Flea Markets and Backyards

Concept store owners and designers share their travel inspirations, and some unusual finds that you can spot at their boutiques now
Summer is upon us, asking for trips to cooler climes and popular beach destinations. But since not all of us have the luxury to hit the road, we bring you some vicarious action instead. We speak with people for whom travel is a constant inspiration. From taking us on a virtual tour of their stores — which is almost like travelling the world, as they showcase unusual finds from their journeys — to giving us tips on where to go (when we do find the time), designers and boutique store owners offer us something to take our minds off the heat.

Divya Kapoor, Nicobar

When you work for a brand that is inspired by the tropical way of life, a love of travel is a given. “As a traveller, I am a collector. I love going into small markets and shops, to discover unusual things,” says Kapoor, Nicobar’s head of design for travel. On a recent trip to Hong Kong, she recalls tracking down the China she had seen at a tea shop called Tea Kha, all the way to a small Japanese shop down an alleyway. At the Nicobar store, too, there are discoveries around every bend. Like the Travel Cupboard at the new Bengaluru outlet.

“The idea is to showcase little pieces from different parts of the world. A few months ago, when we had Safari as our inspiration, we had products from Africa. (Nicobar’s creative director) Simran’s sister, Tara, a wildlife conservationist, curated it for us, with bowls, spoons and bracelets from different tribes.” Currently, you will find indigo bowls from Japan and, going forward, even travel lists from the team. “Our next collection is China-inspired, and Simran has brought back some jewellery and flea market finds that will go into the cupboard,” she says.