Meet The 54-Year-old Woman Entrepreneur in The Pursuit to Make Sustainable Fashion Affordable

Meet the 54-Year-old Woman Entrepreneur in the Pursuit of Making Fashion Affordable

Shreya Patel, the founder and creative director of RAAS, exemplifies this quote by Debbie Millers. At the age of 51, when most people plan their retirement, Shreya ventured into the field of professional fashion design and established the hugely successful fashion label, RAAS.

Through RAAS, Shreya redefines ethnic Indian fashion and endeavors to empower women with the confidence and grace to conquer the world. The label focuses on unique designs and bold patterns that make strong statements. Self-expression lies at the core of RAAS, and the brand enables women to experience positive and mind-blowing transformations that make them look their very best.

Interestingly, Shreya mentions that when she moved to the Indian clothing USA in 2016, it was with an intention to relax and enjoy quality family time. Having worked as a financial planning and analysis manager in India for several years, she was looking forward to a peaceful retirement. Little did she expect that this move would lead her to rediscover her passion for design, and subsequently open the doors to a new business venture.

Even while pursuing a full-time career, Shreya found great joy in designing festive outfits for her daughter during her spare time. This creative streak paved the way for her milestone decision to start her South-Asian fashion e-commerce business.

Nonetheless, Shreya mentions that this decision was not easy, given her conservative family background. She believes that it is the unwavering support of her husband and children that enabled her to step out of her comfort zone and explore a new career.

Thus, she registered her company in 2016. In the beginning, the brand concentrated on curating artisan-quality outfits from India and selling them in the US. However, Shreya had a bigger vision and the desire to cater to a larger audience. This prompted her to go online to expand the brand’s reach and visibility.

A website and social media were indispensable in the growth of RAAS. Although it would be easy to delegate the website design and social media marketing, Shreya chose to tackle this challenging task herself. Her technical expertise in creating EMRs for small hospitals back in the day proved useful in this endeavor.

Nonetheless, she did have to brush up her basics, undertake various courses and do a lot of research. And all her hard work paid off when the website she designed became a big hit. Since the time it was published, the website has been a big hit with growing revenues and glowing reviews. Even today, Shreya continues to oversee the SEO and technical aspects of the website.

While the business grew, Shreya was consumed by the sustainability and ethical aspects of her band. She had limited control over the independent manufacturers delivering her products. At this juncture, she decided to explore the idea of manufacturing her designs in-house. However, it meant that she had to enhance her knowledge of fashion design.

With the determination to learn from the best, she enrolled at the prestigious Parsons school of design. Studying with peers who were half her age did not deter her and in due time, she earned a professional qualification in design. In no time, RAAS had its own manufacturing unit set up.

Now, most of the production happens in-house, at her manufacturing unit. RAAS also happens to be a women-centric organization, with most of the staff being women. The brand continues to stay true to Shreya’s underlying goal of sustainability and affordable fashion. With the onus on minimum wastage, every bit of fabric and embellishment is effectively and efficiently utilized. Even the smallest detail, from the fabric for new designs to the packaging and shipping is handled with due regard for sustainability without compromising on quality.

Today, RAAS has an established presence in India and the USA. While being inspired by traditional design techniques and ethnic styles, the brand remains committed to innovative fashion concepts that are fashion-forward and one-of-a-kind. Every outfit from RAAS is a compelling example of the finest quality fabrics and embellishments, unique design, and unparalleled beauty. Whether it is for a birthday soiree, a wedding, or a festival, RAAS aims to equip women with the finest contemporary Indian attires that match their exuberant personalities.

As RAAS, impresses with exciting collections in exuberant colors every season and conquers new heights, Shreya’s vision continues to grow. In her relentless pursuit of making sustainable, high-quality designer fashion accessible and affordable, she has also brought forth a new label  ‘TANISI’ that focuses on Western casuals. Checkout Tanisi Dresses For this passionate, talented, and creative entrepreneur, the possibilities are endless, for she strongly believes that she has much more to accomplish.

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