Home > Feature Top Home page > Female Entrepreneur: Devina Juneja | Founder, Suede by Devina Juneja

Female Entrepreneur: Devina Juneja | Founder, Suede by Devina Juneja

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Tell us about yourself and your background

I was born and brought up in Kolkata, India. From my early adolescent years I was very fond of painting and crafts and my mother often told me that I had the creative gene in me. For me, however, these were mere ‘hobbies’ and wanting to create a more sustainable career path, I went to the University of Manchester to study business management and came back to India to work in the marketing department of an FMCG company. It was only after my marriage that I was exposed to the leather business. My husband is a third generation tanner and exporter of leather and leather goods. I learned under him for three years before I started my brand in mid 2011.

Tell us about the company you have set up – when did you set it up, what products or services do you provide, what is your target market?

Suede by Devina Juneja was founded in July 2011. My brand deals in fashionable and affordable, genuine leather bags. My target market is the young and old, a modern confident woman who is brand aware but not brand wary, someone true to the classics yet bold and innovative in her style.

Devina Juneja - Suede Products

Why did you set up the company? / What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 10.59.30During my initial work years, I felt something was amiss; I did not get up in the morning looking forward to work. I guess fate had a whole new career path planned for me because 18 months into my job, I got married and decided to quit. My husband is a third generation tanner and exporter of leather and leather products and he introduced me to the world of leather. I immediately took him up on his offer to work with him. I spent the next three years learning about the nuances of leather, pattern-making and designing. I was elated as I watched my designs come alive in the hands of the talented craftsmen. That’s when I knew that I wanted to design and eventually start my own label. SUEDE was started in mid 2011 to a lot of encouragement from my family and friends.

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?

I have been extremely fortunate to have all required resources at hand. My biggest challenge is to get new clients to embrace my brand. Today India is home to many international brands and people are getting increasingly brand conscious. To sport a label is a way for someone to show their social standing and the most common way for women to do that is by carrying a designer bag.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

My journey has just begun and ‘I have miles to go’ but the development and launch of my e-commerce website six months ago is one of my greatest work achievements.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My husband who is extremely focused and hardworking and continuously pushes me to adopt this work ethics and takes the greatest pleasure in my success.

How do you balance your work life and home life?

I am lucky to have a very supportive and encouraging family. My mother-in-law is a huge help and very willing to look after my son and the home while I pursue my dreams. My son is now over three and sometimes very clingy so leaving him can be a challenge sometimes, but living in a joint family there is always someone to take care of him while I’m away.

What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?

My advice would be if you are serious, passionate and dedicated to your business then only will others take you seriously. Don’t start something as just a means of passing time, do it because you really want to. Be original, believe in yourself, and don’t give up as success rarely comes easy. And importantly, manage your finances properly.

Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?

None that I can think of.

If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?

What I really need right now is greater brand recognition. I am working towards marketing my website but any celebrity or fashion stylist endorsement would help greatly towards this effort.

What does the future hold for you?

I am looking forward to the future eagerly as I feel my business is finally taking off. I am looking at working towards generating traffic towards my e-commerce website, and also international many international tie ups. One day I would want a Devina Juneja bag to be a must have accessory in the wardrobes of fasionistas the world over!

About Devina –

Devina JunejaI was born and brought up in Kolkata, India. While growing up I was always surrounded by beautiful and rare objects. My great-grand father, grand-father and father are all serious art aficionados and my friends often joked that my home resembled a museum. From my early adolescent years I was very fond of painting and crafts and my mother often told me that I had the creative gene in me. For me, however, these were mere ‘hobbies’ and wanting to create a more sustainable career path, I went to the University of Manchester to study business management and came back to India to work in the marketing department of an FMCG company.

During my initial work years, I felt something was amiss; I did not get up in the morning looking forward to work. I guess fate had a whole new career path planned for me because 18 months into my job, I got married and decided to quit. My husband is a third generation tanner and exporter of leather and leather products and he introduced me to the world of leather. I immediately took him up on his offer to work with him. I spent the next three years learning about the nuances of leather, pattern-making and designing. I was elated as I watched my designs come alive in the hands of the talented craftsmen. That’s when I knew that I wanted to design and eventually start my own label. SUEDE was started in mid 2011 to a lot of encouragement from my family and friends. In between work took a backseat when I went through a difficult pregnancy; however when my son was 6 months old, I saw myself producing some of my finest creations to date resulting in tie-ups with the top online websites in India and Singapore.

“I want SUEDE bags to be a must-have accessory in the wardrobes of fashionistas the world over.” With this eventual goal, SUEDE by Devina Juneja as a brand aims to be notches above with its quality, handcrafted leather bags and yet affordable to those who want to make an impressionable style statement. I believe good design and impeccable quality is the foundation of my brand which is reinforced by my clients coming back to me each time they want a ‘statement’ bag. Leather is such a dynamic material which ages beautifully. I love creating my one of a kind weaves using subtle mettallics and eye-catching neons; experimenting with the texture of leather to create unique surface embellishments and ombre effects through hand sewing, cutting and spraying, creating different patterns and gradients of color.

My country, rich and diverse in color, arts and culture is a huge driving force of inspiration. I also get inspired by my immense love for history and travelling, different geometric patterns, and my army of pet dogs. Although due attention is paid to global trends, I believe a confident fashionista sets her own trend. I design for the modern, confident woman who is brand aware but not brand wary; someone who is true to the classics and yet bold and innovative in her style. My bags are like a statement piece of jewelry, they do not need any further accessorizing. A SUEDE clutch is versatile; it can be carried with an evening gown and also slung across during a casual soiree. My extensive collection has something for the young and the mature, for the bold and the classy!

Contacting Devina –
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