Growing up in Solapur, India, Shilpa Rathi said she vividly remembers the colors and rich smells of her father’s textile business.
“I would play hide-and-seek in the yarn room—my favorite room,” Rathi said. “I would get lost in all the colors.”
She said it is a memory that never left her, and when Rathi chose to begin her own line of textiles in 2010, she felt a bigger calling.
“My grandfather started the business, my father took it to the next level in India and I’m hoping to take my love of it to the global level,” she said.
Rathi and husband John Sullivan started their business online by offering eco-friendly, natural home decor. However, customers could not experience touching the product until after it arrived, Rathi said.
“It makes such a huge impact to feel the product so we definitely felt the need for a brick-and-mortar store,” Sullivan said.
While living in the San Francisco area, Rathi said she and Sullivan sought out Austin as their headquarters because of its eco-conscious community. In December 2014, they opened Shilpa Rathi Lifestyle Boutique in the Hill Country Galleria. The store features products made by Rathi and Sullivan as well as other clothing, totes and jewelry.
Rathi and Sullivan’s attention to maintaining an eco-friendly and natural environment is shown throughout the store—its walls are lined with old newspaper serving as wallpaper, and pipes and bike racks are repurposed as garment hangers.
Every piece in the store has a story behind it and the way it was crafted—whether it is the quilt made from former saris in India or one that is hand-blocked, Rathi said.
“We want to make good for the next generation and contribute in the most natural way,” she said.
Rathi said the idea of committing to an eco-friendly lifestyle and sales approach has become even more of a passion for the couple since the birth of their daughter, Sienna, in August.
Much like Rathi did when she was growing up, Sienna has a play area in the back of the store where she can be a part of the business, Rathi said.
The couple is planning to create organic baby clothes that are durable, she said.
“We have found people, especially in Austin, are part of this movement for fair wages and not wanting mass-produced products that are just disposable,” Rathi said. “With our products you are getting some healthy, handmade textiles of quality that will last forever.”
2912 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.,
Sun. noon-6 p.m.