Before there was the ShopBollyWear you know, love (and shop!), there was just an idea. This week we're going behind the shop. We sat down with ShopBollyWear owner, mother, Minnesota resident and #girlboss Nila Chakraborty, who answered 10 questions about her inspirations, dressing and whether she's team Chopra or Padukone.
What inspired you to start ShopBollyWear?
It was a bit of an unconventional start. After first pursuing a career in banking and finance, I transitioned into my own wedding planning business. It was in this role that I saw how much my clients loved to dress fashionably for the weddings and other festive occasions I was organizing. But as much as they loved fashion, I also saw how impractical obtaining stylish, traditional clothes could be for many Indian Americans. They couldn't all travel to India! With this in mind, the idea emerged to start an online venue that specifically caters to those looking for elegant Indian clothing.
Who taught you about fashion and dressing?
My Mother. For as long as I can remember, she has always been stylish and had great taste. Even to this day, she continues to look classy and maintains her unique style.
What's your favourite part of running the shop?
My clients are my favorite part, by far. I've established many friendships with my clients and they trust me enough to ask for style advice. I love Facetiming or Skyping with them to chat and really understand who they are and what their style is. This allows me to help them choose the best sarees for them.
When did you know the shop had become a success?
I don't think I'll ever truly feel successful, because there's always room for improvement! There's still so much to do and for me to achieve.
What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Don't be afraid to take risks and don't be afraid of failure. Just do it!
It's great that the pieces are sourced from India—why was it important for you to have the clothing sourced from there?
That's a no-brainer. Where did Sarees originate from? India! So of course I would source from there.
What tips do you have for women on choosing the perfect saree for them?
It's important to know yourself first. Know what looks good on you and not what looks good on others. I always tell my clients *you're* what makes the saree look good; the way you style it and carry yourself. You make the Saree, the Saree does not make you.
Who's your style icon?
I truly don't have one. I believe in my motto when I wear a saree; I try to style it my way so I look and feel comfortable and confident.
What makes a woman stylish?
Confidence. How she makes each outfit uniquely hers and owns it.
We have to ask, whose style do you like more: Priyanka Chopra or Deepika Padukone?
Neither! I've always loved Aishwarya Rai and her style. I love how she maintains class and sophistication, and how she continues to represent India so well on the world stage.