“Everyday is a fashion show and the world is the Runway”- Coco Chanel.
This is what I believe in and all I had to do in my case was to follow my passion, and my passion is fashion. Or to be more precise – fashion accessories. Be it earrings, finger rings, bangles, necklaces and clutches, I love them all and have a great eye (if I may say so myself!!!) for finding the cutest, the chic-est (is that even a word!) ones at wallet friendly prices. I also believe Fashion is an art of self-expression, a very beautiful one at that. Every women is effortlessly elegant and to do justice to that inherent elegance, my dream was born.
Although my roots are from Kerala, I am a true blue Chennaite. I was born and raised in Chennai, lived there for 23 years before moving to the city that never sleeps, Mumbai. Been living in Mumbai for the last 14 odd years with my husband and two great children. Am an MBA in finance and started my career with a prominent bank in Chennai. In the midst of enjoying my work, I met my husband. It was serendipity. I picked up his call on my colleague’s desk, one thing led to another, we hit it off and soon we were married. Post that we moved to Mumbai, the city of dreams. Soon I was promoted from a wife to a mother and between the husband and the home and the son I was busy, yet some days I would miss Chennai like crazy and on those days I would hop on a local train and travel to Matunga- the closest substitute to Chennai, in Mumbai. Amidst the authentic filter coffee, flower markets and the Nalli silks I learnt to explore the markets. Then came my daughter and as they say the family was complete. I was happy but I didn’t feel complete. There was this desire to do something, but I didn’t know what. Going back to a corporate life was not an option, since me and my husband agreed that I would always remain the stay at home parent for our children, considering he had a job which kept him away from home most of the days .
I tried my hand at Tupperware, and also worked for some time as an elected member of our housing society. While the work was filling my days it was not filling my soul.
I realized that I was not following my passion and my passion, as by now you know is fashion. I have always been picking up accessories for my sister and cousins and my love for exploring new markets helped me to develop a flair for picking out trendy and in vogue trinkets at prices that didn’t burn a hole in my pocket. I was presented with a perfect opportunity to showcase my skills when I did the complete shopping for my sister’s wedding trousseau along with wedding shopping for my fashion loving cousins. I realized how much I enjoyed that and all I needed was a push to pursue this calling. Thankfully a darling cousin suggested the idea of starting an online business venture dealing in fashion accessories. It was the perfect idea because it let me do something that I love, from the comfort of my home.
The road leading from the idea to its implementation is never smooth, so was it in my case. The first hurdle was finding the perfect name for this dream venture. I fell in love with the name La Elegante’ the very first time my brother in law suggested it, after all elegance is beauty. Then followed the nitty gritty of setting up an online venture. By sheer hard work, lots of trial and error, self-help videos and my personal IT expert – my husband – On March 8 2014 La Elegante’ made its debut.
La Elegante’ is my baby and precisely for that reason I have not yet outsourced any aspect of it. Each product being sold through La Elegante’ is carefully curated keeping in mind the current trends in the fashion world. Each of it is then photographed to the best of my ability. Accounting, inventory management, end to end logistics management, marketing and PR, each of these departments demand my attention as well.
Answering 500 odd mails/messages everyday does get to me but then the sheer bliss I get on reading one of the reviews on my page or getting a client’s photo adorned with what they picked up from me is more than enough to get me back to work .
There is this general perception that working from home is not serious work. I have people tell me oh, you work from home that’s easy. Let me tell you, it just is not. Managing the home and the work front is just as tough as any working lady , if not more, simply because when you are at home there are a million distractions taking away your productive time. Those include doorbells, the intercom ringing off the hook just when you are working seriously on a proposal, kids coming in from school demanding immediate attention or unexpected guests dropping in …after all I am at home why call ahead ? !
Despite all this La Elegante’ strives to live up to its mission to help every woman anywhere, find her perfect accessories. A woman loves her sparkles, enjoys receiving compliments for them and thrives on making a statement, after all accessories have the power to transform her outfit and her outlook, and it sure is an added bonus if it doesn’t pinch your wallets!
If you have the right attitude, are willing to take risks and back yourself up there is no stopping you. I am Shalini, the owner of sparkling La Elegante’. Thanks for reading my story and don’t forget to visit my page La Elegante…. Cheeky aren’t I, have always been!