GURMEEN SRIVASTAV – THE MASTERMIND BEHIND NAYSHAAS
Well, this is the story of a simple yet stylish girl, Gurmeen Srivastav, and her brain-child, the famous brand Nayshaas. Like any regular girl or woman in general, she too faced certain hardships and problems, but none of that stopped her from getting what she wanted and achieving her dreams. She did not let the hurdles become stoppages as she jumped from one to another, opening her very own brand and now expanding it slowly and steadily. Gurmeen is truly an inspiration for the rest of us depicting from her life that just talking about feminism on Social Media platforms is not being a feminist. On the other hand, having a vision for yourself and your business, and working for it continuously surpassing the problems that come your way is the true essence of the woman of today! She manages her work, family, and other commitments efficiently and yet make her brand grow to new levels of success!
Let’s stroll through her journey right from her teenage days to her brand inception, and understand how despite facing hardships, she passed one milestone to another as seen below:
TRIVIA OF THE COLLEGE DAYS:
So, finally, the 12th standard was over! The burden of the board exams was now side-lined. After all the pressure of the examinations, now was the time for fun and Gurmeen enjoyed it to the most. The vacation time was full of fun and frolic that involved shopping, movies, luncheon with friends and family get-togethers. At the same time, everybody around was considering which courses they should choose for their graduation. Some of the friends were choosing to be a Chartered Accountant while others made a creative choice with Arts. Many were choosing to be a Doctor or an Engineer. This had led to a lot of confusion about what fields should be selected as this was a matter of life. Changing fields from one to another is not easy and sometimes impossible. A lot of chaos regarding the various courses was happening. And suddenly, one fine morning, when Gurmeen was scrolling through the newspaper, she saw an Ad about the International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD). The Institute was inviting the students to enroll for their variety of programs such as Fashion Design, Interior Design, and Textile Design courses. It struck Gurmeen that why not go and check out the various options there!
So, the next day, she got up in the morning and just went to INIFD without any second thought. Gurmeen was not sure if she wanted to do it or what would be her next step, nevertheless, she just went there to study the variety of courses available. Fashion Design was something she was attracted to and there was an interview round going about for the same. The students were told to give the interview, based on which their enrolment for the course would be decided. During the interview round, every person was given a few outfits. They were then asked to mix-and-match these various outfits for a particular occasion that was mentioned. The judge gave Gurmeen a particular party scenario and asked her how would she style herself for this event given the various outfits. She immediately managed to mix and match those garments, told the color combinations that she would prefer and the way she would like her hair. And much to Gurmeen’s surprise, the judges were impressed instantly! Basically, it was like she went inside without anything in her mind and came out full of confidence because the judges were really happy with her work and recognized her talent instantly.
“So, I guess I could do this! Why not? Let’s try!”, Gurmeen thought to herself. And as her fearless and valiant personality goes, she took the admission for Fashion Design at INIFD. After the commencement of the course, she realized that many of her peers were not doing the studies diligently. They were disinterested and lacked focus. However, Gurmeen wanted to do it in a nice and proper manner. She used to finish her projects before time and sit for extra hours to help her fellow students or just to practice on her own.
DONE WITH COLLEGE, WHAT’S AHEAD?
After the college was over, many of her classmates changed lines and careers to different fields. Only a few pursued the Fashion Design career ahead and Gurmeen was one of them. In 2006, after completing studies, she started working with a small company in Chandigarh. The Company was in domestic sector manufacturing men’s wear garments such as men’s shirts, pants, etc. This was a small-scale firm and work was learned from scratch.
Fashion designing? Glamorous job! High in fashion! Trendy! Classy! Well, reality struck and it was nothing like the initial perception. Gurmeen realized that what people thought about Fashion Design was far from reality. Models wearing designer garments and walking the ramp is a final glam show whereas behind the camera, the scenes are totally different. While working for this men’s wear firm, she realized the hardships of working in a small factory designing the clothing with the colleagues and Karigars(tailors). However difficult the raw practical experience might be, Gurmeen was happy when the owner started appreciating her designs. Not only liking, he selected her designs for printing as well. This built her confidence again and she realized she was on the right track. She worked for an entire year with this company and received raw hands-on experience which was very beneficial for her in the long run.
Well, it had been a year working with the men’s wear company. And it was time for a change. Gurmeen, the brave lady she is, thought to herself, why Chandigarh? Why not the capital city? And in October 2007, she shifted base from Chandigarh to Delhi. While the decision was something she wanted, little did she know that the struggle had just begun!
