Isn’t it fascinating how a designer can orchestrate a whole new world out of imagination? They embrace the scrap and the heap with equal curiosity and create a perfect outfit. “Design is aesthetics. Fashion is keeping it simple and comfortable, for there is no bigger sophistication than simplicity” says Divya, the fashion designer and the flag bearer of the much sought after boutique, Tamara that offers a range of clothing for men and women as well as accessories to pair with your outfit.
Keep it affordable. Be motivated and keep attempting until you nail the right one
That is a mantra she swears by. She is sweet and full of infectious energy as she reveals about the making of Tamara, in an exclusive conversation with Chennai Insider. Read on to find out more interesting things about her journey.
A brief background about yourself?
I am from Chennai. My professional qualification is no different from the majority of the Indian population – Engineer (Corporate Communication). But, I always loved creating outfits, and used to design on a scribbling pad and I guess that is why I ended up doing what I do right now.
How and when did you decide to start your own flagship store?
Post my engineering, I was working with IFMR Capital. I quit my corporate job even when I hadn’t decided exactly as to what I was going to do. In retrospect, it seems scary and funny as to how I managed to do that. But life has been pretty great, so no regrets there. Right after I quit, I had some friends who were making some jewelry. I reached out to them and they readily agreed to market their jewelry in the store once I started. All these happened over quick coffee conversations. There was not much of a hustle to get people together as everyone wanted a platform to showcase their products. We launched the physical store in December 2016 and the website was launched in December 2017.
What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
Initially, everything was a struggle. Of course, nothing good comes easy. I did not even realize that there could be multiple designer-wear boutiques until I actually started. I even proudly thought I was going to do something new by introducing outfits from multiple designers. Not only that, our launch in itself was a hue and cry. We started in 2016. Due to a political emergency, the supposed inauguration got cancelled and then the dreaded Vardah cyclone shows up. Our store started in the wake of a storm, no wonder it’s roaring the skies of likes and followers now. It’s all a good omen, if we choose to believe in ourselves right?
What did you envision when you started?
Started with no great expectations. But the word of mouth did the trick. People started reaching out to us in huge numbers seeing our Instagram. As a matter of fact, we started with e-commerce only after requests from customers. We had initially planned to boost just the physical store. But today, the footfall of e-commerce is way higher than the physical store, thanks to technology. We even started building the product lines with multiple designers and categories only after various suggestions and requests. The growth has been much more than what I had envisioned.
Speaking of designers, what are some of the things you look for while choosing a brand?
To-date, Tamara has about 20 designers on board. If we are considering the 21st designer, then that designer has to bring in something new and fresh, apart from the likes of existing designers, as well as be similar to the Tamara style of being simple and be willing to blend into our aesthetics as well. Hence they should be similar, yet different.
What sets your store apart?
The fact that Tamara designs are affordable and comfortable and most importantly, unique and exclusive.You won’t find multiple replicas of the same piece.
What is the best thing about your job?
Nothing brightens my day more than the happy faces of customers after they wear our outfits. We get to be a small part of their important moments in life, be it birthdays or anniversaries and that gives a fulfilling sense of purpose to continue doing what we do.
What would you say is the most challenging part about your job?
I wouldn’t exactly say challenging but, when Tamara was on a slightly smaller scale, I did all the work from the scratch. Right from sourcing to shipping and selling and remembering every customer’s name. Customers like to be remembered. I still do all of that, but it is getting hard to keep up the same pace as earlier but I am trying my best.
What is the future plan for Tamara?
Going to take it as it comes, just like how we have reached a bigger platform than when we started. We want to maintain the exclusivity of the craftsmanship and believe that would take us forward.
What is your advice to someone who wants to be a freelance designer or startup a store?
Design differently and be unique but at the same time keep in mind the saleability of the product. Keep in mind customer comfort. Keep it affordable. Most importantly, be motivated and keep attempting until you nail the right one
For a thing’s beauty, we ought to compliment the maker! Kudos, Divya. More power and success for Tamara.
You can contact Tamara at 098416 98438 or check out their website https://tamarachennai.com/.
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