Monisha Ashwin, though new to the business of fashion, has already got the success mantras right.
Monisha Ashwin is a perfect example of the variety that this enterprising generation has come to represent — 25 years old, from Kolkata, based in Chennai, holds a Broadcast Communication/ MBA, designer by passion and entrepreneur by choice.
“This one was a path stumbled upon and not planned. I developed an intuitive understanding of what a person would love and what would flatter them. ‘Monza’s Fashion Studio’ was just an extension of that aspect of me,” she explains of her decision to venture into the business of fashion.
Just over three months since the launch of her store, Monisha is trying to stand out with her colourful creations and unique store experience that she promises. Kurtas, sarees, salwars, semi-stitched salwars, tunics and accessories (starting from Rs. 2000), she’s got it all.
Here she talks about her business of designs:
A lot of youngsters like you, irrespective of whether they have a formal education in fashion or not, are taking a plunge into the fashion business. What do you think?
Take a look at the successful entrepreneurs of today; they aren’t MBAs and sometimes not even a graduate. I firmly believe when one is naturally inspired, he/she will take all the effort to learn what is required and will work one’s heart out. These are the people who do what they love; these are the people who love what they do; these are the ones who excel! Also, I have learnt from several resourceful people from the past. However now, my designs are just mine. I stay up-to-date with fashion out of interest.
What has your experience in fashion been?
Even as a child, I always loved getting dressed up. Before I started to design, I was more a fashion buyer. Then I started infusing my creativity in it to enhance it. It was an ongoing process where I was starting to get comfortable working with several fabrics and weaves. That’s when I started doing it for my friends, classmates, relatives and colleagues.
It was their appreciation which urged me to make a career out of this talent. Major amount of the groundwork and learning has emerged from Kolkata, where my parents live. The quality of workmanship there, according to me, is by far the best in the country. It took some time for me to find suitable wholesalers and tailors. I started the venture once I was confident with my work.
With so much competition out there, how do you plan to stand out?
A design is one’s expression. I am against the prevailing perception that a dusky complexioned person should be content with conservative colours. I have a dusky complexion and love wearing bright colours. In this regard, my creations are very much me and colourful; and I don’t have to ponder over the competition part as long as I am expressing myself.
Also, I have designed the customer experience where the customer can take time in choosing what they want by wearing and discussing with me or their friends through Whatsapp, and give suggestions for customisation as well. Moreover, I make sure my customers have a relaxed shopping experience, also owing to the store’s location.
And do you think people are open about buying expensive designer wear?
Always, as a consumer I get excited seeing creations that suit my taste; especially when they are unique. Understandably an exclusive design can’t be cheap as there is no scope for the ‘Economy of Scale’ factor. As far as the pricing is concerned, I have set it such a way my customers pay me for the design, exclusivity, quality of workmanship and the material itself. This can’t be described as expensive and will remain this way going forward.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My husband reckons that I am extremely creative but have zero business knowledge. It was the accounting and other business aspects of the venture where I took some time getting used to initially.
Monisha will be showcasing her collections at The Vimonisha Private Collection exhibition on August 8 at Hyatt Regency-Chennai, Anna Salai, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.