How Our Products Are Made
East End Press products are all proudly made by hand, combining traditional crafts with new processes to create beautiful things for your home.
Our designs are made in Scotland, where images are drawn, prototypes are created and colours are chosen. The digital image files are emailed and physical ink swatches are shipped to Jaipur. Here there is a team of different printing and manufacturing businesses headed up by Nikhil Khandawalla who all work together to create the products.
Ellie first met Nikhil in 2018 when she travelled to Jaipur in search of print makers. After a few tuk tuk rides around the city, she met Nikhil’s uncle Amal, who runs a fabric printing business (and now five years later makes all our block printed pouches). Amal put his nephew Nikhil in touch with Ellie, and the rest is history! We worked together to create an initial range of a six designs costing £7000 and the partnership has slowly grown. Nikhil’s first employees in 2018 now each run their own independent businesses creating each stage of the products, with the entire supply chain working to strict fair trade and SEDEX standards.
The team of talented print makers is led by master printer Sadjit Ali. Sadjit first worked for Nikhil in 2018 printing the initial East End Press range. He has now built his own print making studio and business, and exclusively prints our products. There would be no East End Press without Sadjit’s skills and hard work! He works with Nikhil to create initial samples of all new designs, and once approved Sadjit and his team print all our products. The ink is expertly mixed to match our chosen colours, and massive silkscreens are exposed with each colour layer of our designs. Anyone who has ever tried screen printing will know the huge amount of effort required to create a print with several colour layers. We love the richness of colour and texture of the ink on the paper, it really is a magical process.
The paper we use is made from 100% recycled content, and created from pulped down cotton waste that is collected from India’s thriving textile industry. Mr. Jagdish heads up the paper manufacturing unit. The cotton scraps are cut into tiny pieces before being mixed with water to create a paper pulp. This is dried over large meshes with pieces of muslin to create sheets of thick, beautifully soft, cotton rag paper. The paper sheets are hung in the hot Indian sun to dry, before being collected and sent to Sadjit for printing. All our paper products including greeting cards use this paper.
The printed paper sheets return to Nikhil’s studio where Abu, the head of production, works with his team to laser cut or die cut each sheet to make the paper shapes used to then create the envelopes, or the garlands or the paper decorations.
Nusrat has worked with Nikhil and East End Press since the beginning, taking Ellie’s ideas and turning them into workable samples that can be made by hand within the Jaipur studio. Nusrat works with designers Hemanshu and XXX who take our initial drawings and prototypes and turn them into screen print ready files, and make any tweaks required to ensure the product and print are the best possible quantity.
The paper shapes cut by Abu are then sent to Sunil XXX who heads up the stitching unit. Like Sadjit, Sunil worked for Nikhil in 2018 creating the initial East End Press range but has now built his own business, exclusively stitching and making our products. The majority woman-based team are all paid the same as their male counter parts which, while seeming obvious, isn’t the standard or legal practice in India.
Back at Nikhil’s unit, there is a team of workers headed up by Sameer who each pack every single garland, decoration and greeting card by hand. Visiting Nikhil’s Jaipur studio is like a treasure trove - there are printed sheets piles high, boxes of colourful printed shapes waiting to be turned into products, and endless ideas and new products spilling off Nusrat’s desk.
Nikhil oversees the whole operation with all the many moving parts, and is in almost daily contact with Ellie back in Glasgow. One of the most asked questions is how I found people to work with in India and it really was just from going door to door in a Tuktuk and speaking to a lot of people! I was fortunate to find a printing business also starting small, allowing both means Nikhil to take measured risks and grown each our business sustainably. Now Nikhil, his wife Neha, parents and two daughters are good friends, and I try and visit Jaipur each year.