Maneesh Goyal is a New York-based serial entrepreneur. His roots lie in the event marketing industry, where he went on to build one of the industry’s most sought-after creative agencies, MKG. In 2021, Goyal, along with Priyanka Chopra Jonas, established Sona, a contemporary Indian restaurant in the Flatiron District of New York City. Goyal went on to expand his footprint in hospitality by reopening one of New York’s most iconic cocktail dens, Temple Bar followed by the launch of Sona Home with Priyanka early this year.
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Here are a few things we discuss with Goyal –
DP: What inspired the interiors of Sona Home?
MG: “Americans have an idea of what an ‘Indian Restaurant’ is and I wanted to change that perception because, as we know, India is very design focused, and there’s such a rich history of design. One thing that very few people recognize is the strong influence of Art Deco, especially in Mumbai. I really wanted to lean into that, because when people think of Art Deco they think of South Beach, and the second highest concentration of Art Deco outside of South Beach is in Mumbai! And so, we really went for this Indo-Deco spirit. The colours are muted – there’s a lot of gold, aubergine, and a beautiful green – but we’re really understated at the core. This was a design statement that was doing to Indian restaurants something that hadn’t ever been done before – which is looking at it from the lens of Art Deco.”
DP: What differentiates Sona Home from other Indian or International brands that celebrate the ‘Indian’ experience?
MG: “People don’t necessarily connect palm trees to India, but as we know India is beautifully tropical – it has a really vibrant beach culture and when people think palm trees they think LA, Miami, the Middle East – but they’re not thinking India, so this is the change in perception
Everything (except the dishes) is proudly made in India. We’re looking at this being as much of an Indian-inspired brand as it is a globally-minded brand, because we have our roots in India. We were born on opposite sides of the world, Priyanka and I, but we share this one notion – that you treat your guests like God.”
DP: Who is your target audience for Sona Home?
MG: “Our target customer is someone who honestly is an entertainer – a person who loves to gather. They can be a professional who just wants to entertain well, so that their busy day is punctuated by a lovely evening, or it can be a world traveler who loves the kind of pieces that no one else will have. As there tends to be with anything that a celebrity touches, there’s discussion around price and I really stand behind the research we did when we launched the brand. We did a lot of competitive research and we feel like the product is priced far below what you would pay for, say an Hermes, but it is of course not as attainable as some might want it to be. The idea as we grow, is to really become an emporium that will have products at various price points, so everyone has a way in.”