won’t find a duplicate of a product. Starting at INR 50, the items feature everything from tote bags to jewellery boxes, coasters, photo frames, laptop skins, file holders, vases, accessories and more.
We couldn’t take our eyes off the canvas bags, starting at INR 200, made from Khann fabric and boasting of intricate designs and stitches. We loved their collection of wallets made of Paithani, a variety of handloom saree originated from the Maharashtrian city of Aurangabad. Multi colour and vibrant with elegant mirror and patch works, these wallets and clutches come for INR 1,500. If you’re looking for pretty little sling bags with tassels and block prints, Smile is the place to be. Their range of sling bags, starting at INR 50 a piece, is not just classy but very durable, some which are made of waste cloth materials! Smile has a tiny but a dedicated section for accessories, exhibiting an array of beaded jewellery, Khann necklaces, handcrafted earrings and bracelets, ranging between INR 200 and INR 3,000.
What more? Don’t forget to check out their collection of photo frames, coasters and key chains that come in various shapes, sizes and colours, starting at INR 100. Looking a little something for your bedside table? The vases, starting from INR 180, in the hues of mud red, indigo, vermilion and yellow will definitely catch your eyes.