Tribalfare, a new retail venue featuring one-of-a-kind, handcrafted goods from India, is popping up in Midtown Detroit. Located at 71 Garfield St. #40, next to SocraTea and Seva, Tribalfare features brightly colored, intricately designed clothing, jewelry, handbags, scarves, home décor and other unique items, all sourced from owner Ojas Akolkar’s native India.
Trained in classical Indian dance, Akolkar previously operated a dance studio teaching contemporary and folk dances of India. The chic ethnic items decorating her studio provided the inspiration for Tribalfare.
“It became clear to me that there is a tremendous appreciation of hand-made items from India,” Akolkar says. “Coming from a place where such items were commonplace, the value of my heritage was long erased from my memory. Meeting people who appreciated this so much revived my enthusiasm and my passion. I am excited to share my enthusiasm and these gorgeous, one-of-a-kind goods with Detroiters.”
Akolkar travels to India once a year to source her items. Staying true to her mantra—”handpicked and handmade”— she does not attempt to influence designs, but rather helps to preserve the artisan’s unique process and products just as they had intended to create them. Tribalfare supports these artisans and strives to keep their craft alive.
Akolkar is a recent graduate of TechTown Detroit’s Retail Boot Camp, and is one of the program’s five Kickstart Award recipients. Akolkar’s Kickstart Package included a $7500 subsidy for her pop-up space. TechTown staff helped her select the space and connected her to pro-bono business support, such as social media marketing.
“Retail Boot Camp helps launch promising new businesses and works to ensure their continued success, strengthening our neighborhood commercial districts,” says Regina Ann Campbell, TechTown’s managing director for place-based entrepreneurship. “Ojas offers goods that cannot be found anywhere else in Midtown or any other part of the city. She is a wonderful asset to this ever-growing community.”
Tribalfare is open Tuesday–Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday noon-5pm through February 1, 2016. In addition to offering artisan goods, Tribalfare will offer Bollywood dance lessons. Call 248-434-7231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
TechTown is Detroit’s business innovation hub. As the city’s most established business accelerator and incubator, TechTown connects startup, emerging and established businesses to a broad network of resources, catalyzing the local economy.