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Creativity and commerce

Will and versatility make Nandini Sharma a successful entrepreneur


"LEATHER MANUFACTURE and leather trade have been largely associated with men for some reason," says Nandini Sharma, an entrepreneur who broke the common perception and made her foray into the leather industry two decades ago. With an interest in art and an eye for detail, Nandini Sharma revived the business (then called Thiruveni Exports) that was abandoned by her family, in 1977. She started off with manufacturing corporate gifts. "Contacting corporate houses and marketing the idea of using leather products as gifts was my main focus. Since it was an innovative idea then, it wasn't difficult to convince corporate executives." Luckily for Nandini, Thiruveni Exports had already made a name in the leather industry.

Sitting in her modest office in T. Nagar she says, "Once I got the concept going we managed to rule the market for many years. We still have clients who have been buying our products from the time we started." The products have been arranged on the shelf behind her table — multi-purpose pouches, pocket secretary, wallets, key chains, paperweights, pen stands, photo holders, organisers, laptop bags, executive bags, visiting card holders, belts and spectacle cases.


Since 1990 Nandini has been marketing her product under the name `Premier Leathers.' Cutting, styling and embossing are done at her small leather unit. "Sometimes, I also rent out the space and the machines to small leather manufacturers who do not have the facilities," says Nandini.

For Nandini, business is all about innovation and creative perception. So Premier Leathers soon diversified into Nashaa Collection, when the Indo-Western look came into vogue. "Nashaa Collection is a fusion of Western and Indian styles and the products are both aesthetically appealing and functional." Wood, paper, clay, leather and cloth are used to create decorative handbags, pouches, gift bags, jewel cases, candle-holders, ethnic photo frames and other gift items. If these are not enough, Nandini is also running a matrimonial service — www.marriagechennai.com — under the name `Thirumangalyam.' "Right from arranging the priest to finding a wedding hall and giving away return gifts we take care of every thing."

PRASSANA SRINIVASAN

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