Radha is a resident of Pune and a mother of three children - Lavanya, Riddhi and Daidipiya.
Tell us a bit about yourself and about your current profession. What were you doing before you started out on your own?
I am a fashion designer and fashion stylist , mother of three and own two labels, Rozabel and Armadio. Rozabel is for women and Armadio is for men. I get creative when it comes to dressing up and styling. I am my own muse many times. I like to be well dressed and presentable always. And that’s what works for me as a designer. Clients look at me and trust my dressing sense. I was a full time Mom and homemaker before I got into designing professionally. I had learnt fashion designing before marriage . But then didn’t do anything regarding that for 20 years. Got busy with kids and family responsibilities. The designer in me used to peep in here and there always, let it be my own clothes or my daughters and at times family and friends. I remember how I had designed a cute lehenga choli for my elder one on her first birthday. It was in white silk with red embroidery on it. Still remember the way I was running around searching for the karigar to get the embroidery done as didn’t have much idea then. I used to be very particular about the way my babies were dressed up even everyday ( until the time they started getting ready on their own.) Once they grew up they had their own choices.
When did you start your company? Where? And what motivated you to start it? What was your initial investment?
I launched ‘Rozabel’ in 2012 february. Well, that wasn’t any big launch though. Just started a FB page initially. Slowly started taking orders. Made my own team of tailors and karigars. Till today the same people work for me. My patient nature helps me here. While working I started feeling that I need to brush up my knowledge as a long period of 20 years had passed by since I had done my first designing course. The thought was continuously there on my mind and then came across an advertisement by INIFD. Went there , met them and took the decision. And that proved to be a right decision., though not an easy one with all the responsibilities and commitments. But that was the right time to invest that one year in learning what I really wanted to. As my elder daughter had finished her A levels (12 th) and had already got admission in the university of Bristol for her undergrads. Second daughter was going to start her AS levels (11 th) and son was at a manageable age. So that was the only year I had in my hands. Joining INIFD really helped me as the faculty was and still is amazing and super supportive and even I learnt everything diligently whatever I came across.
What have been your achievements, accolades and upturns in your career?
Well, my biggest achievement is my satisfaction that I get through my work. I work for my passion and that transforms in the way I work. Giving me happy and satisfied clients who come back to me and tell me how many compliments they received on wearing my design. That brings a great joy and self confidence.
Any downturns, Unusual circumstances, hardships, you have had to face in your profession/business?
Like any other profession , there are challenges and hardships in this as well. Making the orders ready in said time being the greatest one as managing the staff is a tough task when you are very particular about giving quality work. Here also keeping patience and handling the staff with respect is the key. Though you land up in trouble sometimes and have to put in great efforts to get the work done. But that’s the story in any profession.
How do you balance your personal and professional life? How many kids do you have? What are your usual activities with them?
By managing my work timings in such a way that it doesn’t disturb the routine of my family which still remains the priority. I work during the hours which I would have otherwise spent sleeping, laying around or doing stuff which wouldn’t help me growing in any way. My kids are quite grown up now and independent. They are 23, 21 and 15. Daughters are studying in London and son is in 9th grade. Thankfully, all three are very sincere and hardworking with excellent academic records. The early years which I completely dedicated to them has really worked well for them and brings a great feeling of fulfillment to me. And still at any given point of time, they are my foremost priority forever.
How do you spend your “Alone” time. Any hobbies, activities, groups you are associated with.
My alone time is what I use for my work as to me it doesn’t feel like work. Rather I enjoy every bit of it. I love music , dance and travelling.
Were you working before having children? Have things changed in the way you work today after having children?
No, I wasn’t working anywhere before getting kids. Though the homemaker’s job is not less challenging. I got married at 19 and my elder daughter was born in an year followed by the second daughter in two and a half years and then son after seven years. Time just flew and I enjoyed every moment of their growing up. That was my choice and it makes me really proud to have invested all those years in building up my kids. And even they have done full justice to it. My elder one is doing her PhD from the Francis Crick institute in London which is considered to be the second best in the whole world , that too on a full scholarship. Younger one is doing her Masters in International Health Management The Imperial College, London; again one of the best universities globally. Son is in 9th grade and is most sincere and balanced person. I am a lucky and blessed mother.
Do you receive understanding from your family as a business woman? If not, how did tackle such situations.
My kids have always been supportive and have always encouraged me to do what I am doing today. Now it’s my turn to make them proud of their Mom. My husband has always pushed me to be independent, let it be driving or handling the bank work on my own is and to be perfect at my work which really helps me now. He being an IAS officer, has lot of responsibilities on his shoulder and a super dedicated officer. A great father and a perfectionist that he is. My mom and my sisters have always been with me throughout this journey. I lost my dad when I was seven but I always feel his blessings with me. My mother in law was also with me when my kids were growing up and was a huge support. Unfortunately lost her four years ago.
What would you recommend to other mothers who want to venture out on their own?
The biggest advice I have for all mothers is life doesn’t end there. Be always there for your kids but also give them some space. Let them be independent. Find out your own passion and value your own self as well. Don’t forget that you are an individual who needs to live for yourself too. You can keep others happy only when you are happy. Find your passion and start somewhere before the empty nest syndrome hits you. Do what makes you happy and satisfy your soul. Value this precious life and make a change in your small way. You have a responsibility towards yourself which can be handled peacefully without disturbing anything. Just START now. It’s never late. You too deserve to be happy. And that will make people who love you also happy.
What do you have in the pipeline for your company's future development?
Have many dreams about my work and professional life. Want to go international with my brands and my knowledge in this field. Still a lot to learn though. Your growth stops if you stop learning. Interested more into Styling and also have plans to have international fashion shows, trunk shows. Planning to start a digital magazine dedicated to fashion and lifestyle. Blogging, fashion travelling , styling for movies and advertisements and so on.
Is there any person who has mentored you? Supported you?
Yes, I have many loved ones who have always believed in me and my capacity to do something remarkable in this field. They have boosted up my confidence and have trusted me always. Its their confidence in me that I started believing in myself. I am a very shy and introvert person since childhood. but slowly I learnt and am learning to overcome these shortcomings with the help of the people who love me and want me to grow. While leaving for university, my daughters gifted me a diary with a beautiful message written on it. Which said,” Mom, it is never too late to start anything. I cannot wait for you to take flight, like you have given me flight. Just remember to ask for what you want. Your potential is boundless, as is your heart. Finally, take time to reflect upon yourself, your work and your life. Love you Maa!” nothing can match the support that you get from your family who matter the most in your life.
What/Who has been your inspiration?
I don’t know exactly who or what inspired me. It wasn’t one particular person or event. It was something which was inside me waiting to be woken up.
Did you always know that you would be doing what you are doing today?
I always knew that I would do something someday along with being a mum and wife , in my own small way. Being a bright child academically, my family and relatives always thought I would do something and not just get married. Earlier it was like I would be a lawyer. Then while studying in Wilson college in Mumbai, I started studying fashion from IITC . And then I knew that this is my field.
What’s the secret to your being a SelfAchiever? And what’s the best compliment you have received about your career or being a self-professional.
It’s the voice which comes from your soul which tells you there is a world waiting for you out there. Something that motivates you to come out of your comfort zone and push your boundaries. To make your own identity but at the same time let it not overrule your other roles. Stand firm on the ground while you are trying to touch the sky. Plan your work and manage your time in a way that it doesn’t disturb your other responsibilities so that your family can easily adapt with the new you. And your kids would definitely love the happier and more confident mom. The best compliment for me is when my clients come and tell me how they love themselves in my designs and when someone comes and tells me how I inspire them.