Charting the path of success: Meet Keerthi Jeethuri, founder of Ikari

Keerthi Jeethuri emphasised her fascination with the weaving art form “Ikkat” from Pochampalli and the traditional painting form “Kalamkari.”
Keerthi Jeethuri
Keerthi Jeethuri

The bustling city of Hyderabad, where ancient history and modernity coexist, boasts many talented entrepreneurs who are not afraid to try their hands at new things. Meet Keerthi Jeethuri, founder of Ikari, who has been reinventing interior design with the fusion of art and digital print. Unsure about her career in the initial days after her graduation, Keerthi experimented with wallpapers. Her adventure with wallpapers did not stop in Hyderabad; she recently launched her brand in Jaipur, and they are shortly expanding into home furnishings, with plans to create a store in the next six months.

Every success story has struggles and hardships behind it; Keerthi too faced a few. Born and raised in Hyderabad, Keerthi has been top-notch in her studies and extracurricular activities since childhood. She thought of becoming a doctor since it was her parents’ dream. But destiny had other plans for her-- she ended up choosing architecture, a field that demands networking and presentations, quite opposite to her introverted nature. After her graduation, she took a year to explore her passion for illustration before founding Ikari Wallpapers. One of her college projects to design an interior store led to the birth of Ikari, as she delved into her lifelong passion for print, landscapes, and drawings. When asked about the inspiration behind the name “Ikari,” she emphasized her fascination with the weaving art form “Ikkat” from Pochampalli and the traditional painting form “Kalamkari.” These influences from her upbringing in Telugu states were integral to the brand’s identity.

For Keerthi, brand building is an intensely personal journey. She always believes that a brand should have a meaningful connection to one’s passion and purpose. This particular commitment is evident in her work. She has proven that a brand doesn’t need a fancy name or an obvious connection to its product. “People now associate Ikari with wallpapers, even though it initially had no direct link,” she says.

The creative process at Ikari is anything but one-size-fits-all. It begins with understanding the client’s needs and preferences, and according to the functionality of the space, the concept is designed for the wallpapers. Mood boards are created to determine color palettes and designs that harmonize with the space. Her goal is to design wallpaper that becomes a statement piece, adding character to the environment. She said social media played a significant role in her success, through which she embarked on this beautiful journey. Ikari’s work has encompassed a wide range of unique themes. From traditional Indian women in bridal rooms to Japanese-inspired designs and monochromatic wallpapers, her projects reflect a diversity of styles and influences. She shared a remarkable project that was done in Madurai and involved crafting 2,500 square feet of thematic wallpaper that depicted the city’s history, culture, and architecture, creating a spectacular visual narrative.

Keerthi’s journey diverged significantly from traditional career paths set by societal expectations. Her initial decision to start a business was met with skepticism from her family. However, when they recognized the potential of her venture, they became her biggest supporters. Though she had people supporting her, she encountered numerous challenges as she navigated the world of entrepreneurship. The lack of formal education in financial management was a major hurdle. Coming from a non-business background, Keerthi had to seek mentors and chart her path to build her brand from scratch.

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