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Walking down aisle of success

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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

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Features

The Boss Up Story

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Boss Up isn’t merely a brand name. It’s a manifestation of resilience and inner power in the form of a branding and social media marketing agency. Hafsa Killru, the Founder of Boss Up has a personal story and determination to ‘boss up’ that propelled her to launch her own venture to empower entrepreneurship, especially among small businesses.

Beginnings

The environment one grows up in has a remarkable effect on a young child’s mind. Watching two strong women in the family redefine the role of feminine power, a young Hafsa grew up ambitious too. Although brimming with the desire to create a change, her childhood was fraught with challenges that plague many children today – bullying. She was subject to severe bullying since the tender age of 10 at her places of education, which affected both her mental and physical health.

“I never fit in anywhere. I was never welcome among the cliques. But I didn’t let it affect my confidence. Keeping my circle small helped me stay focused on my studies. I’d spend this time alone in school libraries, often reading encyclopedias,” says Hafsa. “The bullying worsened in my teenage years. I was lonely but it worked out in my favour because I was never, and still not, someone who worries about ‘what will others say’ — a key obstacle in many people’s lives. Not having many friends meant I was not under peer pressure. This allowed me to be my authentic self.”

Hafsa’s writing career began quite unexpectedly when she was 17. Not only is she a content writer but also a poet who writes evocatively about mental health, healing and empowerment. But this didn’t come by easily either.

During her higher studies, those she considered to be her friends tried to crush her growth mindset, which eventually took a toll on her. It was only when she managed to remove herself from such environments did she become more self-aware and regain her confidence, thanks to the solitude it brought into her life.Yet again, a new set of obstacles awaited her in her early 20s. In 2019, she was turned down by over 20 companies within three months alone, which led to deep frustration and self-doubt. Although she had freelancing opportunities, the lockdown only added to her troubles.

But that’s when something clicked into place – an idea so obvious, so big and so right for her that Hafsa knew it was what all these adversities were pushing her towards. She realised the lockdown was putting undue pressure on businesses and it needed a solution. Especially small businesses were struggling to go online and create a sustainable brand, and that too at an affordable rate. How could they compete with incumbent brands with massive budgets and breakthrough technologies? She sought to give them the edge they needed and thus, Boss Up was born in October 2020.

“Inviting change, taking charge of the situation and choosing to do something on my own has to be, although scary, the most liberating decision I have ever made,” admits Hafsa. “The lockdown wasn’t the time for businesses to go silent. They needed business and marketing solutions that would help them overcome the situation.”

In today’s contemporary business world, a business of any size will only be running a losing race if it hasn’t developed a strong social media presence or a clear brand strategy. Hence, Boss Up ensures equal opportunities are given to entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

One and a half years into the business, Boss up is now global with its wings spread across countries like the UK, Canada, Dubai, Qatar, the Maldives and Australia, and is backed by a strong team of young and passionate minds.

The Purpose

Boss Up’s primary goal is to uplift entrepreneurs. The brand is also a strong advocate for inner power, confidence and resilience — the three main driving forces of ambition. It intends to help people who hail from struggling backgrounds; the ones who are inundated with a lack of support, seek self-sufficiency and are hungry to design a unique identity for themselves.The brand also strives to treat everyone at work with compassion and empathy whilst leading with kindness as it is crucial to reform work cultures that are hazardous to oneself.

Reach out to HAfsa via Instagram @hafsa_killru @bossup_srilanka or email bossup_srilanka@gmail.com.

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Features

The Switch of Trend in Fashion After the Pandemic 2022

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There has been an immense change in the Industry of Fashion after the pandemic struck us all hard. Currently, the trends of fashion have also taken a big turn towards affordable fashion trending styles and outfits. The Fashion boom has grown to become steadily slow for the seasonal styles and basic needs of clothing as well.

The current scenario of fashion life is always at a peak, and even after the Covid-19 pandemic, we have still seen slow growth in the need for fashion. There are of course certain aspects that have affected the industry and declined surplus. However, fashion and clothing have become a BASIC need for humans across the globe.

From shopping high-end couture to higher brand apparel, the trend has shifted to move on to sustainable clothing and organic clothing pieces. For example, we have become more aware of locally produced clothing brands and organic fabrics of our country. Made in India clothing and brands are emerging at a higher graph.Let’s take a look at the Current Change in Fashion Trends due to Pandemic 2022

Sustainable Outfits After the Pandemic

This is something most have been finding a basic need in clothing. Spending over and over again on the same kinds of clothing has and will reduce in the future. Buying clothing and fashion pieces that last for longer is the key to saving more than before. Buying pieces like basic Tees, Pants which may be styled over and over again is what the trend is shifting towards.

Budget Range of Fashion Brands are Accepted higher

Since the ban of Rowme and Shein-like brands and online websites in India, other national brands have started to make affordable fashion pieces for their customers. Styles and trends of fashion in the budget are what the people will be looking out for since the economic growth of people has dropped. Investing in fashion will never end until there will be a supply, the only difference is the budget range brands have a huge change of acceptance now since the pandemic.

