Bela Sutaria

Intro to Bela Sutaria

Growing up, I was exposed to hard work, entrepreneurship, and even sewing machines when my parents would take me to work with them. They owned a couple of dry cleaners where my brother and I would help out. Both of my parents were savvy with the sewing machine, as one of their first jobs in a U.S. clothing factory as immigrants, to owning their own business providing alterations to their customers. My mom was always fixing clothes for me and I slowly started to pick up on how to use this machine for its basics. I loved clothing (outside the dry cleaners) but was always thinking of ways I could be innovative while shopping. As high school approached and I was exploring on my own, I would buy pieces on sale that were 3x my size but marked down 3x, just so I could figure out a way to fix it up and make it my own. To my best friends, I started becoming known for this. They would love the price tag but not the fit, and would quickly look to me for help with customizing it for them.

Eventually I took those sewing skills to the next level, and started experimenting with fabric from scratch. I made my first top and wore it to a party and there was no better feeling (for me) than to receive compliments and be able to say “thanks, I made it!” It was the best hobby for a fashion lover + creative outlet, and also connected to my life in so many ways. Over the years I continued creating pieces for myself or repurposing old clothing that needed a new lifeline. Beginning college, I felt like I had to choose a career in the parent-culture-approved categories: medical, dental, law, engineering, etc. I did truly enjoy my Health Science courses in high school, so I chose Biology and quickly switched to Health Education after the first year when I realized science cannot be forced! You definitely have to have a different level of passion for this subject to learn, understand, and implement it in everyday life and a day job. I knew I rather be on the administrative side of things than hands-on if I was going to go the science route. I stuck with Health Education, thinking I could work at a school or manage a clinic, and selecting my minor to go with this major was a no-brainer. I did Business Administration, because I knew in the back of my mind that business will always be an option for me. Especially because of how business-oriented my family was.

I graduated in 4 years and snagged my first job as a Human Resources Administrator at a healthcare facility. I never considered HR but this was the perfect opportunity to be on the Administrative side of a healthcare environment while still helping people. The next 4 years taught me so much about myself as an individual and a professional as I conquered in the corporate world but continued my passion for design on the side.

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