Walking down aisle of success
by Zanita Careem
Nelum is a self-motivated individual, marked by her single-minded quest for success and achievement.She is breaking stereotypes with her talent, and inspiring countless women. Nelum’s strong determination to be independent, influenced her to be an entrepreneur. A fashion icon, who makes statements in any outfit at any place.
Nelum Haththella is the founder and editor of “Brides Of Sri Lanka” magazine, the premier bridal and wedding magazine is Sri Lanka. A graduate of Edith Cowan University, Australia with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and IT, Nelum started exploring her many talents from a very young age.
As the daughter of film producer Florence Haththella, she acted in films and teledramas as a child and moved on to modeling for TV commercials. At the same time she also explored her writing skills and won Young Writer of the Year in 1995 for her poetry. Soon after graduating, she got married to Viraj Rajapakse, a pilot and moved to the Maldives, where she worked as a manager for an IT and software development firm.
05Upon returning to Sri Lanka for her confinement, she completed a Diploma in HR and soon after formed her publishing company and hence the birth of Brides Of Sri Lanka, HealthWise and Mangalyaa. She proved her excellent entrepreneurial skills she inherited from her mother when she won Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015, in the medium business category.
With such accolades, this inspiring lady is still continuing her explorations of talents and is now using her spare time to share her passion for food and travel via Food & Travel Escapades by Nel – a Youtube channel and social media blog. She uses this platform to share her exquisite recipes, food reviews, travel destinations with videos and photos.
How did your business come into being
I founded my company in December 2006 with the website www.bridesofsrilanka.com which was designed to bridge the gap between Wedding Planning and Technology. At the time, the use of the World Wide Web for planning a wedding was novel to Sri Lanka, but was widely embraced by young tech savvy couples. They found the features of my website to be time saving and extremely useful; especially the prospective brides and grooms living overseas. Then six month later, I decided to release a printed version of the website in a magazine form (Brides Of Sri Lanka magazine), which too became a favorite among brides and grooms. And ever since, we’ve been growing and now are proudly onboard Sri Lankan Airlines, is the media partner for reputed wedding expos in Sri Lanka and overseas and the two-time Gold Winner at the Sri Lanka Print Awards (2019 & 2020). We are also the only wedding magazine available for worldwide readership on all digital media platforms including Magzter, Online, Android & iOS Apps.
A few years ago, we also released Mangalyaa, a wedding magazine to satiate the Sinhala readership.
What has been the best and hardest thing about being an entrepreneur
There best things would be how I am able to create job opportunities to many and empower them with my expertise and knowledge, how am I able to aspire many youngsters to follow their dreams and venture into businesses and mostly importantly how I am able to be a part of the success story of my clients who are our advertisers.
The hardest thing would be to decide when to take a break, as you can get quite addicted to doing what you love.
Your passion and advise to young entrepreneurs
My passion is to be of help to others. My advice to young entrepreneurs is to start business with innovative ideas and products which makes you unique and indispensable. As a youngster, it is very easy to get carried away with what your heart believes in and overrule what your head tells you, but if you whole-heartedly believe in your business model, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Be persistent, resilient and take every hurdle as a learning experience. You are the only one standing your way to success!
Can woman have it all? Share your takes on this
Of course a woman can have it all! The biggest mistake most people make is think that being a woman is a disadvantage to becoming successful – on the contrary, women by nature are gifted with far more better characteristic such as endurance, resilience, tolerance, empathy and ability to multi-task, to name a few. Woman or man, having it all totally depends on how badly you want to have it all and what you are going to do about it.
What do think of women in sri lanka how do you think it can be better
I think of Sri Lankan women are extraordinary creatures – especially if you look at our history, we’ve had some remarkable women. We’ve had the first woman prime minister and president in the world; so we really can’t say women are oppressed or lack social representation in this country. If we stand our ground for what what we believe in, we are definitely heard. Sadly, however, I feel women in this country don’t maximize their potential due to various reasons. Most often they end their careers to prioritize family soon after marriage making them depend on their husbands for financial support. And funnily enough, most often it is women who encourage women to do this and make them feel that it is a woman’s duty to give up their dreams and careers for the family’s sake. The duty of maintaining the wellbeing of the family has to borne by both husband and wife, not wife alone. As long as we don’t change the mindset of people to treat a woman as an equal in marriage, we will not develop as a nation! We need to empower our daughters with education and financial independence. It is only then a woman can live with her head held high and never have the reason to feel inferior to any!
With so many magazines around what is that thing which separates your magazine from others
Novelty and the use of modern technologies from graphic design, pre-press to printing. Over the years I think we’ve mastered it to the point our printer won Gold twice consecutively at the Sri Lanka Print Awards for Brides Of Sri Lanka magazine in 2019 and 2020 in the magazine and periodicals category. We’ve always been trendsetters and kept ourselves far ahead of competition, because our challenge has always been to better ourselves from where we are.
Why a bridal magazine?
A wedding in Sri Lanka is a greatly celebrated milestone in one’s life. And I know the dilemmas I faced as a young bride when I was planning my own wedding many years ago. Wedding planning period is a very trying time for a young girl as she is new to the whole experience and is caught in a web of opinions of parents, relatives, friends and wedding professionals. I wanted the best information resource for such young brides where they are guided to choose the most unique ideas and best vendors to plan their most memorable day. And with our international exposure, I am able to showcase the great talents we have in Sri Lanka to the rest of the world, making our island nation the best wedding destination.
Your husband’s role in supporting you
Right after God, he’s my go-to for advice, support and help. Being the youngest of four, I was very strictly raised by my mother who was a young window. I always say I earned my freedom the day I got married. Viraj and I started our courtship at a very young age and he’s become my best friend. He extremely supportive and believes in everything I do and that has given me the utmost freedom to do take up any challenge or risk without fear. It is very important to find a life partner who embarks on life’s journey, not in front of you or behind you, but right next to you, holding your hand along the way.