Well, let’s just say, it was far from easy. The first two to three months were full of interviews. Gurmeen left in the morning, gave 1 to 2 interviews daily and came back home saddened. Sometimes the job profile would not work out while other times the salary was negligible. Gurmeen had multiple puzzling thoughts like, “Why did I move Delhi?”, “Have I taken the correct decision?”, etc. Three months later, after many failed interviews, an opportunity knocked on her door. She was hired in Lee’sons International Export Firm, as a designer and merchandiser. The company manufactured garments for men, women, and kids. Her job profile included designing and merchandising.
The study of fashion trends for determining merchandising strategy for a fashion product provider or a retail store is called as fashion merchandising. Basically, fashion merchandisers know the trends of the past and present, and thereby determine the future fashion trends predicting efficiently what the consumers are going to like. The main role of a merchandiser is to analyze and forecast fashion trends, fashion-buying, merchandise price management, marketing, and promotion.
There are various pros and cons of fashion merchandising. The benefits are that the schedule is flexible, no fixed location required, and you can be open 24/7 thanks to the boon of modern technology. However, there are many disadvantages to the same. There is major competition and it can be difficult to establish trust as you will really have to prove yourself. During her job in Delhi, Gurmeen learned the method in which an outfit is made and also how to solve the problems in merchandising. There can be technical issues like problems in shipment that need to be resolved. She learned tricks of the trade like how to get out when there is such a shipment issue. She’s always thankful for this company as it taught her a great deal of work. She mentions that people in Delhi actually take efforts to teach you about the work detailing. As widely known, an export firm experience matters a lot in the fashion industry, and Gurmeen gained lots of confidence working here for about 2 to 2.5 years. Nowadays, more than a fashion designer, people have become stylists. They do not even know how to take measurements. Sadly, the upcoming designers today don’t even know the meaning of “soot”, an imperial unit in Indian measurement. The measurements are so crucial in fashion, the small lines in the inches, and the minute detailing play an important role. Any discrepancies in the same can lead to errors causing the cancellation of major orders. All the brand surplus that comes into the picture is the result of such small defects. The brand faces major losses because of this problem. Also, many times the labels are not properly printed. Precisely, even the smallest of defects can cause the package to become surplus. The designers, merchandisers, and manufacturers need to be very particular as every tiny detail matters. Gurmeen gained major experience during her job here.
At the end of the year 2008, Gurmeen left her job at Lee’sons International Export firm and after clearing a telephonic interview in Delhi, she was called to Mumbai to work at a company in Andheri (East) as a Senior Merchandiser. The job was in the domestic sector. With the new city and vibes, she felt very pleased and amused at first. The owners liked her work as well. However, within a few months, she faced some uncertainties at work. According to her, a few years back, she might have felt shy to express it, but not anymore. So basically, the owner here started making passes at her and touched her inappropriately. Usually, the victims are shy and the oppressors roam about confidently and freely. Well, let’s change this scenario too. If you are not at fault, you do not have to hide anything. She was new, confused, shy, humiliated and felt scared. BUT! Despite the fear, she did not choose to go on with it. She did not have another opportunity at hand but she did not take the ill-treatment and left the job immediately.
Every woman should not to be quiet under oppression. When we are quiet, we give the persecutor the freedom and confidence that nothing will happen if they continue with their ill-behavior. We must speak for other females around the world, if not for ourselves. Gurmeen deserves an applaud for her outstanding choices as a woman too. When you stand up for yourself, God stands up for you, and luckily, she got another job opportunity within a week. This one was a big company in Andheri East called Mantra Exports. This Company was also in the Export sector and she worked with them for a good two years’ time till 2010.
MARRIAGE ON THE CARDS!
While working with Mantra Exports, Gurmeen got married to the love of her life! And soon after, she had to leave the job to concentrate on her studies. She started studying Bachelors in Business Administration from Welingkar College, Mumbai followed by MBA from the same college. While studying for an MBA, she got pregnant. Her MBA could not get completed because her exams clashed with her delivery date. It is still in her heart till today to complete her MBA program. However, life does not stop there. Every new thing opens up a brand-new chapter in your life! In 2011, Gurmeen was blessed with a baby girl and she named her Naysha with which she realized that being a mother is truly sacred. With motherhood, comes responsibilities, but nothing stopped this brave woman. In fact, she actually started her brand within a year of her child’s birth. When most women don’t even come out of the being-a-new-mother hangover, this heroic lady started off her own fashion brand. In 2012, Nayshaas स्याही सा वस्त्र was curated, which was obviously named after her adorable daughter.
Gurmeen made sure that despite the odds, her vision of having her very own brand for customized dresses was attained. Her story about how she came up with the brand and its objectives is something that we can all relate to! Let’s get to know more about Gurmeen and her brand Nayshaas in the upcoming blog…