10 December 2019

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Boutique Maple

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 Situated at Mogappair , in Chennai, Boutique Maple is  a truly different boutique in every aspect- different because the proprietress Ms Usha Bhai  is a skilled seamstress who designs unique salwar suits, but she has never been formally trained in the art of needlework or embroidery or sewing!!

Usha Dhanajayan, or Usha Bhai as she is fondly addressed by all and sundry, has traveled widely. For 30 years, she worked in a construction company, holding an elevated administrative position.

‘ Even as a child, I was keenly interested in sewing and my father bought me a sewing machine as a gift when I was just twelve. All that I know, is basically self taught.’-smiles Usha.

 Her daughter has inherited her passion for dress making and is a much sought after fashion designer. It was at her insistence that her mother follow her heart’s passion, that she helped to finance the boutique for her mother.initially and it has paid off extremely well.Now it has completed seven fruitful years and now Usha’s Maple Boutique is a much sought after one in the city of Chennai.

Usha has never bought clothes for her two daughters and her son when they were children and into their teens. Despite a heavy work schedule and home to look after, Usha used to spend all her spare time in creating unique deigns and dresses for her children. Appreciation for her unique talent paid off in the end and her children jointly invested to make a boutique of her own a wonderful reality.

 It was only after her retirement that she set up Maple. Initially it started off as a hobby in Mogappair East but her clientele grew rapidly and she opened a new one at Mogapair west. ‘ I had my own website but I decided to opt out of it since I had so many orders and very little time to execute them’ –laughs Usha

Jeans, tops, nighties uniquely designed,salwar tops, western pants , tops and shirts, shorts, everything has been well put together .

Usha has a fashion designer from NIFT undergoing internship in her boutique. She claims that the designer was taught to stitch, cut clothes and sew by none other than herself.. who has never undergone any formal training! The boutique undertakes orders in bulk for stitching and there are  five tailors to assist her . Orders come in for her self designed dresses from far off places like Fiji, Singapore, Dubai and patients from Cherian’s heart hospital , never go back home without buying clothes from her, since it is placed conveniently close to the hospital.

‘I learnt hand embroidery by using self help books and I can embroider expertly.– claims Usha . Hand embroidery, patch work, block printing, etc are executed here. She is an expert at hand embroidery. and a very good culinary expert too.

 ‘ I started out pretty late. I was working with Sudarshan chits earlier and it was hectic work taking care of children and a full time job.. I requested of my husband to get me  a sewing machine and that I can work from home.. but he declined on the grounds that it might not augment the income of the family.. now I am dong very well and I wish I had followed my dreams and innate talents and started out earlier- Usha.

 Initially the boutique was on rented premises but within one year Usha could buy out the premises. Second year saw  her expanding to ten more sewing machines and people used to wait in queue outside the boutique to place orders for stitching.

 Vijaya bank financed them with one lakh fifty thousand  initially and they still bank with vijaya bank after seven long years.

Uah is planning to visit Hong Kong to procure materials and pick up exotic western wear for the boutique.

I have lots of suppliers providing me materials and I even order from websites online. – states Usha. ‘ I like to experiment and recently I had designed a classic wedding dress – typically British for one of my clients- ‘ affirms Usha bhai.

Astounded by the variety of dresses she had exhibited, not even a single replication to be noticed.. and that too from a totally untrained seamstress.. We were pleasantly surprised as we took leave of the gracious lady , promising to come back.

 ‘ Follow your innate passion and you will be successful’- smilingly assured Usha


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