International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Modern India
Marianne de Nazareth
Bangalore has a number of unsung women entrepreneurs who may not
be celebrities running multinationals, but they are running successful
home grown businesses. Chandra Rajendran and Neeta Dutt, a mother/
daughter duo have turned the sari into an art form, in their venture
Fifteen years ago Chandra Rajendran began a home run boutique called
Chandras Collection. The reason was simple, friends liked
what she wore and began to ask her to sell them saris like hers.
" It began with fifteen good friends and soon spread to over
Then it became too
much for me to handle at home being the designer, sales woman
and cashier all rolled into one, the stress was getting to me. Plus
keeping the sales timings from 12 to 2 in the house also became a problem,"
reveals Chandra. " It was only when my daughter Neeta showed an
interest in joining me that we decided to open this store in 2005."
Neeta is a qualified Telecom Engineer. She worked in the field for two
years and finding it unfulfilling threw up an excellent job to join
her mother. " My Mum is the designer, she is a creative being who
cant get bogged down with the business angle and the figures of
the business. So that was my role- turning around a home spun business
into a larger, more professional one, leaving mum to do what she most
enjoys designing," revealed Neeta. "It really started
with Dad who is a businessman, checking the figures over the weekend
which I watched as a kid. He was just helping Mum to go the right way
and saw in her business great potential to grow. So, I decided to band
together with Mum and turn Sakhi into a brand."
USP of Sakhi is that they have taken a traditional technique and
given it a contemporary twist. On the red carpet their saris could
compete with a John Galiano gown. " A few years ago young girls
shunned wearing a sari. Today they have realised if a Hermes can
promote Chikan and Ikkat work, there must be something in our traditional
saris. In our designs we combine the older traditions which come
from me, with Neetas ideas which are younger," says Chandra.
The colours we plan for our Kanjeevaram saris are fresh, a combination
of bright and sombre. These are not the traditional dark colours
Kanjeevarams are known for. I work with a community of weavers who
are based in Kanchipuram and work from my template, forging a fusion
of heritage designs with a modern twist. The silk is sourced from
Karnataka for the saris."
cut work which is a French style of embroidery worked on Kanjeevarams,
georgettes, crepes and other fabric. The saris are very creative
and both mother and daughter are particular that each piece goes
with its matching blouse. They also sell accessories which could
be anything from terracotta to jade. "Thick old gold traditional
jewellery is not really needed for the holistic look we create,"
Kalamkari, Ikkat, shadow work, Ari and appliqué are among
the different embroideries used by the duo on the saris. Check out
www.sakhifashions.com which is their online store. Indians based
out of different countries in the globe log in to buy off the net.
And by the response to their creativity and hard work, it seems
like its an enterprise made in heaven, between a mother and
Enterprises, 305, 6th Main, HAL, 2nd stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore-38.
Phone: 080 25252007.
© Marianne de Nazareth September 2009
Marianne de Nazareth
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