Importing art onto garments, the extraordinary label Drawn brings into existence chic and effortless clothing for occasions, non-occasions and everything in between. Upon seeing a notable gap in the market, Rhea Bhattacharya the founder of this exceptional label, launched Drawn amidst the pandemic. In an exclusive interview she says…
Where/How do you get your best ideas?
I know everyone is working on reducing their screen time but that’s where I get my best ideas. A large part of what makes Drawn® special is the incredible artists we get to collaborate with, I have discovered most of them on Instagram or Pinterest. Their works are my biggest source of inspiration and I spend hours scouring the internet for new and upcoming artists we can work with. The minute I come across something unique I can immediately start picturing a silhouette, which part of the artwork would look great on a sleeve or the collar, who will wear it, how will we shoot it – everything is art inspired!
What’s something they don’t teach you in University that you should probably know?
Taxes and handling your finances! Whether you are an employer or employee, this is something that plays such an integral role in your personal and professional development and security. It is probably one of the most complicated aspects I have grappled with from the start of my career. Unfortunately, the responsibility of educating young adults on things like taxes, claims, insurance etc. often falls on the parents who have just about figured it out for themselves. I wish they focused more on that in schools and universities.
First thing you do as soon as you wake up?
The one thing you shouldn’t do – I check my phone. But I am making a more conscious effort to wait for a minimum of 30 minutes before I start scrolling through emails and my meetings for the day. I also try and get a workout in every morning. Being an entrepreneur can take a huge toll on your mental health and this is something that really helps get me in the right frame of mind for the day ahead.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?
Faster and easier access to growth capital as well as better access to strategic partners / mentors. There are so many incredible small businesses that are forced to shut shop in 2-3 years because of lack of access – financial or otherwise
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of your company(s)?
We got featured on Diet Sabya for the right reasons and we landed our dream artist collaboration.
What do you typically read?
Interior design magazines. I wish I read more but honestly there is nothing that makes me happier than flipping through interior design magazines and coffee table books. It is a HUGE source of inspiration for a lot of the prints we create.
Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?
He has never been my boss and never will (hopefully) but I am very inspired by my father’s journey and leadership skills. Growing up, all I would hear from his colleagues was how he was such an incredible boss and more importantly how he was kind, ethical and encouraging; that has been my biggest learning. He continues to be a mentor to many, myself included.
What question do you ask at interviews?
What made you reach out to us or what stands out to you – I think it is very important to understand what the candidate connects with and what they can bring to the table.
One thing you learned about yourself?
That I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. Being an entrepreneur will be the hardest thing you will ever do. It will test you at every step and you will learn something new about yourself every day. Good and bad.
Rhea Bhattacharya, founder at Drawn.
How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?
By giving them space to experiment, create and take the lead.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
I struggle with that, every entrepreneur does. When you are in the early stages of building a business – your time is not yours. You give it your everything and honestly that does lead to you sacrificing a large part of your personal life. I have found that what really helps is the people you surround yourself with – friends who will remind you to take some time off or a partner who will insist that you do. I have an incredible support system of friends and family who understand the demands of my work, but also keep me on track to make sure I don’t completely disappear.
A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?
I spent my entire childhood sketching clothes on the back of my notebooks. Flipping through fashion magazines and imagining edits and tweaks I would make to pieces that I spotted in a collection. I did not have the courage to apply to design school but many years later I decided to take the plunge and turn my notebook sketches into a sample. Even today I will randomly think of an idea and sketch it on the first piece of paper or book I can get my hands on.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
It’s going to be the toughest thing you will ever do. There will be more bad days than good – but just make sure you keep going, focus on the bigger picture and be kind to yourself.