Buzz with Danu MAIC

Mar 16 2016. view 325


Buzz!!!! With Danu - MAIC 

Today on Buzz with Danu, Supporting Talent - I speak to two dear friends of mine, who I have known since my time in school (please note that I'm very much younger than them) 

Always known for their creative eyes, Charith De Silva and Eric Wijeratne have made big waves in making special days more memorable with their fine workmanship. At MAIC they say “We specialise in 'concept décor', where we develop a unique décor theme which is inspired by you. This is your story!” And they find the best way to say it to you, and what's more special is that you will never get to see the same thing again. You can sure see their work, but you will not have the same thing that will be used at your special day or event. 

You can always check out their page for more. Today I speak to Eric and Charith a little about their work on Supporting Talent. 

What does MAIC stand for? 

MAIC in Latin means afresh, unique, new like the morning sun. Haha no, it doesn’t! It's actually simple. It’s “ma” from Malla, which is what close friends and family call me and “ic” from Eric. 

 

What made you to get into "concept décor"? 

WE WERE TOTALLY FRUSTRATED! Haha! No, but honestly we were getting tired of seeing the same décor at every occasion/event/wedding. We realized there was a huge gap in the market. We saw an opportunity. We felt that there was no passion in the trade/business but it was more about just making lots of money, we saw a lack of creativity and certainly there was no personal touch to an event or wedding décor. I guess this frustration was the inspiration to start MAIC... also it used to annoy us, that people thought (still think) a colour or a type of flower was an idea and their way of personalizing something was simply by using a different colour or flower for décor. 

   

Journey 

He loved cars, she loved art and they both loved travelling. Wherever they travelled, they kept their feet together and took a picture with the place in the background. They just loved to have fun, loved to be with people who are close to their hearts and have a good drink and a chat, so fuelling up was also an important part.

What was it like when you launched? And did people understand what you guys specialized in? 

You know the story “who moved my cheese”? So it’s a bit like that, people are always afraid to change, to take risks, and try something new. Probably like how people are afraid to use an electric car or use gas in their vehicles, simply because the majority doesn’t use it. Or how some of our parents are still not familiar with a full touchscreen phone, because the land phone or the old mobile with a key pad is much easier to use (they think). It’s all about how we react to new concepts and new ways of doing things initially. It takes time for people to understand and learn to accept it. Most people still don’t. I mean see how everyone is reacting to you dressing up as a Tamil bride? 

Also traditionally weddings were all about flowers. Even most events for that matter. At least that is how weddings/events have been promoted right throughout history. I don’t think anyone knows why brides started carrying a bouquet. They say that one of the reasons was born out of the ‘necessity’ of covering odour, and trying to smell pretty on that special day. According to the Huffington Post, during the 15th century, people took their yearly baths in May and would generally get married in June. Just to be safe, brides carried bouquets to mask the smell of body odour. 

Sri Lanka is going through a changing phase, and now we have more and more couples who notice the difference and crave for something more personal on their big day. The non-traditional and independent thinkers simply love us. Mostly couples who plan the wedding themselves and a couple who likes their wedding to be intimate/personal with few people close to their heart. A couple who understands and respects ideas and hates being "me too" are the kind of people who likes us. People who understand that an idea is beyond just a colour or a bunch of flowers. Certainly not clients who want to put up a big show for their guests or people who treat their wedding as a big showoff of wealth. 

   

Transparent 

There's nothing quite as light on the eyes as a couple truly in love and still completely #transparent about themselves with each other! It's lovelier to have them share this openness with the rest of the world through wedding decor that was truly their own. MAIC created a transparent themed wedding decor for this wonderful couple using picture frames that saw through it all!

You guys say that you help tell a story. What is the process for the work you do until the last day of the event or wedding? 

We like to sit down with our client, somewhere quiet... sipping some wine or coffee and get chatting....we want to get to know them. We like to go through their whole journey from the start, how they met, where they met, stupid/crazy things they do together, things they love as individuals and also as a couple. Their memories, their professioanl educational backgrounds, or what they hate etc. We take notes of everything they say and go back and do our brainstorming sessions to see what we can create with the info we have. 

