09 December 2019

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Mangayarkkarasi: Creating Magic in Embroidery

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Bright  eyed, enthusiastic,  and smart.  That best describes Mangayarkkarasi.  Born into a family of jewellers and entrepreneurs, it was little wonder that Mangai too was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug pretty soon. After graduating from  MOP Vaishnav  college in , Chennai in the year 2000,  she immediately tied the knot. After a brief stint in the US, she eventually came back to Chennai  and wanted to start her own boutique and deviate from the family jewellery business.

Mangai had no funds to invest.   This is precisely where MOP Vaishnav college ‘s EDP cell training came to her rescue.  While at college , she had completed a project on  opening a dry cleaning  shop.  The project had involved everything from fixing the rent to  marketing, recruiting, pricing , accounting , stocking etc.  She had learnt the entire gambit from  the EDP cell which she  put to good use  in drawing up an action plan for  the boutique. . Her  husband  was suitably impressed  and agreed to invest for her.  She assured him that, if within a year, she had not made profits, she would call it quits.

Initially she  procured material  and commenced operating from home . She got the material dyed  in colours of her choice . Dyeing was a messy affair and one of her friends  agreed to lease out one of her apartment complex to her for a reasonable rent.  Mangai now required stock for her boutique. She had made up her mind to specialize only in salwar materials and kurta tops.   Mangai  spent   days browsing the net, visiting other boutiques, assimilating facts and data as to stockists who could  supply for her.  Many  adviced her to go to Mumbai  but the stockists there   were adamant that she would have to buy 300 branded pieces from them, each costing Rs. 1000.  It was way  too heavy an investment for Mangai.

Hard work always pays and  she found free lance cluster distributors right here in Chennai who were willing to supply regularly.  Slowly but steadily she diversified into  opening her own stitching unit , hand embroidery  and machine embroidery units.’ I take salwar material , dye them  in contrast colours  or colours that are currently in vogue  and do block printing on them.   Embroidery, badula work,  zardosi,  copper embroidery ,  ghota work, kanta work ,  kashmiri embroidery  these are a few of my specialities-‘ dimples Mangai.  She personally  selects  the block prints  used for printing on her dyed material.

‘Nowadays I do ribbon work,  patch work, brocade work,  which are all very much in vogue.  I have too many orders now  and literally hard pressed for time to execute all of them’.  Mangai bustles around  attending to clients as they drop in  to her Varna boutique in a steady stream.’ I have  two tailors – one for pattern work  and another for  stitching plus two embroidery workers.’

Mangai   accepts orders for heavy embroidery work on saris . She prices them at  Rs 10, 000  for each sari and designs blouses for them too. Well trained in gemology from SISI.   She plans to go into designing accessories for her salwars.   Mangai frequently travels down to Banglore and Hyderabad to buy exquisite cool voils and patti work for saris. Plain saris are bought and patti work done, transforming them in to  great attire for an evening out.  Every year, she conducts at least two exhibitions.

Very near to her boutique  are several hotels where  students from Angola in South Africa come to stay  month on month on student exchange programs.  Mangai has tied up with their guide and he very regularly brings these students to her boutique.   They love to wear sleeved and long  blouses  with embroidered designer saris  and even the Indian salwar is remodeled to give it a touch of the western, with  off shoulder kurtas.  This is done exclusively by Mangai   to suit their tastes  and even when they go back to their respective countries, word about Mangai is spread by word of mouth and the next batch of students religiously make it to her boutique to get their apparel designed.  This alone fetches her a solid income of Rs 20, 000 per month .

As customers keep walking in,  Mangai  gets busy and we take our leave,  wishing charming Mangai  all success in her mix and match designer boutique.

Last Updated ( Friday, 25 March 2011 12:07 )  

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