When Masumi Mewawalla was three years old, she took part in the Gujarati stage drama Jalpari, which left quite an impact on one particular viewer. He introduced her to then leading TV actor Smriti Irani, now Union minister.
And so, at the age of five, Masumi was cast in her first TV role playing Smriti’s daughter. Smriti then went on to introduce the confident little lass to the producers of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi – one of the most successful TV shows in Hindi. Masumi was selected from an audition of over two thousand other aspiring child stars. It was the defining moment of the little girl’s life.
For the next 10 years, Masumi was a regular face on Hindi TV shows, playing a role in almost all ‘K-serials’ – street lingo for TV soaps made by Balaji Telefilms, which all start with the letter ‘K’. Accustomed to long hours, the grandeur of sets, and hanging out with well-known television icons, she developed a strong entrepreneurial streak early on in life.
While still in her teens, she stopped acting and started her own catering services – “It was something I really loved”. With just a small team, she managed official events catering to hundreds of people. She also started conducting dance classes in schools and colleges, gradually moving up to choreographing weddings. All this while doing her post-graduation in commerce!
And then came an opportunity for Masumi to show off her creativity in more sartorial ways. She designed a black sari for her mother. “It was a gift for their wedding anniversary,” recalls the 26-year-old. It was such a hit that her parents encouraged her to take up designing as a full-time profession.
Masumi began showing her work to clients at home, gradually upscaling to a workshop and boutique in Lower Parel, Mumbai. She also began retailing from online multi-brand stores and from her own e-store under the label Pink Peacock Couture three years ago.
With a price range from Rs 20,000 to Rs 8 lakhs, her clothes are made-to-order. “Almost 85 per cent of our customers are brides; the rest are attendees,” she half-jokes, adding that being a former wedding choreographer and TV personality with a foothold in the social circuit was definitely a business strength she started out with.
Today, Masumi employs around 35 persons, has shown at three fashion weeks, and is worn by the who’s who of Bollywood and the TV industry. She has managed to balance the need to express herself creatively with designing as per her clients’ needs.
“Doing my own thing is important for me but so is my clients’ sensibility,” she explains, adding, “which is why my designs are modern, more comfortable, but they also have 3D flowers and our trademark rose-gold embroidery.”
Next on her agenda is a ready-to-wear casual line for men and women, an accessories line, a lingerie brand and “maybe even a food business, hotels…” she shrugs. “My ambition is to be in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. I still have four years to go.”
First published in the April 2018 issue of eShe magazine