When optimism and hard work blends together there is a unique success story. Sheela Kochouseph Chittilappilly, the Managing Director of V-Star is one such successful name heard in Kerala and has carved a niche in the lingerie industry with her novel style of functioning .She has always opted for the best business where she believes that her growth and success saga is based on planning and perseverance. Today, when she looks back she is a satisfied person with an immense growth record in her hands. In an exclusive interview with Friday Mania she unveils her life and business.
Behind every successful idea there is an inspiration. What made you to start a business on your own?
Even at a very young age I always wanted to be independent and I used to do things on my own .I have seen my mother’s plight with 12 children when she lost her husband and that was one of the reasons which made me come into business. But after my marriage I was confined to the indoors taking care of my family and children and once the children grew up I decided to do business on my own. My father was also into business and that gave me an inclination towards business.
How was your start?
I started my garment business way back in 1995 with V-star salwar kameez. Later I realized that salwar kameez is not my choice of business. I always prefer simple designs whereas I had to stick on to the designer type salwars to cater to the demand from our customers. So I decided to shift my focus to some other area and that’s how I ventured into the present business of lingerie for ladies, kids and gents. I found the market was not competent enough to meet the present day demand of lingerie. So thought of going for high quality products for comparatively higher price. Initially our products were branded as Vanessa and Valero but now everything has come under one brand, that is V-star.
What were the challenges you faced in the market initially?
The market was quiet tough initially and we had to face challenges from products which were brought from Mumbai and Delhi market. Later our customers realized and recognized our products on the basis of quality and trust. And now we have reached a level of branding which international products claim.
How could you maintain a level of standard where the customers started asking for V-star products?
Yes .Our customers are the pillar of our success. Now V-star has reached the no.1 position in a span of 20 years. Our priority is to cater to the demands of our customers and so far we have succeeded in that.
Are you into export also?
Yes. We export 20% of our products and we are planning for more in the future.
You travel a lot to learn more and more about the business. Do you think it has helped to establish your business in an international level?
I travel abroad to understand the emerging trends in lingerie. Now, lingerie is no longer just a functional piece of clothing. It is about style. Both men and women and even kids are aware and selective about their inner wears. They are very choosy and particular about brands and stuffs like that. So I thought of cashing in on this trend. And so far I could achieve a major milestone in this.
According to you tell us the major qualities a business woman should possess to be successful?
First of all a person should not think of doing business through short cuts. Hard work and consistency can only take you to heights. Delegating power to staffs and trusting them also is very important to run a successful business.
Your future expansion plans?
We have already shown our presence in most of the South Indian states. My goal is to become India’s no.1 brand and to sell my product all over the world.
Apart from your business tell us about your other activities.?
I do oil painting and I m organizing an oil painting exhibition at Hotel Le Meridian from 23 rd December to 11th January along with cine actress Sheela. I have learned Carnatic music. I enjoy gardening and cooking and find time for myself to do all these.
Any advice to ladies?
Every woman should be financially independent and then only she can get respect from family and society.
Recently you are seen along with your husband Kochouseph Chittilappilly for his hunger strike against stray dogs. How do you evaluate this serious problem of stray dogs attacking the humans?
I am of the opinion that stray dogs should be eradicated from our state. Lot of humans including women ,children and the old are getting bitten by these dogs. And the impact is too severe. Government should take more initiatives in this matter and consider human lives as valuable. I will surely fight along with my husband till we get a solution for this problem.