Om Shankari – How the foundation of this Hamburg institution was laid with unbelievable trust and loads of merchandise in a then peaceful Afghanistan 40 years ago.
40 years OM SHANKARI in Hamburg
It was in Herat in Afghanistan with lots of hospitality, honour and respect.
It was on our way back from India and Nepal after almost 2 years, nothing but 50 Deutsche Mark in our pockets and thousands of kilometres ahead, when two nice young Afghans welcomed us to their small shop named ‘Golden Shop’ and invited us to chai and fried eggs with hot naan.
The shop was a beauty, clothes with the finest embroidery, broad bangles and so called Kutschi jewellery, fire-gilded with cornelian and mounted with lapis lazuli. Of course, we would have liked to take some of these treasures with us, but we were broke. But then, as in an Arabian nights’ tale, Ghani and Houssein said, we should take as much as we could carry and simply pay later.
Accompanied with an ‘Inshallah’ our deal was settled. Before we left they gave us 50 Dollar. What trust! Fortunate circumstances had us returning 3 months later to pay them, their delight was immense. Loaded with almost 600 kg of merchandise we went back to Hamburg, at first selling our precious goods to friends and on the weekly market.
In May 1976 we opened our shop Bum Shanka in the Stresemannstrasse. Several trips Hamburg-Istanbul-Teheran-Kabul-Kyber and further on to Delhi and Kathmandu and back followed – until December ’79 when Afghanistan was occupied.
In 1984 we went with a truck to Asia again, shipped our purchased goods from Calcutta, sold the lorry in Kathmandu and flew to Bali for our 1st ‘Grand Purchase’. The 1st Bell Bottoms were produced according to our cut and fashion went colourful! In 1988 a motley crew of nice people from the whole world danced at the 1st “Goa Style” Bum Shanka garden party, we established Goa’s chai-shop culture. Voov, Antaris and Shiva Moon became the tribes’ greatest gatherings in Europe – and we were right in the middle.
In 2006 Bum Shanka became Om Shankari, and in 2011 we had to move to the Hahnenkamp 12 where we welcome our customers today. Still we are in India and Nepal regularly for designing and ordering our clothes.
Ethically fair-trade with socially responsible producers are the base of our actions.
Thanks to you all for your support – love, Wally and CREW