About us
In 1995 two friends Nilo Pestonjee and Darika Ellawala travelled to India on holiday. They were impressed and inspired by the skill and beauty of the local handicrafts, but they lamented there was no place in Sri Lanka to buy similar exotic, ethnic block printed bedspreads and other furnishing fabrics they had admired on their travels.

Passionate to make these designs available to others, the two friends started importing these fabulous items. They began by having a few sales with hand picked Indian linen, adding Sri Lankan produced homeware designed by themselves into the mix. The home grown homeware was designed by them using traditional Sri Lankan handicraft techniques with a more contemporary twist on design, yet retaining vernacular feel.

As interest grew they embarked on a small shop in 1996 and called it Kalaya. The name Kalaya is derived from the water pot that was once used in every home, to carry water from the well and to store water. The Kalaya was a home essential.

Over the years Kalaya has evolved from the small business started from Darika's mother's home to a large and airy space that welcomes you to browse and inspire you to decorate your interior. Kalaya now has everything your home needs from rugs to crockery to furniture to cushion covers to perfumed oils.
Kalaya prides itself on the use of natural products like the 100% cotton bed and table linen, jute rugs and pottery.

Kalaya is committed to protecting the environment – reduce, recycle and reuse, as demonstrated in the use of recycled newspaper bags instead of plastic bags and in the use of newspaper as packing material.

Kalaya also supports community groups such as Cocoshel Ltd., a Cooperative Society for Women that produces exquisite jewelry from “waste” coconut shells.

As Kalaya has grown so too has the craft community, many items are sourced from rural areas providing a steady income and empowering women. Sadly with urbanization and the desire of the younger generation seeking office or factory jobs many traditional handicrafts are dying out. Shops like Kalaya strive to provide a good living for artisans and encourage expression.

Nilo and Darika still enjoy travelling and working with craftsmen on their designs to bring their ideas to life.
© 2023 Kalaya | Executed by: 230 Interactive