She kick started her business in 1993 and was contemplating on which kind of business to take up. But her idea was quite clear as she wanted to do something related to women. Vasantha Rajagopalan, proprietor of Athreya- House of Readymade Blouses took up the idea of readymade blouses and petticoats to an altogether different level. Says the proud owner, "The idea of starting a business initially was forced upon by my husband. It was only Naidu Hall who was specializing in readymade blouses then and it was quite a tough time for us when we started this concept as not many ladies accepted it."
Quite true that fitting is the main important factor in a blouse, Athreya found it quite difficult to convince its customers initially for two years for readymade ones. But she was clear and focused in what she wanted. "We were particular in not taking measurements and we wanted our customers to come to our terms. We did not want Athreya to get a 'Tailor Shop' trademark name and thus we were quite strict about stitching blouses. My whole idea should reach the people and this took quite some time!"
By trial and error, things fell in track soon and then there was no looking back. What started with just one tailor and one sewing machine has now rose upto sixty staff. Hailing from an orthodox Brahmin family, Vasantha Rajagopalan initially started Athreya with her friend. Quiz her upon the name 'Athreya' and she quips, "Well, Athreya is the name of our family 'Gothra'.
When things were all moving smoothly, the concept of attached blouses with the saree itself was introduced and this posed a huge problem to Athreya. The problem of colors and matching pushed them to take stitching orders as people started liking their fittings and designs. "After 2000, the craze over designer sarees rose to such an extent that ladies expected the same kind of design and workmanship that is found on the saree, on the blouse too. Today, we put in our suggestions too and its definitely an interesting job!" TV stars like Latha, Nithya, Archana and playback singers S.P.Shailaja, Sujatha, Anuradha Shriram, and Actor Suhasini are regular visitors of Athreya.
While delivering the blouses on time is a problem faced by everyone, Athreya ensures that the blouses be ready one day prior to the delivery date. "How much ever time constraint it is, we make sure we ensure prompt delivery of blouses. We also take extra care for brides-to-be as they come to us with so much of dreams and lastly, for old people. Sometimes, we get bulk orders during festive time and today ladies have so much of preferences when it comes to neck and sleeve patterns, embroidery etc. But all this is just challenging to us!" Vasantha Rajagopalan is quite a multi-tasker as she juggles between business and family and that is the reason of not starting a tailoring institute and having another branch elsewhere.
A blouse at Athreya would cost anywhere between rs.150- 1200 depending upon the patterns and the work required. Athreya also deals with petticoats and nighties.
No, 1 Jambulingam Street, Near Valluvar Kottam High Road, Chennai
Tel: +91 44 28226586, Fax: +91 44 25360076
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