My City Series | Sayali Goyal
No one knows a city better than its people. Consciously Connected Travel shares with you our global fam and friends through our My City Series. Unmasking some of the coolest places and it’s people and giving you a deeper more connected insight.
Sayali Goyal is a woman changing the way people see and experience India. Art Connoisseur, Cultural Curator and Founder/Editor of India’s first independent culture travel magazine, Cocoa and Jasmine. After her studies at University of Arts London, she lived and worked in Berlin, Mumbai and now Delhi. Sayali’s works have been published in over 30 publications internationally and through her projects and initiatives she collaborates and creates with a community of like minded people.
1. Born and Raised or Expat?
Born and Raised in New Delhi. Lived in London for 3.5 years, Europe for 6 months, Bombay for 6 months.
2. How did the idea of Cocoa & Jasmine come about?
Cocoa and Jasmine happened as a product of a journey! I had gone to South India to travel from Kanyakumari to Bangalore which was 3 states in 3 weeks on a road trip and I brought back scents of Cocoa fields in Coonoor and Jasmine fields in Madurai. I was always documenting this is in my journal and through my camera phone. Soon these became poems on my website. I started to upload other works which were drawings from my sketchbook, old photographs and objects that I collect, photography series that I curated on the basis of design eg. the doors and windows series, guides to cities I have visited. This was more like a personal documentation and from there it grew organically as I saw a community developing around it. After my last job, I wanted all my skills to come in one place and I wanted to create something I could call my own, that satisfaction I didn't get from a job. A feeling of full expression and that validation I feel an artist needs to be credited for all their work. All I wanted was a small piece of land nurtured with love but my own. I wanted to create something that added value in my life and create something of quality over quantity.
On the side and to meet like minders I used to give curated art tours in the city to VIP travellers coming to India from Europe. Now, this has developed into an experience company within Cocoa and Jasmine. I did 2 photo exhibition last year and some people bought my art prints and a gallery even curated it online. I buy a lot of independent books and magazines and what joy it was to create my own magazine. Collectively this is an art shop on Cocoa and Jasmine. And with the photo, writing, design and consulting skills, I run a creative studio to work with other boutique brands that have an interesting story. I see Cocoa and Jasmine as a collective for a culturally curious soul. And people who know me would know how authentic it is in its soul.
3. What are your fondest memories of Delhi when you started your business?
Delhi is a little bit like Biryani, a culmination of so many ingredients put together to make something authentic and rich. Delhi, since it’s also the capital and has witnessed rise and fall of many empires in History has been influenced by many cultures as it’s a migration hub in the north and sees food and architecture from many of these eras. The best part to have started my company here was how familiar it was and still always something new to discover and explore. There are so many cultural events that are always happening as well as so many other creative souls who add to this energy of the city. It is the vibe that allowed me to foster what I was creating. Also, India in the field of contemporary creative business is very new, so I would say it is a good time to be here as people are very experimental and more open to collaboration and small initiatives.
4. On your Day-to-Day routine?
I am a huge list maker. So usually a night before I prepare my tasks and schedule my meetings. In the morning I brew my own coffee( very big on that!. Since my studio is at home, most of the meetings happen in cafes towards the centre of the city which is an opportunity for me to also try a lot of new eateries. I visit 3-4 art galleries every week and sometimes live music gigs, hence there is always something cultural in the day. I divide the day into writing for my website and curating something for Instagram, and the other half goes into working with clients in the experience and studio companies.
5. Tell us some of your favourite spots in Delhi?
Cafe Dori for brunch | Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters for Coffee | Triveni Cafe for snacks | Cafe lota for Indian Fusion | Latitude Cafe by Diva for Lunch | Coast Cafe for coastal food | Caara At Ogaan for High Tea | Fab Cafe for Organic Indian
REGIONAL & STREET FOOD
Kathputli | Rustom's Parsi Bhonu | Sanadige for Coastal
HAUZ KHAS VILLAGE
Ogaan: multi-designer boutique | Blossom Kochar salon | Translate clothing | Nappa Dori | Delhi Art Gallery
Good earth | Ahujasons | Anokhi | Amrapali | Bahrisons | Manan | Dastakar | Neemrana shop | Kama Ayurveda
Bhane | CMYK | Shades of India | The shop | The Kirana shop
Ekaya | Mittal tea house | Vayu Bikaner House
Indian habitat centre | Alliance Francaise | Khoj | Zorba the Buddha | Odd bird theatre | Crafts Museum | Sanskriti Museum | Bikaner House
Qutub Minar Area and Humayun's Tomb.
6. Where do you go to escape?
Outside the city, I like escaping to the hills (foothills of Himalayas) as I enjoy low temperatures and nature always is inspiring. I also visit Bombay a lot as the creative vibe of south Bombay feeds my soul.