Change of Styles worn to Work or Office Fashion after the Pandemic

Since the depression, people may have just stopped feeling happier may want to take the effort to dress like before. Styles of fashion in a simple and classy fashion will emerge largely than before. Choosing Plains or Solids overprints and pattern or neutrals over new trending colors and the print patterns is being seen for workwear fashion.

Change of Trends and Styles for Indian Festival Wear after the Pandemic

In the same way as the above point mentions, dressing special occasions will take a shift. Looking at the financial conditions currently, customers will be buying lesser for Festive wear than before. Styling the same pieces with a change of new additions of budget festive wear will be trending. Sarees and salwar suits in silks, choosing cotton, and linen kurta sets over the designer trends are to be seen this year during Indian festivals.

Choosing Budget Wedding Wear Over Designer Wedding Wear

When it comes to weddings, the cost goes to the highest for any customer. But the pandemic has changed how weddings will be taking place. The cost of weddings has declined drastically and shopping for Indian weddings has grown to choose mid-range wedding wear over high-end designer wear. Saving more during weddings, styles of lehengas, sarees, shalwar suits, or sherwanis for weddings that are in mid-range is a new trend.

From styling men’s kurta suits styles for the basic function of weddings to choosing classic or budget range sarees and suits for the bride’s ceremonies will take up a new fashion trend look. Making a choice of ONE heavy wear Lehenga and Sherwani may be what the soon-to-wed couples be looking for.Designer wear which can be restyled or reused and worn for other occasions and weddings is also a trend to grow rapidly. Saving much more for the bridal and groom’s outfit looks.

Shopping Online Increased for clothing after the Pandemic

The safer way to buy clothing has become a focus for all customers going towards online shopping. The percentage of online buyers has rapidly increased for clothes after the pandemic. From casual wear shopping online to fashion shopping for festivals and weddings, all have become much easier and more convenient for consumers.

Websites and businesses are working to grow even wider with Online Shopping. Connecting with customers personally for their shopping experiences to taking a new addition in budget clothing varieties for the customers is what’s taking place.

Online shopping has become a trend We have set an all-new trend for our customers It brings more trust and safety to customers. Shopping for wedding wear online only gets comfortable for all when sitting back home and shopping Fashion Shopping after the Pandemic via on-line shooping is what keeps all customers happier.

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Captivating streetwear for today’s fashionable girls

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The latest street fashion brand Girls by Dillys under the umbrella of Dilly’s was launched recently introducing trending new pieces to help girls carry the distinct personality and style to be the fashionable girl of today.

Girl by Dilly’s is a creative street fashion brand that focuses on vibrant colors, textures, and prints to bring out the youthful exuberance of today’s girls. The brand has emphasized on contrasting color combinations. The ethos of this brand is creativity and having fun. Girl by Dilly’s is dedicated to the free-spirited girls who have their own super powers and a bold attitude. Girls are encouraged to mix and create unique styles to introduce their own identity in a creative and playful way.

This brand is the new lifestyle for confident girls who love to enjoy freedom, youth and individuality. The brand has different style combinations from casual to evening wear to make the overall look fashionable and completely their own. The brand tagline ‘All about a Girl’ is a reminder to every girl that she is unique and beautiful.

To ensure glam and comfort, all Girl by Dilly’s products are crafted using quality fabrics and technical know-how. The brand offers a wide range of stylish ready-to-wear pieces, from tops, skirts, pants, shorts, dresses, rompers, jump suits, crop tops, and t-shirts. The brand has introduced batik into the collection with a fabulous finishing touch to elevate its signature styles. The brand is also introducing a comfortable t-shirt collection with inspirational slogans and line art to share a positive message with society.

Dilani Wijeyesekera – Director of Girl by Dilly’s stated, “We became aware of a notable gap in today’s market for fashionable streetwear clothing for girls. Today’s new generation of girls have a different youthful energy about them. They are fun, bold, carefree and energetic and they want the whole world to see that. Girl by Dilly’s is perfect for such girls as it helps them find their own identity through our collection of vibrant colours and creative styles that they can mix and match to come up with eye-catching outfits. Every piece of Girl by Dilly’s has the look and feel of fun and vibrancy.”

With the launch, Girl by Dilly’s is providing an introductory offer to all loyalty customers where they can avail themselves to a 15% discount on all products until 7th August 2022, both on online and at the flagship store. A selection of special giveaways has also been lined up in the coming weeks for all social media followers.

For the latest Girl by Dilly’s updates and new releases, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok using @dillyandcarlo. The latest Girl by Dilly’s collections are available at the Flagship Store on the website www.dillyandcarlo.com.

Dilly’s was established in 1987 to cater to Colombo’s desire for high-end designer wear with a local twist. As the company grew, Dilly’s introduced its second brand to the market, this time to cater to menswear. Carlo was established in 2007 and exemplified stylish men’s clothing for all ages. The brand is housing its distinct designer ranges to cater to the entire wardrobe requirement of modern men and women.

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