Introducing Priyanka's Picks! Let's meet Priyanka!
We’re introducing something exciting at wicker emporium. It’s called Priyanka’s Picks and it is a new way for us to showcase the extraordinary! All of the furniture and home décor pieces selected for Priyanka’s Picks are unique, sometimes exotic, and always tell a story, which is exactly why Priyanka wants to share them with you!
As the wicker emporium Marketing Director and former Buyer for the company, Priyanka has a natural flair for fashion, design and home décor. The energy and passion she has for her work is inspiring and contagious.
Now when you walk into our stores, you’ll see a new purple tag on some items. This is the Priyanka’s Pick tag. The new tag identifies the item or collection as being one that Priyanka has chosen to highlight. We caught up with Priyanka recently and asked her a few questions.
What was it like growing up in New Delhi?
I had an awesome childhood growing up in India. I feel lucky to have had a confident upbringing with strong family ties. I have many wonderful cousins and extended family as well as exceptional parents who loved my brother and I unconditionally. In my youth I studied dance and fortunately made many life-long friends. It was a very happy childhood.
I studied Sociology after secondary school. Like many of my friends, I lived with my parents while attending to my studies. During this time I never seemed to have any money of my own really, just pocket change and the occasional allowance from my parents.
Like any youngster I loved to look trendy and longed for edgy clothes, shoes, and bags. Here I was faced with the challenge of looking great on a shoestring budget.
I became a very resourceful shopper and was able to find the hidden gems buried under mounds and mounds of not-so-desirable products at the bustling local markets. Sifting through the chaos to find affordable, yet totally awesome things to wear or decorate with was such a rush! I didn’t realize it fully at the time, but you could say that I had a natural eye for picking up on trends.
Why did you move to Canada?
I met my husband Raj Kapahi in Delhi. He was in India attending the Delhi trade show as a buyer for his family’s furniture business. His aunt and my aunt introduced us and within the span of a few short months we fell in love, got engaged, got married, and flew off to what felt like the coldest place on earth!
I was 25 when I moved to Canada in 2009. Moving to Canada was a big change for me, as it is for any immigrant. Halifax was a lot darker and colder, the food was very strange and socially things were different here – compared to India. Needless to say, I experienced some intense culture shock. That said Nova Scotia is beautiful and pristine. I have experienced many interesting and wonderful things here that I would not have if I stayed in India. I have adjusted to the cold and dark, the people here are very friendly, and to satisfy my spicy side I just keep green chillies in my pocket.
Raj and I now have two children, Arianna who is four and Siddharth who is two and half. We visit my family in India at least once a year so they can learn about where I came from and about their family’s culture.
When did you start working for wicker emporium?
I started working for wicker emporium as a buyer immediately after moving to Canada. When I joined the team, it was a completely different company. We mainly sold home accents and small furniture pieces. Our store locations tended to be small spaces in mall settings. So much has changed in six short years. We now sell a large variety of solid wood furniture and an array of home décor. We follow the hottest trends in the industry, offering our customers a wide variety and style selections. Our stores have changed too, we are now located in larger spaces, in more of a business park setting.
Since joining the team, I’ve been a part of many achievements. I helped with the launch of the new website, the addition of e-commerce and Canada-wide online sales, the opening of stores in new markets, and changing the store design to make for a more comfortable customer experience.
By far my greatest pleasure at wicker emporium is being able to work with my family. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work with my father in law, Madan Kapahi, the Founder and CEO of the company. He’s a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, and experience. My husband Raj is the COO of the company. He is also my anchor and my guru. We have different perspectives and opinions yet we work very well together, playing off each others strengths.
What or who inspires you?
I’m focused on keeping in-tune with emerging trends in home décor. I travel to places like Germany, France, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and America attending a number of trade shows to keep myself current. I also get a lot of inspiration from talented people in the industry.
People like Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper share a similar look and feel to our brand. She has a style that is natural, simple, raw, and beautiful. Other trend-setters that inspire me are Sarah Richardson, Colin & Justin and Samantha Pynn. Shows and publications from HGTV, House & Home, Cottage Life, Houzz and Etsy are also incredible resources for home décor trends. They all keep me inspired!
What’s next for wicker emporium?
There is so much to talk about! Since we opened in the 1970’s our clients have come to expect unique products that are sophisticated, intriguing and affordable.
Our goal is to continue to offer great value and exciting promotions to our customers. We’re interested in showcasing the exceptional quality of our unique products, sharing interesting product stories and engaging with our customer’s in-store and online for an unmatched shopping experience.
In 2016 and 2017 look For:
• Custom finishes and fabrics;
• Improved product display and customer experience;
• The addition of sofas and a wider selection of beds;
• A wider selection of handmade and one-of-a-kind products;
• Interactive tags and signs in-store for your smart phone;
• Interior decorating consultation services;
• An improved online shopping experience; and much more!
My goal specifically as Marketing Director is to let Canadians know that wicker emporium is a hidden gem in the market place. Many people end up paying double for the same or similar product simply because they haven’t discovered the quality and value we offer. I’m also tremendously excited and completely honoured by the creation of Priyanka’s Picks. It’s such a fun way for me to share my passion. Looking forward to watching this grow in 2016. I hope you’ll join me!