Why did I want to open a physical location for Masala My Life? After all, online shopping is the future and e-commerce is growing. And for somewhat of a “niche” brand, being online makes perfect sense for us, which is of course why we launched as a website in 2019.
But there was something elusive that I’ve been seeking since right after we started. I wanted a place/brand for South Asian Americans to be seen — as Americans with a South Asian cultural overlay. I wanted a place like the shops in the South where we have our Southern inside jokes, with sweet tea and barbecue tea towels and beach life and pink monograms and 1000 cultural references that allow us to be Southern and American.
I wanted to go somewhere and relate to everything — in an American way.
Despite our increased ability to be virtual in so many ways, sometimes tangible is just that — a true presence, a vibe, a joy.
The shop at Painted Tree is just that. A unique spot in a sea of shops that calls out with a South Asian American insistence. Something that doesn’t look like the Indian grocery store or your standard Indian restaurant. Yes, there’s a mandala, but it’s on a map of the United States. And yes there are saris — but upcycled in the form of headbands, scrunchies and earrings. And a wineglass with a saying? And mango lassi, in a candle, and chai, in a chocolate bar.
The physical presence isn’t just for South Asian Americans, it’s for everyone to see and recognize. See the overlap of India, Nepal, Pakistan with the United States. See and enjoy the blending of culture and the great things that can occur with open minds. Most of our products wouldn’t exist if we as South Asian Americans didn’t exist — and that’s kind of the point.
Exactly what I envisioned. Open now.