During the Sydney LOCKDOWN, International student Ishita Khaitan and her friend Liz La Cava were craving to do something innovative.
Ishita says she is a person who likes being productive. So the duo, who have many things in common from drawing to creative writing and a shared love for Indian culture, joined hands to help someone in India, who needed funds for his treatment.
“Ishita’s relatives actually know someone back in India who was very ill as a result of Covid-19 related complications, and there was a charity initiative to raise money to help support his treatment,” says Liz.
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The two started making and selling greeting cards to raise money.
“We were hand drawing and selling to people to raise money to help fund his treatment. So it kind of just came from there. We weren’t thinking about starting a business at all. However, we both have a bit of a creative streak, and we like to draw, paint, write poems etc. So we bond over that as well, and the idea to start a business came from family and friends,” Liz explains.
The idea has now blossomed into a business called Mirchi Merch.
“I love to try new things, and Mirchi Merch is an extension of that personality. I felt like I couldn’t find relatable content in Australia, which is why Mirchi Merch is an important part of me as. Because I am proud of my culture, and I want other people to see that as well,” says Ishita, who hails from Kolkata in India.
Liz and Ishita design T-Shirts using ‘quirky Desi humour reflecting the unique Indian culture.
“We do all the designing in-house ourselves. So they’re all original creative creations made by us in Australia reflecting the unique Indian culture, and we have found a great supply partner over in India who will produce for us and print the graphics and then ship them over to us,” explains Liz, who is of Italian parentage.
Accountant Ishita and Liz, a marketing professional, thought about getting their T-shirts produced in China as well, but ‘it was neither viable nor aligned with their values.’
“We did explore the China path, but it didn’t work from a financial standpoint. But, it didn’t align with our values either. We really wanted the T-shirts to come from India,” says Liz, who has not been to India yet but desperately waiting for the pandemic to be over so that she can pack her bags to see the country she has loved all her life.
A young woman of Italian heritage joins hands with an Indian girl to create something for the Australians. An Indian origin girl partnering with a girl of Italian parentage to bring a piece of India to Australia.
Perhaps that is what makes Australia the world’s most successful multicultural society.