People behind the brand
PEOPLE BEHIND THE BRAND
RaasLeela is an all-women brand; from the head designer to the artisan.
Hetal Shrivastav, 33 Years, Founder & Designer
Born and brought up in Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Hetal grew up in an environment where traditions were genuinely valued, things were up-cycled if they stopped functioning and dignity of work prevailed. Winning an award for the “Best use of traditional skills into contemporary styling” in the last year of her graduation in the NIFT Gandhinagar course served to be a stepping stone in the right direction.
Hetal started Raasleela in 2013. She made the garments herself as getting them stitched from a tailor was expensive having very little funds. After strenuous hours spent on doing that, she gave up. Not on the garments, but on the machine. She stitched every piece of a garment by hand and this is how it still functions. Skeptical about the success of this process at first, the artisans they collaborated with, later on, took pride in making the garments. “I have made this entirely by myself is what Hansaben, with whom we made our first collection, had said with such pride and power that it made me realize what I wanted to do”, says Hetal.
Sonal Parmar, 30 Years, Checker and stock manager
"Hu Sonal chu" my name is Sonal she says. She has been a part of RaasLeela for 3 years now. Essentially joining as a proficiency checker has recently been promoted to be a part of the management team. Always smiling and being intuitive is how she overcomes her problems.
She dreamed that her 5-year-old son gets cured of having a hole in his heart and that she sees RaasLeela succeed in every scenario. Today she is happy to share with you that her son is finally well and healthy and as for her second wish, we hope she is a part of Raasleela for a long time to see it climb the stairs of success.
Tarulatta Makwana, 41 years, Artisan Trainer
Meet Tarulata, the head of the sampling team. Adept at garment part assembly, and working with people, she is at the heart of RaasLeela.
“My journey of doing something for myself began three years post my second divorce. I used to work from home, almost like a robot, doing the same things every single day until I came to RaasLeela. Now as a maker, in two years, I’m leading all the makers! Right from being part of exhibitions, interacting with the consumers directly, to knowing the true value of the skills I possess, teaching my skills to college students in a workshop to traveling in an airplane, it has been a fulfilling expedition of hope and motivation. While currently, I live with my parents and I aspire to build my own house one day!”
Sonaben Kodi, 53 Years, Rabari Embroidery expert
Sonaben is a cheerful woman who brings life to our atelier. She exudes confidence in everything that she does and is adept in embroidering with interlaced stitches which are called Bawaliyo, a skill that is becoming rarer by the day. Come over to the studio for some great tea brewed by her!
“RaasLeela is a home for me. Right from making Chai (Tea) to welcoming Mehmaan (Guests), I love doing everything like a mother here! I feel strong enough here, to tell my husband in times of difficulty, that Swami, I am there, do not worry!”
Dilshad Banu Sheikh, 55 years, Sample Maker
Dilshaad Banu, young at heart, jovial, happy-go-lucky lady, keeps everyone amazed at her trims and finishes. Despite facing personal struggles, she always exudes positive, keeping us all inspired and strong.
“I got married to life to my childhood sweetheart, who I lost 5 years ago. Coming out strong, I knew I had to get independent. I told my daughter to not hesitate on asking me for anything that she needed.
I started working after a year of death. It’s been a year that I have been a part of RaasLeela now, and it has been the most positive highlight for me because the culture here revived me emotionally. Here, prayers are part of every morning. Be it parties for birthdays, festivals or small achievements; everything is celebrated which makes me forget the difficulties and makes my life worth living!”
Laxmiben Bhadru, 55 Years, Applique expert
Laxmiben is the senior-most maker at the atelier. She is very perceptive and warm. With more than 60 years of experience in applique, patchwork, and embroidery, her hands move intuitively. An eager capability to grasp new techniques and enviable stamina, she gives us a run for our capabilities.
“My husband was addicted to alcohol, and my son got murdered at the age of 29 for a political mishap. I raised my children and my grandchildren with my handcraft skills but from home. I didn’t know about the world until I came here to RaasLeela. A home outside my house, I feel like I have a caring family here who takes care of me, and most importantly, respect me.”
Sumi, 29 Years, Sample maker
Sumi is one of our all-rounder artisans. There is not a single task which she can't do, her craft skills and knowledge always come in handy. At a young age, she carries big dreams in her eyes. She has been working as an artisan for RaasLeela for two years now and also has been preparing for govt exams. Coming from a small family background hasn't stopped her from aiming big.
She once said her dream was to buy a two-wheeler for herself from her earnings and be proficient in speaking English. While she is already gained her sense of freedom by traveling through her two-wheeler. She is also learning English side by side.
Jaya, 33 Years, Sample maker
Jaya is known for her promptness. Being a divorcee and a mother of her 8-year-old daughter says that Raasleela provides her an opportunity of being independent and proud of herself. Usually silent, she always makes sure that there are no mistakes in her work and that it is always pleasing to one's eyes. Her swift hands and a keen eye for details help her achieve that. Her biggest dream is to see her daughter become a doctor one day. Until then she is happy to have a wholesome growth and a ray of hope here at Raasleela textile.
Waliben Rathod, 60 Years, Stitching expert
Waliben, a bright, positive woman is exceptionally adept at applique. She does an adorable dance step while singing ‘Papa Paiya Kishan Kanaiya’ every morning in our dance warm-up session.
“When I came here for my first job ever, I felt like I got bail from jail and could finally breathe fresh air and see the world out there. I knew the skills of mud painting, applique, etc. Here, my skills took a new turn where I learned to apply them together, and further learned how to stitch by hand. I aspire to learn more with time!”
Kalamba Jhala, 23 years, Project Manager
"I remember giving my job interview for Raasleela Textile, it was autumn noon of September 2019, I entered the office and found 3 different piles of remnants segregated nicely according to their sizes and material. It was a week after I joined that I came to know how serious and dedicated everyone here is, for sustainability and ethical work practice" freshly graduated from Pearl Academy of Design, Jaipur in May 2019 "I learned a lot about design and its purpose and how age-old craft plays a big role in it. With my father being a journalist and my mother being acquainted with the art of embroidery herself, I always had a nik for apparel and books and am glad I get to do both of those things under one label." - Kalam
Saloni Jhaveri, 22 Years, Silhouette Maker
Born in Mumbai and having lived in Ahmedabad, Saloni has had the best of both worlds. Having aced her Graduation Project, from United World Institute of Design in 2019, her passion for designing and understanding the nuances of the way of fashion in cross cultures, has been invariable. "I am extremely determined on exploring and experimenting to be working on contemprorising the old, going back to my roots, always. Inspirations follow and this has made me realize where I wish to go. The design ideation and cutting is what I plan to reach at, with my first stair being here at RaasLeela!!" says Saloni.
Jiviben, 58 Years, Applique artisan
Jivtiben is a pocket-size powerhouse of the atelier. She has a zeal to learn further. When she first joined, she knew the craft of applique, but gradually learned other skills like hand-stitching and embroidery very soon.
“Married at the age of 17, I took care of the laid up mother-in-law. I made sure I took care of my children, and educate them in English. I managed a small provision store for 25 years. There has been a time in my life where I had house helps for cleaning and times when I had to be a house help for others. Soon, I found an opportunity at RaasLeela. I didn’t know the value of my skill of applique which I pursued as a hobby earlier until I came here. It’s been a long process of learning and growing.”