We will take approximately two weeks to come up with a concept and create a sample (sample fee applies) of the table décor for them to see and discuss with us. If they like the concept, we will then take it to everything else and also work on the costing. See when all business are trying to expand, our challenge is to stay small. We want to be small enough so there will be no third party representing us at any point and we want to be small enough to be able to be with our client/friends right throughout the whole process and even on the last day. 

 

A Hyper Love Story 

"The player" - "The Dancer" - "The Tango" & "The Fireworks". When the hyper-talented all rounder met the hyper-crazy dancer, you can say it was "love at first sight" (at least for him). When the director of "Evita" by The Workshop Players Colombo paired the two of them for their first dance - "The Tango" the story took an interesting turn and went along to create a crazy love story full of "memories". Finally, one New Year's Eve with fireworks as their backdrop, he went down on "one-knee" and she said yes. 

You also work with corporates. How is it? And do brands have budgets kept aside for such things? 

First to answer: How is it? What we have realized about some of the corporates is that the worst thing about most of them is the ”hierarchy”, and their own system is what’s going against everything. Bosses not allowing their subordinates to make decisions and even if they did, seniors not respecting those decisions made by their team members and simply this whole hierarchy making your subordinates pure puppets. And then a few of them are really bad paymasters. But this lot we aare referring to above are the ones we choose not to work with. 

The way we work, we always ask them for their budget first. Because we feel it’s really important to work within that (only if it's practical of course). However, we feel budgets are always allocated for what’s been done before. And this is always a challenge to us when we are in the business of ideas and new concepts. 

How long do you take to come up with a concept? 

Think we answered this above. 

Do you offer the same look and feel twice? 

No, this is something we definitely try to avoid. Coming from an advertising background we are not taught to reproduce something that someone else has done. We have been taught to push our boundaries and come up with something new. 

 

Fitness Theme 

When two personal trainers decided to get married we wanted their wedding to be all about fitness. While dumbbells seemed like the first thought, it was still interesting coz it was all about them and never done before. 

What or when does a client become difficult? 

Let's say, someone is working on a budget, would you be able to match the requirement? We will always ask them for their budget first. And we will explain if it is not practical to work within a certain budget shared with us. The issue is most people are just comparing quotes and window shopping at the start. And if you are not honest about your budget, we think it's a bit like lying to your doctor about your age before a big surgery. 

Tell me about a sticky situation you were in, and how did you come out of it? 

So we had to take a few large backdrop wooden/board panels to this roo top of a 5 storey building through the staircase. We had checked the height and width of the staircase, roof, walls, and done all the backdrop panels to fit that and all of that. Oh boy!! On the day, moving the first panel out of three panels to the rooftop, we realized the client has a wooden door on the 3rd floor with a large wooden frame attached to the roof of the staircase and fixed to the walls of the stairway… oh yes… so we were stuck. Luckily for us, we had started early (as always), so we had enough time to cut them in half and take them up as smaller panels and fix it on the rooftop. Phew! 

 

Mad Hatter's Tea Party 

The idea of having a Mad Hatter's Tea Party was to give birth to a night full of unexpected creations. It's a bit like going down the rabbit hole; from 30 inch long candles, to a quirky "playing cards" chandelier to mulled tea cocktails served in vintage tea cups to sweet strawberry cupcakes that turn into smoked salmon and cream cheese when you bite into them, this was our way of going "mad", our way of creating magic with ideas. 

What’s been planned for 2016? 

Our plan is to just continue to do what we do. Our aim is to stay small and consistent and offer a small personalized service. We are careful that we don't become a "me too", because there are way too many "shops" out there. We want to do just a few things a month but all that to be our best work. And like I said before, we want to be small enough so there will be no third party representing us at any point and we want to be small enough to be able to be with our client/friends right throughout the whole process. 

If you do both design and coordination, what is your main specialty? 

Design is a talent! You are either born creative or NOT. Coordination is practice, we believe with experience you can develop your skills for coordination. Fortunately for us we have them both going well for us. 

Do you do destination weddings? 

Yes and honestly we love destination weddings!



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