FEATURED ENTREPRENEUR – SHIRALI SHAHPosted: October 6, 2014
This weeks ‘Featured Entrepreneur’ is Shirali who comes from Ahmedabad, India. She has a deep passion for fashion and styling, which inspired her to start her own business, ‘Dhaaga Saarang’.
DREAM:IN: So can you tell us about your company, Dhaaga Saarang?
Shirali: ‘Dhaaga Saarang’, which means ‘yarn dyeing’, is a name that I have taken forward from my final project at NIFT, Gandhinagar. Since my project went really well, I decided to continue with the name even though it does not have a direct connection to what I do. Under this label, I work as a professional shopper and stylist, here by helping people with their wardrobe, occasional wear, party wear etc. I do not make clothes. I shop for people, with the budget given to me by them, and charge on commission basis.
DREAM:IN: What was the main motivating factor to start your own stylist company? When did you know, “yes! this is what i want to do!”?
Shirali: It’s quite a funny story actually. I went to Mumbai to celebrate my best friends’ birthday, and right when we were out shopping, partying, all though out the day, people kept complimenting me on either my dress or bag. And just then, my friend went, “Dude, I think you’ll just have to start shopping for me now.” And there it was. I knew it. I knew this is what I wanted to do. And well here I am.
DREAM:IN: Can you tell us what is it about fashion & styling that you love so much?
Shirali: Everyone is allowed to have his or her own sense of style. We aren’t here to judge, but well let’s face it, some people do need help. Not to sound derogatory, but I love to help people who are ready to accept it. There’s so much fashion out there in the world, which is beyond our imagination. I would be glad to help people with the little knowledge I have and serve them to bring a smile on their face when someone compliments them!
DREAM:IN: How would you describe your style?
Shirali: I have my days. I love to experiment with style. Sometimes I go high street while some days I’m classy and chic. But I’m mostly comfortable in anything casual.
DREAM:IN: What are some of your biggest inspirations, and who are some of your favorite designers?
Shirali: My mother is my fashion idol. Sabyasachi Mukheerji was and still is, my biggest inspiration when it comes to Indian-wear. When I was young, I used to see my mother adorn his designs and they always fascinated me. Yes, he is extremely commercialized now, but I still love him for his work. And when it comes to western wear, biggest brands to street shops, all come under my list of inspirations.
DREAM:IN: So how did you start your company? What was the beginning of this venture like?
Shirali: I just decided one day that this is what I wanted to do. It started with designing my logo first, planning on how to go about a website, asking a few friends to model for me, creating a website, and eventually a facebook page. It’s been a year since I started, but still feels as new as ever. Everyday is a new challenge. I wouldn’t say I had to go through a struggle or anything, but yes gaining business is not an easy job.
DREAM:IN: Did you have any obstacles when first starting? If so, how did you overcome them?
Shirali: Glad enough for me, I did not. My concept about a Professional Shopper and Stylist was extremely new for Ahmedabad. I got such a surprisingly wonderful and positive response when I first started off because I was the first one in Ahmedabad to come up with this business plan. Some people still do not understand how it works. But it’s great to see people getting surprised. It’s not like telling someone, “I am a doctor.” And they ask, “Oh, what’s that?” *laughs*
DREAM:IN: Currently, how many employees do you have working for you?
Shirali: Physically – I, me, myself. Mentally – Me and my parents.
DREAM:IN: What’s your future plans for Dhaaga Saarang? How would you like to see it grow in the upcoming years?
Shirali: I would want to be known as a pioneer for this business, in Ahmedabad only of course. I do not have plans to expand to other cities as of now. There is nothing more satisfying than serving your hometown.
DREAM:IN: What would you say has been the most enjoyable experience since starting ‘Dhaaga Saarang’? Was there any event you styled for which was extraordinarily memorable for you?
Shirali: Every single second since I have started has been so eventful, just because I am doing this all by myself. Each high, each low, is making this into a journey I am learning so much from.
DREAM:IN: Do you like being your own entrepreneur, running your own business? Do you think it was a good decision?Shirali: YES! Anything is better than busting you butt off for someone who is not even remotely related to you. Working for myself is the best decision I could have ever taken! Yes, it does not give me job security, but the experience it gives me is way beyond any salary I could ever get.
DREAM:IN: If people want to use your services or get a hold of you, what’s the best way to reach out?
– FB Page: Dhaaga Saarang,
DREAM:IN: Lastly, we want to ask everyone we interview, do you have any suggestions or tips for other budding entrepreneurs out there who may want to start their own venture?
Shirali: Don’t be scared. The moment you think this is what you want to do, take time to work on it and do it with all your heart. You know you’ll do wonders.
DREAM:IN: Awesome, thank you for all the great answers, we wish you the best with Dhaaga Saarang!