Bela Sutaria

Corporate Girl with a Hobby

Out of college, I worked in HR for almost four years. I truly enjoyed the position, the people, and the work itself. Every day I would leave work, go straight to the gym, then home to cook dinner, wind down with my husband before or after sewing for a bit, then get ready for bed to do it all over again. At this time, I was just creating things for myself – little passion projects or doing alterations for friends and family. I made time for this where I could after a long day but I wouldn’t have had it any other way because I loved everything I was doing. Starting my job as an HR Admin, I slowly worked my way up the ladder through four titles over the course of three and a half years. My final position with the company was HR Manager, when my team and I were informed of a restructuring which no longer required physical HR employees to be onsite. As hurt as I was, I knew that my whole team was facing this along with me, and everyone around me continued to mention that this may be a blessing in disguise.

I searched and searched for new positions but was not receiving many callbacks; this was just a rough time for the economy in general. The few promising interviews that I had ended up selecting candidates internally which is understandable to simply transfer an employee rather than start fresh. Just like I felt in college, I had this voice in my head that was saying this is the “right” thing to do, to find another job because that’s what I went to school for or what everyone expects me to do. My husband who is a business owner himself, pushed me to finally take this opportunity to turn my passion into my career. His support was all I needed to have the confidence in myself to take this on.

I started taking more orders for alterations along with custom outfit requests from friends and family. Word started to spread organically as time went on and I was starting to get my name out there for any custom fashion – American, Indian, casual, bridal, baby, you name it! As far as HR, I had a few companies reach out to me who were aware of my experience, and I was able to provide consulting services to them. As I got busier balancing these two fields along with a baby boy, I realized I needed to narrow my design focus to more than just custom. As much as I enjoyed creating unique pieces for each individual, it was becoming unrealistic to handpick fabrics for each client while trying to soak up every second of raising my son who wouldn’t be that little forever.

This was the perfect time to start my own line including my signature aesthetic of functionality for many women which people could choose from. I wanted to be known for more than “making Indian clothes” and planned to incorporate hints of cultural design into my new pieces over time. From this moment my vision was clear and I knew this was going to be the start of the bigger picture.

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