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India’s Wedding Industry- 10 Women Entrepreneurs Speak

WeddingSutra readers who are familiar with the workings of the wedding industry would know this- beyond wedding planning and management, the wedding industry has a host of opportunities, which attracts a wide range of creative and talented professionals of all ages and from all cities, to serve to the bridal and wedding clientele. The fact that the industry is fairly disorganised means you don’t need to open a full-fledged store or office to start a bridal or wedding related offering. According to Chetan Shah, Founder of Gharse.in, a large number of home-based women entrepreneurs registered on his website contribute directly or indirectly to the Rs 100,000 crore plus wedding related business- be it clothes, jewellery & accessories, make-up and styling, invitations, gifting & creative packaging, décor & catering, photography or any other services. Here we speak to 10 wedding entrepreneurs from three different cities- Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad to know more about how they started and their work around weddings.

1. Anushree Reddy, Fashion Designer, Hyderabad

Anushree ReddyHow I started
Being a fashion designer was never part of my plan. A full-fledged business student with an MBA in tow, designing was merely a hobby which I began to pursue and one thing led to another. Being self-taught and learning on the job I realized this is something I really enjoy and which comes naturally. That’s when I gave it a serious thought and started my own label.
What I love most about my job
Being immersed in tons of fabrics, embroidery swatches and sketches is my comfort zone, and I can spend a lifetime doing the same thing every day. I love the dynamic nature of fashion which ensures work never gets mundane.
The busiest work months
July to November is clock-blocked as that’s the peak festive and bridal season. In summer, I am usually busy with the Fashion Week.
Wedding and festive exhibitions I have participated in 
Design One and Bridal Asia.

2. Shelina Kukar and Camelia Punjabi, Accessories Designers (Art Apparel), Mumbai

Shelina & Camelia - Copy (2)-horzHow we started
We are school friends and we started working after getting married as we didn’t want to be housewives!
What we love most about our job
Both of us enjoy working together as it doesn’t feel like work.
The busiest work months
May, June & July are slow, but it starts getting busy by August and September. And then October and November are always very busy months.
The toughest and the best part of working from home
The best part of working from home is that you can still be a stay-at-home mom and be around your children.
Wedding and festive exhibitions 
Earlier, we participated in shows like Delhi’s Bride & Groom and Bridal Asia, but we now prefer Araaish and IMC’s WE Couture.

3. Alpana Kapoor, Jewellery Designer (Mallika by Alpana Kapoor), New Delhi

Alpana KapoorHow I started
I have always been fond of jewellery but didn’t think of doing anything around it, professionally. A few years ago, my daughters were of marriageable age, and I started looking around for jewellery. I realized there was a niche in the market that was untapped- beautiful, well-priced jewellery.
What I love most about my job
I love creating new designs using inspirations from antique jewellery that is so deeply rooted in our heritage, along with my muse- the modern Indian woman, to create something spectacular, contemporary and different.
The busiest work months
August to March
The toughest and the best part of working from home
Best part of working from home- no overheads so lower prices which benefit my clients and I can work at my own schedule. Toughest part- I don’t get walk-in clients.
Wedding and festive exhibitions I have participated in
IMC WE Couture Mumbai- August 2014 and S&S Trunk Show, Ludhiana, September 2014

4. Falguni Mehta, Jewellery Designer, Mumbai

Falguni MehtaHow I started
I come from a jeweller family background. I was always attracted to antique jadau jewellery and used to tinker with them to make it unique and wearable with different outfits, from jeans to sarees. Giving design inputs and seeing my designs turn to reality inspired me to become a jewellery designer.
What I love most about my job
I love to see my creativity and design come to life, especially when I see the jadau pieces on someone.
The busiest work months
August to January is the busiest period, but nowadays, many of my clients don’t wait for an occasion or festival to buy jewellery.
Wedding and festive exhibitions I have participated in
Bridal Asia; IMC Mumbai, Delhi & South Africa; Design One, Mumbai & Delhi; Yatra, Hyderabad; Araaish, Delhi; Cotton Council Exhibition, Chennai; Prana, Kolkata; Style File, Kolkata.

 5. Monisha Ajgaonkar, Wedding Photographer (The Photo Diary), Mumbai

Monisha 1How I started
When I was studying at JJ School of Arts I felt I was not learning much there, so I spent a lot of time on Youtube to learn more about photography and I also freelanced with magazines and event companies. I then made the transition to wedding photography and I now run my own company The Photo Diary which offers all photography and cinematography services.
What I love most about my job
I love meeting new people, creating new memories, travelling and good food.
The busiest work months
November and December are the busiest months- when we are shooting weddings, corporate events, gigs and fashion portfolios as well.
The toughest and the best part of working from home
The toughest part is that I can’t call clients home and the best part is I can play loud music and lie in my ‘thinking’ sofa and edit.

