Be it weddings, thread ceremonies or birthdays, the city’s residents have flocked to Khadilkar Road near Girgaum for invitation cards for the last 50 years.
The road is teeming with shops specialising in invitation cards of various designs, textures, colours and fonts, and the business has in recent years, like most other things, moved online.
Shop owners on Khadilkar Road say initially there was a printing press and paper merchant shops that would sell visiting cards and other printing press material. There are around 150 shops that print wedding and visiting cards, letterheads, envelopes, among other things, in numerous languages, including Marathi, Hindi, English, Gujarati and Urdu.
The display windows of various shops on the Khadilkar Road in Girgaum showcase cards of various designs and sizes. The market is located in the lane just opposite the Gaywadi area in Girgaum and card shops dot the lane on both sides.
In 1964, Meena Agencies was among the first few shops set up in the area that would sell visiting cards and inland letters. “Gradually, we started selling greeting cards and everyday cards (birthday and anniversary) and now wedding cards,” said Anand Thakkar of Meena Agencies.
Hitesh Gala of Zalani Papers said they offer cards for all communities and offer thousands of varieties. “The cards are customised as per customer needs. We use recycled and metallic paper for printing the cards. They are more careful about selecting the cards as that gives a first impression about the event,” he said. Gala has been in the business for the last 38 years. He added that the peak season for him is from August to April.
Thakkar said they only offer customised wedding cards that start from Rs 100 to Rs 3,000 according to the requirement of the customers. “The people visit our shops to get customised cards. Some of them place orders online. Indians living in the US, UK and other countries come to us for the cards,” he added.
Gala also said he has been receiving online orders for wedding cards for the last year. “Customers contact us on our website and share photos of wedding or visiting cards on WhatsApp. Then, we make video calls to finalise other details,” he added.
Mayuresh Naik, a customer, said the variety gives customers the option to choose a card that suits their requirements. “…it is good to have multiple options before finalising one,” said Naik.