From Hobby to Venture - The Pendi Story is unique as it can get
Updated: Mar 26
1) Tell us how it all began and Pendi ’s journey so far ?
It started quite by accident. I had a few designs in mind for lampshades for our home when my husband and I got married. Our friends and family liked it and wanted it made for them. Eventually more people saw it at their houses and requested for it. Realizing that there is a demand for lampshades, I designed a few more, made stock and placed them in my store room. We later created PENDI on Facebook and from a hobby it gradually grew into a full time business.
2) If you were asked to name 3 concepts that revolves around your brand what would they be?
We are a homeware store but primarily we are also a creative hub of designers. I have a group of young designers and artists who I collaborate with and all of them have studied design or art in some form and is engaged with it. We are all collectively supporting each other to grow each other’s businesses. In doing so we are experimenting and trying to find out new things and offer something new for the industry. There are many graphic designers, artists, print and fashion designers working with us.
Secondly most of our products have some kind of Sri Lankan element to it. We are proud of our roots and we try to use material, crafts or skills that is unique to Sri Lanka, reinvent it and produce something that hasn’t been done before. We take a traditional craft make it contemporary and relevant to our modern lifestyle so that even after 10-15 years people can still use it in their homes without the fear of it been outdated.
Thirdly it is personal. All of the designers who work here at Pendi, including myself, take a lot of pride in each other’s work as it represents a personal journey. Every single one of us put in a lot of hard work, heart and soul into what we do. The designers themselves travel to many places like Pamunuwa, Wewaldeniya to pick the right material for their designs. This way we are engaged in the entire process from the beginning to the end. We always take care to include the ideas of our customers because they will have an idea which is unique to them and we do our very best to clearly identify that and incorporate it into a piece of art.
3)How do influences from Sri Lanka find their way into your work? Any collaborations you work with?
Like I mentioned before we have a lot of the Sri Lankan influence. Batik is one of the things we’ve been trying to reinvent and work with since the inception of Pendi. We use batik, cane, rope, simple material like jute and even cement for the cement lamps; a piece that people love and come back for. The skills of the craftsmen that we work with, brass and the iron work, the clay and the ceramic it’s all stemming from Sri Lankan crafts and designs.
The first collaboration we did was with Salt.
We did a collection of bed spreads, pillow cases, lamp shades, a few sofas and coffee tables. We looked at batik which is traditionally taken for clothes as to how it could be used in home ware design by slightly detaching it from the way it was used back in the day.
4) Where do you generally draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration for me comes from everywhere in everyday things. When I see something, travel somewhere or even when I eat something for the first time. My husband sometimes would find it humorous about the way I draw my inspiration for creating lamps and we have a good laugh about it.
True enough it comes naturally and spontaneously and you got to be open to it. In my opinion the more experience you get the more you learn to look at things differently.
5) An interior design studio of one of a kind, what does Pendi offer to it’s customers?
What’s important to me is that each design is personal. We do a lot of custom orders. If a customer wants a lamp for their house, we try to incorporate their style to fit their home. We receive orders for hotels as well for various architectures and designers. At Pendi, we are able to cater to the person’s individual style.
Similarly with interior design each project is looked at accordingly to reflect the client’s aesthetics and lifestyle. One of our key strengths is that we have so many designers with different backgrounds and experiences that add value to the end result. So if you were to walk into Pendi, we will definitely find something to suit your requirement.
6) What do you think about the homeware design line in Sri Lanka and how does Pendi maintain it’s competitive edge?
Design itself is steadily growing in Sri Lanka. Pendi is trying to do something more related to the Sri Lankan lifestyle - one that reflects how we live, how we are bought up and elements which are very close to our hearts. We always try to be better and bring in something new each year that sets the bar higher and that’s our challenge.
All of our designers meet up very frequently and we do limited collections. Like with fashion we have spring-summer and autumn-winter collections. Once that sells out we don’t repeat it, we might do a variation of it or a completely new set of different designs.
7) Where would you like to see Pendi in the coming years and any unveiling that we could expect soon?
I want Pendi to be a brand that people will know and are comfortable with. We encourage people to walk in and have a chat with us on what ideas they want to include into their homes. I want Pendi to be known as a design hub where constant innovation to design and art takes place. And I hope that throughout the years we will be able to stay true it.