TradeGala Brand Interview - Nesavaali
TradeGala sits down with Shangami, founder and CEO of Nesavaali to get the lowdown on the fusion fashion brand
How did Nesavaali come about?
I grew up seeing both my mother and grandmother dress in the beautiful sarees that were testament to the heritage of Indian hand weaving. However, during my formal education in textiles and knitwear fashion design, I was exposed to the working conditions of local weavers, their daily battles on the one hand and the creations of beautiful fabrics that was so eloquent and elaborate on the other. Deep inside it was imperative to me to appreciate my culture’s craft and express my unique voice in the design of my own clothing line. At the same time, the burning responsibility to do something purposeful with the local communities & declining art was on my mind. On an afternoon in May 2013, I finally sat down, put pen to paper, and brainstormed the full concept for the brand – Nesavaali, which means the ‘Weaver’ in Tamil. Today, the brand is in many ways tribute to the weavers & textile workers, presented in a contemporary fashion range to appeal to the global modern women.
What is the inspiration behind Nesavaali?
Everything is an inspiration when the artist is inspired. Nesavaali is a fusion aesthetic canvas, as I draw inspiration from nature, art, history, music, cinema, people, culture, colours, food, or even a cool girl who brushes past by me at the supermarket. But at the heart of everything are the Indian fabrics - the very DNA of the brand, a celebration of life.
Who is the typical Nesavaali customer?
She who dresses to look powerful, refined, witty, sophisticated and fun loving but most importantly, she is herself.
What differentiates your brand from others in the market?
I am proud to say that Nesavaali is the only international brand that offers the unparalleled facets of Indian textiles fused into modern western silhouettes for the global women, at affordable prices. Today, the brand solves a social phenomenon that is common in rural areas: poverty and low-income, giving vulnerable women a source of independent income, plus 5% of the wholesale value is donated to the welfare of textile artisans, women's empowerment & saving of abandoned children. We also aim to remove the idea of sustainable fashion being boring and monotonous altogether. We take our no-waste commitment seriously - even the disregarded production fabric waste is carefully collected without being sent to landfill, and our talented teams upscale them into beautiful handmade fashion accessories. I believe all of this combination in one, benchmarks Nesavaali as a pioneer in the fusion fashion space, despite any clone brands emerging in the future.
What is your most popular product and why do you think it's so popular?
Unanimously, our well-tailored tuxedo dresses & pleated maxi skirts have always been a huge hit.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced and how did you overcome it?
When I first attempted to launch the idea of Nesavaali in 2013, I had rejections from every corner and everyone. The focal point was how to adapt to a more sustainable model. It’s not something that can happen overnight but I had to take baby steps in making efforts in the right direction. At one level I am running a business and at other levels, the brand promotes sustainability, so for me, it is about performing a balancing act. Today, I am eternally grateful for all those rejections because that prompted me to work hard and launch the brand internationally, to be accepted by larger audience.
Where do you see Nesavaali in the next 5 years?
In five years, I believe Nesavaali would achieve being a renowned lifestyle brand to larger boutique customers. The brand will expand its product line to bags, accessories and shoes end of 2020, so it is well on its way to achieving its 2nd year goals. We cherish partnering with new age digital concepts like Tradegala, which has simplified our efforts & time hunting for customers just by a simple click. In year 1 through Tradegala we reached customers in America, Jamaica, Australia and many more apart from UK which has helped in quicker brand visibility. I strongly believe we will stand true to supplying to multiple boutiques in the years to come.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion entrepreneurs?
When you have that nail-biting idea to launch your brand or designs, test it. Be pragmatic with pricing as there might be similar products, research ecommerce players & platforms who can sell your clothes and be ready to accept the answers your market delivers you. Realise that building a business is a huge time commitment, that does not allow you any time in your first year, even for your family. Create your own signature to stand out, as no one can forge it. Be practical about your money, as you need to take care of your necessities and the business will demand upfront financial investment. Above all, hold yourself to your word when you commit and stay positive & passionate.
Describe Nesavaali in 3 words
Exuberant, Timeless & Sustainable.
Shop Nesavaali's stunning fusion fashion designs here