Bandhini is an authentic family owned Australia Design House that tailors handmade textiles, artwork, outdoors and fashion kept unique by its close-knit ties since its conception over 27 years ago

Tai Schaffler created the brand in 1993 from home in New South Wales. A young mum balancing a passion for design whilst raising her son. 

As an 18 year old, “small town Kiwi girl” Tai got a scholarship to study in Thailand, and her love affair with textiles began. “I would drive the other students nuts, rummaging through the Jim Thompson Silk stores. God I loved that silk! Still do,” she tells. Her writing career started as a Christchurch correspondent for More Magazine.

She left journalism when Geraldine Sethi offered her a job in Perth to re-market and refurb her fashion business, Asaan. With a toddler and her husband in tow, Tai relocated to Perth and started traveling to India with her new boss. “I was hooked on textiles,” says Tai. “Not clothes but cloth for homes.” It wasn’t long before she saw the potential to open her own home textiles label.

These days she heads up Bandhini, now in its 27th year. Key to its success has been the longstanding partnership between the Schafflers and another family, in India. “I met Sangetta and Yuvraj Narain when I worked for Asaan and they were doing a stunning clothing collection called KALAKARI,” says Tai. “We were totally on the same wavelength of quality, cultural and handmade soft furnishings. That was it, I wasn’t going anywhere else! I adore them.”

Families from two sides of the world collaborate together – Mithoo & Sweety  with their deep love for Indian culture & craft. Tai, from 5 generations of  women in textiles, shares a passion passed down through my matriarchal line. Both families’ children have now joined the business, with Tai’s son Sharm and the Narains’ sons Sharan and Karan, heading up the team in the USA. “They have finally got our gusto!” says Tai. “I think they are more business orientated than us. The next generation take it to the next level. They want to keep it on the same page ethically though, that’s important.”

At Bandhini, the simplicity of Eastern ways are embraced and the brand are passionate about keeping their product hand crafted and hand-detailed – without the use of heavy petrol based machinery. Where at all possible natural fibres are used that are handwoven and vat dyes that do not make a hard impact on the environment. Bandhini like to think that all their products would gently return to the earth, with all materials carefully and sustainably sourced. This environmentally-sound ethos is at the core of the brand and everything they create.

Bandhini’s exclusive products are unique in that they are handcrafted with vegetable dyes. Rarely are two pieces identical. This village industry product made from either natural fibres such as silk, cottons and rayon, can have non-uniform colours and vary slightly. Some are delicately hand-beaded and serve only as feature cushions. These characteristics make Bandhini’s product more evocative and luxurious.

With showrooms in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, plus several USA premises, their beautiful Feng Shui architect-designed offices in Tallebudgera Valley, Queensland, is where the design and concept process takes place. Bandhini also has its own manufacturing unit in India, developing bi-annual collections for domestic and retail projects. 

Tai Schaffler describes the Bandhini look as a cultural nature walk. “We take the best of what India crafts so beautifully and then strip it back to a western palette. I am obsessed with ancient cultures, that’s never left me, so there are big influences there, as well as living where we do in the country. Nature has an enormous play in it. I have been putting sticks, stones and shells on cushions for years.” 

Bandhini collections are always intricately layered. Known for the attention to detail, full of surprises and pushing-the-boundaries of ideas you didn’t expect. There is something for every taste, home and personal style. Rope, feathers, tassels, upcycled leather from vintage jackets and repurposed lace are just some of the design accents that set the brand apart and are undoubtedly a key factor in their longevity. Cushions are one of the simplest ways to refresh any tired interiors by injecting some colour, detail or texture, without breaking the bank.

On that note, there’s a reason Bandhini’s stunning soft furnishing don’t necessarily come cheap. Quality is their virtue and everything has to be beautifully made and finished, by hand. “We support local cottage industry, that’s number one. None is displaced into factories. I couldn’t bear that. It is better than fair trade, it’s equal trade. All our guys run their own small units and we pay well. This is an industry in total threat. What we do now may not be possible in 20 years. It’s a dying craft and I personally am doing everything I can to keep it alive and vital. We need these wondrous craftspeople.” Each piece of Bandhini is French-seamed and finished under the highest quality standards using all natural fibres except Rayon, which is derived from tree bark.

The Design Process

begins with inspiration from culture and nature. The designs are always produced in small batches, never mass produced. Careful consideration goes into every detail as each cushion, textile, artwork, etc. is handcrafted by their artisan partners. Bandhini strongly believe in and implement thoughtful design that doesn’t hurt the environment.

"We believe in different generations of designs…in that one generation’s ideas and designs give birth to the next generation’s design. Our designs are classic and never ‘trendy’ as they are rooted in generations of development. We believe this shines through in much of our work."

For a deeper insight into the manufacturing world of Bandhini products, see their Rhythm of Life video here


Milestone Moments in the History of the Brand

Styling Olivia Newton John’s home for sale in Byron Bay - Tai has worked many years with Olivia and Gregg Cave on the interiors of Gaia and was invited to be a part of the styling for their sale.

Working with beautiful commercial clients like Gaia Health Retreat and Spa, the Reef House in Palm Cove and Kokomo in Fiji.

Styling for major luxury yachts which has been amazing. They travel all over the world and are a dream to work on.


Bandhini Design also creates a range of outdoor cushions for around the pool and on the veranda. 

Tai's Home Style Tips

There are a few things to remember when choosing the right cushions for you and your space:

"We like to think of our cushions as art for our lounges and beds. So when you choose your cushions, choose as you would art - based on what you love."

"If you have a passion for a particular textile, fabric or colour, then go for that, because every time you walk into your lounge or bedroom and see your cushions, you're going to feel uplifted."

Choose a large "hero'' cushion to build your collection around and always use a lush feather insert for maximum indulgence.

Smaller lumbar cushions are also great on a sofa or chair as they support the lower back.

For the bed, Tai suggests choosing a pair of large European cushions and one long, lumbar cushion for your back to create supreme comfort and layering.

To shop the full Bandhini Design collection, available now at House of Isabella, click here

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