25 July 2017

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Vishuddi: Pure Form of Success

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Lata Manohar’s boutique “Vishuddhi’situated in Anna Nagar, Chennai is truly unique. It does not flaunt arrays of salwars and ready made suits in racks. What strikes one on entering “Vishuddhi’ is its simplicity, charm and warmth of Lata.

Lata had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and she was motivated to go into business on her father’s support and encouragement.  At 17 years of age, she enrolled for a course in dyeing, printing and block printing with The Weaver’s Service Centre in Chennai. She created a few samples of her own and contacted the export firm Hamosons, way back in 1982. Mr. Dinakaran of Hamosons was impressed by her work and he in turn contacted his boss in Sweden. She was duly impressed and insisted on meeting Lata in person. On meeting her, Lata was asked to create a sample of her designs in five meters. She truly gave it her best shot and the export firm was truly impressed and fascinated by her work. They ended up placing a huge order with her.

 Lata teamed up with a friend of hers and executed the order successfully. Their best efforts were rewarded amply when they received a cheque for Rs 16000, which was indeed a tidy sum of money in the ‘80’s.Elated and inspired beyond measure, they decided to start a unit of their own, with this tidy sum as investment.

Lata set up her own printing and manufacturing unit and designed her own salwar suits. In 1986, Lata got married and she had to take a year off from work. The next year saw her venturing out again with the manufacture of designer salwar suits, which were marketed exclusively to the wholesale market. “Kerala was my main market. I concentrated on Kottayam, and Ernakulam. I conducted exhibition cum sales all over the state. People used to flock to buy my designer suits which were sold under the brand name ‘Shree’ – says a proud Lata.

By 1987, Lata was billing close to one lakh per month from her sale of designer suits.  In 1994, she ventured into exports. “I used to do job work for a company where I used to design a lot for the European market. W e used to do hand printing, embroideries by machine and hand. From 1998-2004, we did extremely well. Some of my designs were used in the Armani collection and were featured on FTV”,  Lata reminisced with pride.

It was Lata’s unique idea to paint the corners of silk material with lac, wherein they get sealed; stones are then embroidered on to them. With these experiences to aid her, Lata set up ‘Vishuddhi’.Here, fabrics are designed and sold, customised tailoring undertaken, hand and machine embroidery done and sarees designed. Block printing orders too are undertaken.

“For a short stint, I have worked with the Indo – German Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Claire was impressed with my enthusiasm and it was a dream of mine to be able to contribute towards buying of our own home and I did it! I was able to pitch in with my own 20 lakh for our dream home” – smiles an elated Lata.

She agrees that her work, though slightly on the expensive side, does not compromise on quality. At Vishuddhi, materials are stacked tastefully on shelves that are artistically designed. Lata weaves her own magic out of these, particularly suited to each client.

 Some of her creations are truly awe inspiring. A simple Kerala sari was magically and beautifully transformed into a designer ware. Give her two different pieces of material and Lata, with her innate creative spark, designs a designs a beautiful sari out of it. She uses her own add-ons and embroidery to embellish and beautify her materials.

 Lata has her own stitching unit with five tailors to help her out. She is adept and proficient at designing Western attire and her clientele is spread out over both India and abroad.

 “We enjoy redesigning saris, ghagras, and exclusive wedding saris’’ smiles Lata prettily. “Ladies are welcome to bring in their old silk saris and we rework on them to make them exclusive designer wear; you would never recognize your old sari”- assures Lata.

 We are duly impressed, Lata is creativity and vitality personified.

 

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