Le Zazzu, my newly launched platform, is an agent and an online storefront for bold visionaries from Asia
I believe boldness is not just reserved for special occasions. I curate for those who are unique in their everyday lives – for those who want to stand out and treat every day as their runway.
Le Zazzu stands for those who raise their hands for color…in life and in their clothes
Most of the designs I curate, for these bold color-seekers, are not available in the US. An explosion of colors, textures and details, they scream luxury and are a must have for every celebration – from a regular day at work to a special occasion.
Visit lezazzu.shop for incredible women’s, men’s clothing, bold one of a kind jewelry and accessories.
I stay motivated by… the adage “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”. I constantly tell myself that this is going to work- I am going to make it work. I approach every obstacle as a temporary disruption, always think of my final goal, and refuse to lose perspective.
Three adjectives that describe me are… petite, ladylike and FIERCE.
If I could have dinner with one person it would be… Coco Chanel because I live by her quote “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” Reinventing myself and launching a new career took a lot of gumption-I would love to spend an evening with Madame Chanel to get a glimpse of how she did it-time and time again!
The most exciting innovation to me is… the iPhone-I would be utterly lost without mine, from emails to videos to calendars-my most precious technological possession.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted?
I launched the business because I had a mid-life realization. I had worked hard to climb the corporate ladder in the healthcare industry – I was the youngest regional director in my company with over a hundred people reporting to me. But, I looked down and realized I had been climbing the wrong ladder. I did my job with a lot of passion, but felt far more passionate about fashion.
I also felt like I needed to make a difference in the world to feel alive. As a healthcare executive, I was beginning to feel stifled with the restrictions on how I could assist my clients and felt I could do more for the world in another way. I believed that I could bring a difference to the world through fashion in a better way than in healthcare – especially as an outsider.
How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you?
I believe I have a pretty eclectic fashion sense and though my origins are Indian, I don’t wear traditional Indian clothes a lot. Every time I’d shop in Mumbai in traditional stores, I’d buy out the small sections that catered to contemporary wear.
I naturally gravitated towards these one of a kind pieces, and while wearing them in Manhattan, in the middle of the street, I’d have women ask me “who are you wearing?”
I had been mulling over an idea but these responses totally reinforced my belief that there was a potential for this.
I sat on it for a few years, and as they say, the stars aligned-at a time when we’ve got more cultural diversity in mainstream media from people like Priyanka Chopra, Mindy Kaling and others, I knew that this would be the perfect moment for such a venture.
Seven months from an idea on paper, endless emails, visits to India, a website and voilà LeZazzu.Shop was born!
What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
A licensed Physical Therapist, I had a 17-year career in the healthcare industry, most recently as Regional VP for a rehab management company in New York, managing several nursing homes and a staff of over a hundred.
Once I launched LeZazzu, I was surprised how much being an employee had prepared me to be an entrepreneur.
Every decision I made in my career taught me something about dealing with my business. Running a business comes down to the bigger picture being executed in little details and I already knew how to deal with those details.
For the first time in my life, it was empowering to know that it was ok not to know everything. I was able to be a sponge, absorbing all the new information as it came my way.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
I can talk at length about the fear of walking away from paychecks, routine, and all those things that I had gotten used to for 17 years in the healthcare profession.
As an entrepreneur you have to work hard to stay focused, on track, not lose perspective-it is very different from being an employee-where someone more often than not spells things out for you.
I’m an extrovert and I get energy from being around a group of people, so it’s been hard to be alone a lot of the time. It can get really lonely and overwhelming. But that’s when I think aloud and say to myself “You want this, it is worth everything”
How far are you willing to go to succeed?
Everyday hundreds of entrepreneurs launch new businesses. A majority of them shut shop within a year. You have to be willing to go all the way.
If you are not having sleepless nights thinking about your finances, ideas and the endless list of connections you need to make you are not pushing yourself hard enough.
Think big, be strong, work hard and you will find success in every little win.
Who is the one super successful person you look up to? Why them? Can you share their quote/ideology that inspires you the most?
Hands down Oprah! “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.”
Unless you believe you are a queen-don’t expect anyone to treat you like one-for me Oprah is the epitome of fierce alpha female, successful entrepreneur, amazing human- all things I vie to be.
What is your biggest dream? Why?
Though LeZazzu was launched as an e-commerce brand it also has a strong philanthropic purpose. A percentage of our profits are dedicated towards supporting emerging talent from Asian countries, which is also why currently we purchase all the merchandize that we feature.
My dream is to form an incubator for these supremely talented designers-most of whom cannot afford to launch their collections or have the connections to make it in the fashion industry.
I want to be recognized as the Launch Pad-the Go To for those who want to bring their visions from the East to the West.