6. Minee Khanna, Makeup Artist, Mumbai

Minee Behind the sceneHow I started
The flair for buying Makeup Products and observing the looks of models and celebrities in glossy magazines got me to take my brush and try different looks on family and friends. I started creating different looks and enjoyed working on different faces. This is when I realised how creative Makeup can be!
What I love most about my job
The glow that shows on her face after she sees the transformation, gives me immense pleasure and hunger to do better each day.
The busiest work months
November to March and May & June are the busiest months with brides.
The toughest and the best part of working from home
The tough part of working from home, I would say, are the days I am free as I miss using my brushes and the range of makeup products. The best part is that it gives me enough time to manage my personal work and pursue my other interests.

7. Aditi Dugar, Bespoke Catering (Sage & Saffron), Mumbai

Aditi Dugar and her partnerHow I started
I started in 2012. I come from a family background where food and entertaining aesthetically has been the centre focus always. I inherited my passion from my mother who has been a brilliant cook, and I always used my passion as an excuse when I started pursuing different stints with chefs at my favourite restaurants all around the world. After short stints in London, Thailand and Dubai, I started organising small and well thought-out and creative dinners for friends and family. I later met my partner Flora Hilleary, who is a very trained and creative chef. We did a few amazing pop up restaurants together and we are soon opening a very innovative food studio and kitchen at Laxmi Woolen Mills, Mahalaxmi, called Sage & Saffron. It’s a bespoke catering & event firm and we aim to use our space as a canvas where we can express ourselves in many ways.
What I love most about my job
I love that creativity has no limits

The busiest work months
It is busy for us all year round, as we have never restricted ourselves to menus and the type of work we take on

The toughest and the best part of working from home
It gave us great freedom to explore without having any strain of fixed overheads, and it has prepared us to take challenges with an open mind that we are now ready to take.

Wedding and festive exhibitions I have participated in
I have not participated in any exhibitions till now as we only want to cater to smaller social events or intimate pre-wedding functions. Later on, we would love to participate when we can handle the scale.

8. Payal Gupta, Jewellery Designer (Paayal by Payal Gupta), New Delhi

Paayal GuptaHow I started
I joined a jewellery design course out of curiosity and there was no looking back from there on. A 3 month design course became 6, then 9 and I eventually landed up doing a full-year course studying design, gemology and diamond grading.
What I love most about my job
It would be the design element. Putting a piece together and having it appreciated, is the most gratifying part.
The busiest work months
From August till March!
The toughest and the best part of working from home
The toughest part is disciplining oneself during work hours. The best part, of course is that there is no place like home. You have the comfort of your own space and sometimes even flexible work hours.
Wedding and festive exhibitions I have participated in
Araaish Trousseau, Mumbai; Bridal Asia, Delhi; Savoir Faire, Kolkata; IMC, Mumbai

9. Rozina Vishram, Fashion Designer (Rozina), Mumbai

Rozina VishramHow I started
I entered the fashion industry unexpectedly. I started out designing my own clothes and for family and friends as I was always fascinated with good design. It was just a hobby which turned into a profession.
What I love most about my job
Experimenting with different techniques of embroidery such as Resham, Mukesh, Gota is what I love most. Although, I must admit it’s tough and challenging sometimes. I’ve spent countless hours in the workshops with my karigars trying to master this field. But I learn something new everyday, it’s a learning process that never stops.
The busiest work months
I’m busy all year round since I only design made-to-order creations. But August to February is the busiest period.

10. Aanchal & Sanjana, Fashion Designers (Bubber Couture), Mumbai

Bubber SistersHow we started
As long as we can remember, we have always been fascinated by art and creative expression. We both enrolled for a three-year course at SNDT Polytechnic, Mumbai. The course was challenging but extremely rewarding, and we left with diplomas in Apparel Manufacture & Design as well as BA’s in Sociology from Mumbai University. Menswear particularly fascinated us, so we worked with Arjun Khanna for two years. After some valuable work experience, we launched our label in April 2011.
What we love most about our job
We are identical twins (a lot of people say we are able to read each other’s minds) so a seamless division of labour and responsibility is possible. That said we also bring a slightly different set of core competencies to the table.The moment when we enter our creative studio, the rest of the world is shut. We’ve created a little slice of nirvana in the heart of South Mumbai where we draw inspiration from classic antiques, royal influences, colours and a wide range of fabrics. We also enjoy spending time on Instagram and connecting with the creative community at large.

The busiest work months
The busiest work months are September through February. We try and take part in as many relevant exhibitions pre-Diwali to showcase our work and latest collections.

Wedding and festive exhibitions we have participated in
Araaish Trousseau, Ruchika Bazaar and Crescent Moon in Mumbai. Jalsa, Delhi.

Photos Courtesy- Abhishek Sarkar

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