When you walk into Khazana you are greeted by splashes of color and warmth that immediately transport you away from the rush of Lyndale Avenue. The entryway is a garden-like oasis with lush plants and statues, the main room features large jewelry cases displaying a colorful variety of necklaces, earrings and other decorative items. The back rooms of the shop have individual focuses such as textiles adorned in colorful ornaments and tapestries with chairs and tables providing comfort, each one unique and inviting. The products are an eclectic mix of goods ranging from home items such as candles and cookbooks to Khazana’s own tea mixes. Anju proudly says she sells “Everything you want, nothing that you need,” adding that she would never sell anything she doesn’t love or would not put in her own home. There are items at all prices ranging anywhere from 50 cents to over a thousand dollars.
While Khazana is the home of the business and a means to display the art, Anju sees it as a place of learning;the desire to showcase the skills of the artists and craftspeople whose works are sold at Khazana is at the heart of their mission. Anju seeks to give a voice to the story of each piece sold at her shop. She works directly with the artisans to ensure that they are receiving fair value for their work and to add the personal depth for the customer. She proudly displays a hand-painted tapestry from her most recent trip to India, featuring an elaborate design on hand-woven textile created by a time-consuming process of washing the fabric between each layer in a nearby river (check out the product and process on their December 14th Instagram post). She explains how this craft is critical to the well being of the artisan’s family and the time-honored tradition he is carrying forward she is also quick to add you should “never haggle with a craftsman; pay its worth,” an embodiment of the appreciation she has for the artist.
Anju travels to India at least once a year to find new artisans to feature at her store. Her travels and talking about them with customers gave way to the revelation that there could be no better way to exhibit the connection between the artisan and consumer than to show them both first-hand. In 2016 she took a small group to India with her and has brought a small group every year since. She enjoys the opportunity to share “her” India with people and highlight the tribal regions and artists that may otherwise remain unknown. While she enjoys these experiences, she is adamant about keeping the experiences limited to an intimate group size, t the largest being a group of 8.
As she gets older, and now 30 years into the business, Anju admits she is less concerned about the retail aspect of the business and sees Khazana as more of a collective and a space to grow. She hosts weekly meditation and yoga sessions and numerous artisan events throughout the year including workshops. Stay tuned to their website, Facebook, and Instagram page for details on upcoming opportunities. She also collaborates with the broader art community including Mia, the Guthrie Theater, and the Southern Theater to showcase the artists and crafts she has spent a lifetime curating.
Through carefully curated spaces and a passion for the work on display in the store, Anju has created a unique experience in Khazana. She remarks that when many people come in, they note having passed by many times without stopping in and she we certainly encourage people to take the leap, you will likely find or learn something you didn't know before. Every piece in Khazana has a story, and Anju is happy to be the storyteller and to connect people in any small way she can. “Khazana” is the Urdu word for “treasure.” and while it pertains to the items within the store we think it applies to the store as a whole: one of Whittier’s most plainly hidden treasures.