Varsha Savla, Founder, UV creations, and a Creative Director & Fashion Designer in Expression by UV interacts with Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder Director, SLN Brand Studio.
UV Creations is a Design Studio that caters to the customized needs of styling for one and all. Expression by UV is the creative label of Varsha, which she has created after a lot of research as a designer. An act towards converting waste and developing sustainability model. More information on this below. More and more, Varsha’s love for fabrics is seen in all the products.
Suba: Varsha, glad to interact with you for #SLNNavathri’19 series. Thanks for your time. Tell us all about where and how you started?
Varsha: Indeed, a pleasure to be here Suba. Thanks for the inclusion. About my journey, I must say it is in Genes and, probably, a childhood passion that has taken a new shape now as UV creations. As I recall, adoring my mom and grand mom working on embroideries and building crafts with textile kindled a thought process behind my empire.
I studied fashion designing, had dreams of starting my own studio and joined as a head designer in an export firm in Mumbai. I thought of working in the industry for few years to gain the ‘right set’ of experience before starting anything on my own. Life was going as usual; as I was working hard to grow in the industry, life showed me a different struggle path. I got into bad marriage which left me an adorable son and a challenging life ahead. As a single parent, I had a humongous responsibility to take care of my son and my career growth.
Though I had tremendous support from my parents, I didn’t want my son to miss anything that he deserves. I was determined not to miss anything as a mom because of the change that occurred in my personal life. I took support from my father, with few thousands rupees investment, started UV creations. I started the engagement from home so that I could spend more time with my son.
That triumphant smile of Varsha indeed induced positive energy virtually.
Suba: That’s an extraordinary journey Varsha. I understand the ‘starting phase’ with considerable investment, balancing many things as a ‘solopreneur’ where every paisa counts.
Varsha: Complete agree here, Suba. Even though it was my passion, it was the need of the hour too when I started UV creations. People…..Suba, I met many wonderful people who helped to broaden my horizon and encouraged me to live my dream that I had since my college days. After experiencing various ups and downs as an Entrepreneur, I got registered as MSME with the help of Mawe, fortunate enough to attend its first International Meet.
That was ‘The Moment’ Suba. At the same time, the IIM’s Women Entrepreneur Program was also happening. I didn’t miss the opportunity and enrolled for the same. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, I rediscovered myself and my UV creations. I joined myself as a Mentee in ‘Cherry Blair Foundation’ where wonder mentors helped me to shape up the business.
Learning every day from different people, various experiences has become a habit now Suba.
Varsha gave a hearty laugh.
Suba: Wow…..I loved the way you create positivity where people in different ways helped you to grow. I often tell my audience that ‘seeking help is an art which needs better clarity than helping others.’ I am sure you have this skill and utilize it also well Varsha. I am thrilled.
Ok, tell us about the significant struggles you had to face to deliver your products and how did you overcome such struggles?
Varsha: Thank you, Suba.
I faced a lot of troubles in the initial days. The biggest challenge was to get the right set of workers and train them. I was very empathetic, however, when they leave without any prior notice, I used to feel so stressed about quality and on-time delivery. I am focusing on building the right mindset in my team and train them well from various perspective.
The second biggest challenge is the price. It is still challenging at times to create awareness about the price for the customized & designer products. Our products are customized and not like the ones we regularly see in the shopping malls. India is one of the wealthiest countries in textile and craft heritage, but awareness among Indian consumer is one area that needs special attention. Especially, sustainable brands face such challenges in Indian market.
Suba: I get to listen to these challenges from many Entrepreneurs in my network. I have observed that most of the solopreneurs and entrepreneurs in the sustainable market treat the workers well. Mindset change in the worker community is something to be addressed. I also agree on the awareness of ‘value’ the consumers are getting in India.
Varsha, what is your ‘dream come true’ moment in this Entrepreneurial Journey?
Varsha: Our ‘Satva’ collection’s presence in Milan Fashion Week is indeed an excellent Milestone for me as an Entrepreneur and, ‘dream come true’ moment as a fashion designer. We collaborated with Ashtiani by Golnaz and showcased our sustainable fashion designs during the fashion week from 21st to 30th September 2019.
Suba: Very proud to know this Varsha, tell us about your brand ‘Expression by UV.’ I happily observe and look at the wave your products are creating under this label. How did you conceptualize this?
Varsha: Thanks for asking this question, Suba. I wanted to celebrate Craft, Indian Weaves and the Skill of our artisans who struggle to make their daily life. Looking at the waste materials after completing our products got me thinking for hours together. It was painful to see the textile creating the already spoiled ‘landfill.’ Moreover, hazardous chemicals disposed by fast fashion industry is a significant concern as well.
This glamorous fashion industry contributes a lot on the landfill which was troubling me a lot. This is how a thought process behind ‘Expressions by UV’ was born, and today we are proud to be a part of sustainable industry doing good to our mother earth and earn a lot of happy customers.
We adhere to nature friendly skills combing it with style, and a good supply chain to make positive impressions on each life it touches. UV creations is a Studio for women who are globe-trotters, decision-makers and confident enough to make conscious choices for themselves and the planet earth.
Suba: Awesome. This is one question I ask all my candidates. Many women struggle or sit in their comfort zone because of one challenge. Managing life & career. How did you create an eco-system that helps you to balance your personal and professional life Varsha?
Varsha: This is a crucial and essential question, Suba. I always believed in the right working conditions and treat my team as family members. I have built a loyal team who help me in challenging situation. However, you know that apparel industry is still an unorganized sector and, sometimes you get into wrong hands. So my new learning is that to always have a backup plan, so the work does not suffer.
At the personal level, I had made my child independent from early years. He takes care of his things when I am not at home. My parents and family take care of my son when I am travelling. Specifically my Mom, my backbone at the home front. I have created a support system to take care of my son’s education too. However, I never miss spending Quality hours together with him and with the whole family.
Suba: Really impressed with the way you have taken steps to create an eco-system ,Varsha. I am sure many women out there who are struggling will wake up now and take up the responsibility to develop a support system to balance personal and professional life.
If I ask you to give ‘one’ suggestion or an advice to women followers, what would that be Varsha?
Varsha: Let me share something from my personal life again, Suba. When I decided to part ways with my husband, and, when I started UV creations in a small way and, while growing…..In all the stages, and, every day, I had/have people giving me good suggestions, showing sympathy, or, questioning my actions and talking ill on my back.
You know what, without judging anyone, I listen to everyone and everything. It was not at all an easy thing to do, but I was determined to have this as a habit. That is how I learnt how to filter information, take out the best and use it for growth. The information stayed in my filter went away, and I never gave a damn about it.
Believe in yourself and your ability. ‘Single mom’, ‘Amicable daughter-in-law’ ‘well-behaved daughter’ or any similar branding should never be the barrier for you to grow. But, create a right network, support system to start, survive and succeed which is very important. – Varsha Savla, UV Creations, Expressions by UV
About the Interview: ‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Varsha Savla is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.
Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.