Nandhitha Ramesh, A chennai based fashion designer who owns her two clothing lines – Turquoise – A Design studio and Merasal – A Designer Label. Being a MBA graduate who worked for corporate sector, she shines to be one of the best celebrity fashion designers in the Chennai city. Nandhita Shares about her business story with WOI.
If your passion and hobby becomes your work, then do all that it takes to pursue it. Balance time between family and work, stay committed, and be positive always. You sure will be a winner. Go for it!
Over to Nandhitha-
We are a family of 4. My parents are back in Tirupur and my sister is married and settled in Chennai with her 2 kids. I studied in GRG and PSGR Krishnammal Girls higher secondary school. I was Born and brought up in Coimbatore. I came to Chennai for my undergraduate, thinking I’ll pursue Business studies. So, I went on to do BSc. Corporate Secretaryship and then a MBA. After that I worked a couple of years in the corporate. I just didn’t enjoy it at all.
Then life had other plans and I landed up doing what I love the most. Fashion has been a part of me I would say. I come from a Family with business experience in Textile background, Tirupur being the textile hub, my Grand Father’s Dad and mom all were into textile. My biggest inspiration has been my mom, she used to dress up so immaculately from when we were kids, and we always stood out as kids, today she also has a boutique in Tirupur called Vermilion with a huge list of elite clients. As a hobby, I used to pick up fabrics from Delhi and have exhibitions from home -my friends and family used to come and buy. I always loved fabrics, colours and enjoyed putting them together.
I always feel we are pushed to do something when life doesn’t go as per plan either I do something about it or dwell in it. So, I was married and I had to do something with my life to make ends meet, though we had full financial support from our parents, I wanted to earn and live in my terms.
Then, I interned with my friend and designer Rehana because I didn’t like the corporate world at all. she said why don’t I come and help her. When I went and worked with her I had no idea of starting something at all and also my folks were against me starting something on my own. They wanted me to settle down have kids and then do something with my profession. So, I was with her for 6 months and I took a break. And, one day when I was just passing by a mall, I saw a to-let board opposite to the mall. I was like, ‘why not start something here small?’
That is how I started Turquoise, in a 350 sq ft place, with just 1 tailor, from there it has been a long 8 year journey and I am here where I am now.
While that is the story about Turquoise, “Merasal” was born after my stint at London College of Fashion, London in the year 2015. I did a 3 month course and decided why I shouldn’t start a brand for ready to wear clothing. After 2.5 years of selling online and exhibitions, I opened my first flagship store at Alwarpet, in March 2018.
Turquoise is customised clothing store and I specialise in bridal wear. Whereas, Merasal is ready to wear clothing brand where I make my designs with a little bit of customisation in the fitting.
I think the most difficult part in a business is getting a good base of customers, who we can retain and who can relate to your brand. I think that has been my USP.
According to me, Clothing is a very personal thing. It actually defines your personality. A brand should have that emotional connect and should be able to convey that to a customer. I think I have been able to do that with both “Turquoise” and “Merasal”.
My first sale was even before I started my store. Friends and Family have been very supportive. After I opened Turquoise is 2011, I had a few exhibitions part of other exhibitors, so that people will be aware of my store. And, that is where I made my first sale, those got converted to many such sales and even now they are my customers.
Every step I have taken during this course of the Journey has been unforgettable for me. I would say the girls I have made clothes for when they went to college now come with their babies, to make clothes with them. So, I guess those things leave a mark with me, that makes us feel loved and to be a part of their celebrations.
There is no milestone as such so far. Because, then I am curbing my movement forehead. Long way to go, I believe. Throughout my business journey, I learnt that “when you have Patience, Sincerity, Commitment and Hard work- The success is yours.”
I feel I have come a long way from where it all began. I am still midway in my journey of achieving bigger things; I still don’t want to call myself a successful entrepreneur, in that sense. I have set up 2 brands and running them single handedly, and that gives me a sense of pride though. But, at the same time that is also becoming a struggle, because it’s a one man show! Finding the right people and getting them to work with me with the same level of passion is getting difficult. With the growing competition, I need to keep doing something new all the time and keep innovating new ideas in terms of presenting them to the customer. The biggest challenge today for any brand is to retain your old customers than bringing in new ones. The constant Zeal to be doing something new every day.
I am blessed with the most amazing support system – My Guru, God, Parents, Sister, brother in law, niece, nephew, cousins and great friends and customers. Also, I Watch movies, travel, workout on fitness and play shuttle to keep myself motivated.
Thank you for giving women like me a platform to be appreciated and recognised. It definitely makes us do more and help other aspiring women to take up a career of their choice and excel in them! – says Nandhitha.
Thank you Nandhitha. You are an Enterprising designer shining beyond your struggles. We are glad to feature your business story on WOI. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Keep Inspiring!
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