7. You can’t take a vacation, so you decide to have a staycation, what do you do, where do you eat, where to do stay and why?
Within the city, I like walking around Lodhi Gardens which has a tomb in the centre and a lot of open space. I indulge in a massage at Blossom Kochhar's salon in Hauz Khas village and treat myself to a hearty meal and sangria at Coast Cafe. Live gigs at Oddbird theatre on the weekend are great. I like staying in boutique stylish space and Bungalow 99 in defence colony or Scarlette boutique hotel in Safdarjung are home away from home.
8. Which local brands do we have to know about?
Oh, there are so many. Bombay Perfumery for India inspired scents, No3 clive road is a luxury tea and paper brand, Blue Tokai coffee roasters for Indian origin coffee, Raw Mango for Indian textiles, Amrapali for Indian jewellery, Kashmiri Loom for Cashmere and Pashmina, Anokhi for Everyday wear with jaipur blockprints, Ogaan for luxury Indian designers mostly occasionwear, CMYK bookstore for design books, Nappa Dori for leather products… the list goes on.
9. Where’s your next adventure?
I will be exploring wellness retreats in India for Ayurvedic treatments and meditation plus also I am working on a craft project, so the next couple of months I will visit rural communities in villages to documents local crafts.
10. Does Travel breed creativity?
I see travel as a process and art as an outcome. I thrive on human connection. I enjoy the mindset I am in, that feeling of being in a flow when I am travelling. I am the best version of myself as I am with people or meeting people with a similar spirit, they speak a language I speak, I am so positive and booming with ideas, and feeding on the energy of these people who are from far away lands but still connect at a soul level, an artistic level. .It's the adventure that I wait for, like at any point I am going to run into something that will change somethings. Travel is a catalyst for me to create something beautiful. Even now I cannot sleep 2 days before my travels! I wake up with a to-do list in the morning and sometimes wake up in the middle of a night because an idea has stuck. I am in a different zone!
11. The ultimate dancing feet reliefs post liquid courage?
Piano Man Jazz club.
12. Where to shed those kilos, detox the body or protect the temple?
• The Imperial Spa & Salon
• The Spa at The Lodhi
13. Are there any philanthropic programmes or projects that you’re passionate about or would like to shed some light on?
I support slow fashion and artisanal everything. On my website I promote ( not paid) startups and independent brands that work for artisans are support fairtrade and organic. I also run a project called the library project where I aim to build an art and design library for an NGO based school
14. Entrepreneurs, Tastemakers and Trailblazers, Where do people like you hang out in your city?
A lot of creative entrepreneurs work out of coworking spaces like GreenR in Vasant vihar. Khan Market is still a hub for people to shop and to eat. For culturally curious Bikaner house, Khoj Residency and India International centre organise many gallery events and Oddbird theatre is my favourite for live gigs.
15. Give a shout-out to someone in your city that is doing groundbreaking things, and what is it that makes them a trailblazer?
I am very inspired by women who have stuck to their authenticity and have a spiritual meaning to their creativity. Sonam Kalra who is a Sufi singer and founder of the Sufi Gospel Project is preserving Punjabi music and literature in a very graceful manner. Her humbleness and femininity are very inspiring for me.
16. A locals-only, off-the-radar, black book spot?
AL- Kausar Mughlai rolls are the best street food!
17. What's the next big thing when it comes to Art & Design in Delhi?
There are so many independents organised events in the city now and not just formal galleries with established artists. Sister library organises zine fest at Khoj, the st-art foundation has taken over the Lodhi district to make it into an open art gallery of street murals, Indianama organises a yearly collective of contemporary artists, sahapedia organises history and architecture events.
18. Currently working on?
I am working on my next print issue that will focus on crafts of India and brands that work in the contemporary design space.
19. Are there parallels to the creativity found around different Indian cities as it is founded in Delhi?
Every city has something unique to offer. Delhi has always been a cultural hub in the history many kings and rulers set up here hence music, literature, art always was part of it. However, Bombay is really up in the game with contemporary startups, collectives, independent designers. Jaipur has so many textile and design-driven hospitality brands now. Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad have a smaller number of these but definitely every day I see a new interesting designer, a brand that is doing something unique.
20. Advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Stick to your own unique style and don’t be in a rush. Do everything consciously and take the risks!
21.In a place where the Art & Design industry is prominent in India, how you do find your inspiration to make new waves in your field?
Art and Design is one field that will always be fluid. There will always be room for someone original. Hence, even though Delhi already has so much in the field of design and art, if you are offering something authentic, there will be a niche community for your enterprise.