Courtesy: Outfits by Aslam Hussein of GeeBees Designer
Showcasing the epitome of elegance and craftsmanship
Pure Gold by Tiesh has a well renowned Sri Lankan actress Yehali Tashiya Kalidasa as its brand ambassador. She is a multi-faceted young personality who has made her international debut in Pakistani cinema, and perfectly embodies the essence of the Pure Gold by Tiesh brand.
Tiesh, recognized for its exceptional craftsmanship and timeless designs, launched thier latest filigree collection under its subsidiary, Pure Gold by Tiesh. Imported from the best jewellery houses in Europe, Italy, Turkey, and Dubai, this collection features a stunning array of Italian 18-karat jewellery and 22-carat gold pieces adorned with pearls.
The newly unveiled filigree collection showcases a range of breathtaking earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings that exude elegance, dynamism, and vitality. With pieces available in tri-colours, rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold, Pure Gold by Tiesh has curated this collection with careful attention to detail, catering specifically to the wedding season.
Director Thiyasha expressed the brand’s dedication to excellence, stating, “Our jewellery stands out compared to other bridal jewellers. We are deeply invested in every aspect, from design to quality and craftsmanship. Our customers have repeatedly expressed their satisfaction, stating that our collections surpass those of many leading jewellery houses.”
What sets the filigree collection by Pure Gold by Tiesh apart is its versatility, allowing each piece to be worn in multiple ways. With a commitment to inclusivity, Tiesh caters to diverse cultures and ethnicities, offering something for everyone, from beautiful Hindu brides to Muslim brides and traditional Kandian brides.
Director Ayesh De Fonseka elaborated on the collection’s uniqueness, saying, “Each piece is distinct and one-of-a-kind. What’s truly captivating about this collection is its transformative aspect. We are reintroducing our special ring that transforms into a bangle, a design we first introduced in Sri Lanka in 2015.”
The dazzling filigree collection showcases the sheer intricacy and timeless allure of filigree work through an exquisite range. The inclusion of transformative jewellery adds an innovative touch to the collection, setting it apart from Tiesh’s other offerings. Every piece of jewellery from Tiesh is a fusion of traditional and trendsetting elements, allowing customers to express their individual preferences. This exclusivity distinguishes the brand from its competitors, while the meticulous attention to detail adds a touch of modern luxury to each creation.
“We wanted a collection that could complement any look: beautifully paired with your favourite watch, worn as a classic stack of bangles, or simply worn alone for a more subtle appearance,” Thiyasha further added.
The campaign surrounding the filigree collection not only celebrates the grandeur and glamour of modern Sri Lankan women but also pays tribute to the rich culture and bridal market. Tiesh continues to be at the forefront of the jewellery industry, offering exquisite designs that capture the hearts and desires of jewellery enthusiasts worldwide.
Fellowship and networking
Institute of Hospitality Sri Lanka
The Institute of Hospitality, Sri Lanka International branch had their 31st Annual General Meeting recently meeting at Movenpic Hotel Colombo followed by cocktails and fellowship.
This is an annual event, organised by the President Dr. Harsha Jayasinghe and Executive Committee of the Institute.This event is organised for members of the Institute of Hospitality who have shown their dedication and commitment to the tourist industry.
The evening started with a speech from the President of the Institute Dr. Harsha. He spoke about the challenges ahead for the hospitality industry. Sri Lanka is making progress and economy is slowing signs of settling down. There are many tourists to Sri Lanka and this is definitely positive signs for the country said Director/CEO of National Development Bank Dimantha Seneviratne.
It was an entertaining evening with many members of the hospitality industry in attendance. The General Manager of the Movenpick hotel Roshan Perera gave his unstinted support to make a successful event The Chief Guest Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management Shirantha Peiris also spoke
Denara Eid Durbar
The Denara Vocational Training Institute a subsidiary of the All Ceylon Muslim Women’s Association is for the first time conducting a full day’s programme comprising a mini Eid Bazaar, Sale of items produced by the students of Denara and Cuty Rose and an evening of entertainment. It will be open to the public on Saturday,17th June from 9 am to 5 pm and entrance tickets to the exhibition are priced at Rs. 100/- .
Denara was established in October 2021 where courses in dressmaking, needlework, computer classes, cookery classes and Mehendi Art have been carried out. Despite the economic crisis, and all the challenges endured during these past few years, Denara has been able to still conduct the above classes giving many opportunities to the youth. The Vocational and Training Institute is supported by the All Ceylon Muslin Women’s Association, a reputed charity organization of 70 years history to date!
More than 200 items will be exhibited and available for sale, in addition to bed linen, table linen, cushion covers, cloth bags, and others lovingly crafted with beautiful hand embroidery.
Different to regular exhibitions and sales, a second part is being introduced to the day’s activities where a complete Moghul feel will take over! Ambassador for Turkey Demet Sekercioglu, Ambassador for Turkey in Colombo will grace the exhibition at 4 pm.
A spokesperson from the organising committee said that it will be a festive occasion in keeping with Eid, where an evening of music and games, a fashion show by the students of Denara and Cuty Rose showcasing their creations will be held not only to encourage the talented students who have worked hard to showcase their talents, but also to create an entertaining afternoon. The widely acclaimed Muslim Chorale Choir will make a guest appearance complementing the occasion. The day’s proceedings will conclude with a light dinner where tickets for this are priced at Rs. 3,000/- and already available for sale at the Denara Vocational Training Institute Office located at 191/50, Mangala Gardens, Colombo 5. . Please call on 077 853 9890 for further details.
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