Tuesday 23 July 2013

2Inspire Business Profile: Tasneem Khilawala, Trousseau designer and supplier

Tasneem Khilawala designs and supplies Trousseaus for brides in India. Read her inspirational interview on how she converted her passion and talents into a profitable business.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
Because my business has always focused on many different niche and personalities, my business day begins with research. While sticking to trends is not my style, it is still important for a creative business person to be aware of the on-going styles and trends. Next would be following up with my vendors, which is essential to ensure that all the projects process in an efficient manner. More so, if these follow ups are done in the start of the day, in case my clients call, I have substantial updates to give them. I need to keep a major portion of the day for my brainstorming. Designing trousseaus is an exclusive activity. My designs are beyond the trends. I can only do that because it is something I keep at all the time. I keep some time free to allow my mind to run wild. After all, that is where inspiration comes from. A clogged mind can never be inspired.
What made you start the business and how did you get started? I have always been creatively inclined. I am not from a very affluent family, but an extremely creative one. As such, I have been resourceful from a young age. Even after I started my own family, it was in my nature to design and make clothes for my daughters. I designed the interiors of my own house and created artefacts that would beautify it further. The compliments they all got made me feel more and more confident about my art. It started with designing clothes for family members. Then their contacts started contacting me and before I knew it, I had a market that was simply waiting for me to enter it. I have been blessed with ease on that front.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date? My biggest accomplishment would be every beautiful bride I see walking down the aisle. You see, when they get complimented, when others envy their clothes, it is a compliment to me. Seeing those brides truly feel confident and beautiful, is my biggest accomplishment.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far? A few years back the trousseau and bridal wear industry started getting flooded. Vendors from other towns started offering bridal wear at lower rates. This really affected my business. However, due to that, my business niche got even more exclusive. The cheaper vendors offered run in the mill products. Their designs were common. I always designed clothes and patterns custom for the bride, in accordance to her taste, personality, the scale of the wedding, the weather and season and the nature of the attendees. This is something no one else could do. Yes, for some time, I felt my business suffer. But eventually, things balanced out.

What are your future plans for the business?
So far my designing has been very Indian in nature. Though there are many varieties that one can have in Indian weddings, and that is the creative challenge that has kept me going. But I would now want to venture out in the global market. It would be nice to explore new psyches and put new thoughts into material and weave clothes out of it. I would also want to design homes and take it to a whole new level that hasn’t yet been explored.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? I wouldn’t change a thing!
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?  I speak from an Indian perspective when I say that young women need to stop focusing their dreams on those of the society and their family. Dreams come with challenges. It will not be easy and it will come with hurdles. But that is the fun of it. If you take it in your stride, accept it confidently and simply keep going, even others will catch on and start believing in your dream. When that happens, you need to know that success isn’t very far away!

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?  I would suggest that don’t try to give cheap clothes. Yes, be cost effective. But don’t break your market by being run in the mill. Keep your creativity and be honest in your work. That honesty shows through. Money follows suit.
What or who inspires you in business and why?  It would be easy for me to say that it is my family. But in all honesty, it is my personal desire to do something that drives me. With that said, having the support of my family and having my children look up to me for that is what inspires me to keep going even when I have lesser motivation from within.
What is your favourite inspirational quote? It isn’t a popular quote by a famous person, but just the motto of my life that I put into words myself.
“Life is all about setting and fulfilling personal challenges - On a daily basis”
Contact Details
Address: A-12/15, Kubera Park, Lullanagar, Pune-411040, India
Mobile no.: +919371022920
Twitter: @tashneemk

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