What is common between - the holy city of Puri, computer programming, dress designing, entrepreneurship - you will find the answer towards the end of this writeup!!
Most of us are always wondering - what is happiness in life. What is success and what is that one thing that will keep us motivated even during adversities. In a quest for answers to these questions, we came across Ms. Madhusmita Panda, according to her - If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal .. Be selective in your battles and be your own cheer leader."
And this statement of her is reflective in her quest for pursuing on an entrepreneurial journey in dress designing even after graduating in computer programming !! She personifies that your educational subjects, your personal life etc doesn't necessarily determine your fate and you can find happiness in tethering your life to a goal - and that goal can be in any field.
Madhusmita is a very successful dress designer and have launched a collection of dress designs which are reflection or her rich cultural past and cultures of her native state of Orissa. She is an acclaimed designer and presented her dress designs in various fashion shows both nationally and is also an exporter far-and-wider under the brand "Weaverants".
It was an honor interacting with her, and we really found her an embodiment of humbleness, rich cultural upbringing, a creative designer, a successful business person, a jovial person and a loving mother - all weaved into one.
Below are some snapshots of our interaction with her.
1.Tell us some background of your early life, schooling, family background and education
My early life was actually far from any exposure to business or fashion industry. Being part of a middle class joint family with very rich cultural past, helps me connect with people pretty easily. Mom being a school head master, has taught us discipline as the first thing in life. I studied in local medium schools and graduated with specialization in computer programming. Post my studies I got married in an influential business family.
2. When and how did you get interested in designer fusion clothes - a mix of ethnic and modern wear and any special reason for choosing Orissa theme?
I hail from the temple city of Puri, Odisha which is rich with ethnic and spiritual fragrance all around. It also attracts millions of tourists from across the world. My interest in fusion clothes grew gradually and I also had intention to bring the theme of my city and the state to forefront. As Puri is known for artistic hand paintings on temple walls, it helped me combine fashion with ethnic theme.
3. What does the name "weaverants" - the label of your designs signify?
I have taken the inspiration from the Green Ants who are otherwise also knows as Weaver Ants with unique nest building capability that are made by weaving leaves using larval silk. It makes me feel focused on my work bringing unique fashion to the world.
4. Any launch and promotion of your new dress designs would typically require lots of travel and event organizations - how do you manage these, while at the same time working on the production, and export of the same?
This has always been a challenge and always needs lot of support from family and friends. I also have 2 young daughters who feel sad every time I travel for work. They have, over a period, understood the importance of travel in my work. My extended family do support me in taking care of stuff at home so that I can focus on work.
On the work front, I train few top students from various Fashion Institutes who intern with me. I have a small team of artists, weavers who have their work cut out during my absence. Technology helps me to stay connected all the time.
5. How do you balance between personal and professional life.
As every other individual I too have trouble keeping both personal and professional life separate. It is even tougher for me as my work premises is also part of my home. So I literally don’t get any specific work time and it sometimes extends till end of the day. So I try to take a day off in between to recoil myself and get some family time. My parents also take care of my kids when I am out for business tour. Also working closer to home I’m always available to my kids for their needs.
Madhusmita with her daughters
6. Being an entrepreneur is exciting, rewarding and risky as well. What do you feel about it?
Yes it is. Being a startup, the risk is many folds. Here you learn from mistakes, but that mistake sometimes takes you to the brim of failure. The constant pressure of running the business is awfully overloading.
But the passion for achieving something keeps me going. The reward comes when you get appreciated for your work.
7. Lastly what is one advice that you would like to give young women out there who are thinking of taking any profession?
If you want to live a happy life tie it to a goal .. Be selective in your battles and be your own cheer leader.