Freedom Special: TheGlitz salutes ‘dream merchants’ who have fought all odds to make their dreams a reality

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It’s our great country’s 77th Independence Day and to honour this momentous occasion, TheGlitz presents a special band of enterprising entrepreneurs and creators who dreamt big and despite the many odds, refused to give up on their lofty dreams. Fearless entrepreneurs who achieved mega success on projects nobody dared to touch. …Creative creators who worked relentlessly to achieve the unthinkable. Indeed, in this wonderful month of ‘Independence’, TheGlitz gives a huge shout-out to these intrepid dream merchants who broke the shackles of mediocrity and flew to the highest pinnacle to salute their ‘never say die’ dreams.

Raghav Mittal, MD & Creative Director – House of Surya

Raghav Mittal

Raghav Mittal is indeed the epitome of TheGlitz dream merchant and an innovative force in the Indian fashion industry, known for his successful fashion labels Surya and Raagwaas. With a degree from the prestigious London College of Fashion, UAL, Raghav was born and raised in old Delhi and is a domain expert in the Indian fashion industry, well-versed in business processes, marketing, branding, and customer experience. His creativity and business acumen have propelled his fashion empire to new heights.

Deeply committed to promoting luxury and ethical fashion practices in India, Raghav advocates brands that prioritize fine craftsmanship and the use of high-quality materials. Inspired by old Delhi’s heritage and culture, Raghav has infused his brand Surya with the luxurious and classy lifestyle of London, creating a unique blend. Starting from counter sales, Raghav progressed to marketing and then analyzed all aspects of the business, contributing to its success, and is a rising star in the Indian fashion scene. Led by this visionary, the brand celebrates Indian traditions while embracing innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability. They have unveiled their renewed flagship store in Chandni Chowk and a stunning bridge-to-luxury store in Delhi.

Shriya Kolte, Founder, of Imagination Inc.

Young, chic, and original… that’s Shriya Kolte’s Imagination Inc. Having studied Interior Designing from Istituti Callegari Milano and Central Saint Martins, London, Shriya combined her passion for designing with art exposure from across the globe, to establish Imagination Inc. in 2016. Shriya describes ‘creativity’ as her DNA and that indeed shows in her work. Her personal art shows have been held across the country, displaying her astute sense of design. She has accomplished over 280 projects in Pune and is known for her sophistication, brilliance in style, innovative ideas, and attention to the minutest of details. At Imagination Inc. – Shriya has handpicked a team of young, edgy, and zealous designers, who further contribute to her ‘Imagination Edge’.

Aditya Modak, writer of the immensely successful Marathi play “Mi Swara ani Te Dogha

Aditya Modak

Aditya Modak has captivated audiences across Maharashtra with his immensely successful Marathi play “Mi Swara ani Te Dogha,”. With 100+ shows and still counting, the play resonates with people from all walks of life. This CA, CS, MBA from ISB has many more facets to his personality. Aditya is CFO of P N Gadgil and Sons (PNGS), and under his leadership, PNGS launched its fashion jewelry brand Gargi by PNGS. His journey, his learning as an entrepreneur, writer, and many more things more make him TheGlitz dream merchant.

Ritu Oberoi, ForSarees, handloom saree brand

Ritu Oberoi in her ForSarees saree

ForSarees, a unique handloom saree brand was founded in 2018 by Ritu Oberoi. The brand believes every Saree has two stories to tell, one of the weaves and another of the weaver. And they help these two stories meet. ForSarees is a tribute to these artisans who craft stories between threads, colors, prints, and patterns. So what is their mission? They say, ForSarees is on a mission to celebrate India’s cultural heritage and pay tribute to the skilled artisans who preserve traditional craftsmanship. The brand promotes sustainable growth in slow fashion and empowers local artists by providing them with meaningful employment opportunities. Their projects have benefited 300 artisans across 26 clusters, with a particular emphasis on empowering women artisans. Through their efforts, they have contributed to preserving traditional weaving techniques and improving the socio-economic conditions of rural communities. In their collection, they have a wide range of variety that includes, Ekla chalo from Rajasthan, Sozni silk from Shree Nagar , Maheshwari from Madhya Pradesh and Applique from Barmer’s villages, Rajasthan.

Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid Association

Sandeep Chachra

Advocating the rights of tribal communities has for decades been an integral part of ActionAid Association’s work. ActionAid India’s work with these communities is strongly focused on women and children. It was established with a vision to create a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice in which every person enjoys the right to life with dignity. In 2006, ActionAid Association was registered as an Indian organisation, governed by an independent General Assembly and a Governing Board. Together with supporters, communities, institutions and governments, they strive for equality, fraternity and liberty for all. It works in 24 states and two union territories, with several partners and allied organisations. ActionAid Association is part of a global federation and a full affiliate of ActionAid International which has a presence in over 40 countries worldwide. They work with tribal communities, especially those whose livelihood depends on ecological resources, including agricultural labour, small farmers, small-scale fisher folk and fish workers, pastoralists, and even hunters and gatherers of minor forest produce, to ensure their rights, and custodianship of the ecological resources with which they have had a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship over centuries. Sandeep Chachra says, “We cannot simply apply the term “indigenous” to tribal populations in a country like India. India has a complex pattern of indigeneity because of its civilizational continuities and despite its colonial history. Yet, we must recognize that about 20% of the world’s so-called “indigenous” people reside in India. They represent a rich diversity of cultures.”

Manoj Kumar Sharma (MKS), Ashnam Retail Pvt. Ltd., an exceptional home decor brand offering soulful artistry

Manoj Kumar Sharma

Founded by Manoj Kumar Sharma (MKS), a self-made entrepreneur, Ashnam is a story that a Bollywood movie could definitely be made of. This story has drama, emotion, passion and failure and so much more. Starting from 2012, the brand has reimagined itself almost twice after a complete loss and near shutdown.

A product from Ashnam

Both times, his late wife came to his rescue. First, when she was alive in 2015, she lent him money; second, Manoj took strength from her belief in him after her passing away. Ashnam, post-2021, has wholly revamped itself and expanded from 800 sq ft to 40,000 sq ft in Vasai and from a team of 20 people to a 200+ people team. Today, it is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

Umesh & Richa Singh, Tara Candles

Tara Candles was established in 2005 by husband-wife duo – Umesh and Richa Singh. From producing 10 kg of candles per day for a single client in the Mumbai region, today it has become Asia’s largest candle producer, accounting for 65 percent of the market share for candle supply in the corporate segment, Pan India. Tara Candles has also emerged as the most recognised name in the candle business in India across three categories, namely pillar, floating and container candles. Apart from being the country’s best-selling candle brand catering to thirteen regions in India, it has also made an international footprint. From supplying candles to Salim Azgar Ali’s Emirates Airlines showroom, the company has since signed contracts with a number of five-star hotels, including the Taj hotel chain, J.W. Marriott, Grand Hyatt, and ITC Sheraton group of hotels, to name a few. So how did it all start?

Umesh Singh
Richa Singh

While Umesh has been successfully running a profitable business for the last 20 years, the journey to build a brand hasn’t been easy. One of the first in his family to choose entrepreneurship over a job, Umesh started to look for a business idea that would resonate with his passion immediately after completing his graduation in organic chemistry. After his formal education, he did a diploma in handmade paper making in 2001 in pursuit to start his own paper business but was too naive to understand the market and found it a big struggle to sustain that business and failed. Belonging to a family of educators, doctors, and administrators, his father wanted him to be a teacher but Umesh stuck to his passion. At that time, customized gifting was booming and he was open to doing any kind of business where he could use his creativity hence, he used to take gifting orders from people for birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings which opened his way to corporate gifting.

Corporate gifting picked up momentum in the late 90s and while Umesh had made contacts and was getting good recognition for his creativity, business was still slow. But things took a turn in 2005 when he received an order from Emirates Airlines for its convenience place in Khar, Mumbai for scented candles. “The easiest way was to trade candles and resell them to Emirates, but instead, my wife, who had an understanding of candle making and I decided to make candles on our own,” he says. Umesh and his wife Richa were excited about their first order and made 40 candles out of 23 kg wax. Though they fulfilled the order on time, Umesh says that they were the worst candles they have ever made. “That order will always be close to our heart as while completing that, we learned so many lessons on candle making which theoretically we never would have.” Gradually they mastered making different variants of scented candles, smokeless candles, my organic chemistry background worked here, and by 2005, They were ready to kickstart their full-fledged candle business.” Today, Umesh and Richa have taken their dreams to lofty levels. Today, the company has catered to more than 100 clients across the country and is expanding its footprints internationally associating with distribution partnerships.

Ankur Chawla, Founder & CEO, Responsible Whatr

Ankur Chawla

‘Responsible Whatr’ is India’s first natural spring mineral water beverage in sustainable and endlessly recyclable aluminum cans. Apart from being an entrepreneur Ankur is an award-winning sommelier and beverage expert and a survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai Taj Terrorist attack and has authored a best-selling book “14 Hours: An Insider’s Account Of The 26/11 Taj Attack” as well. He’s a contributory author and a TEDx speaker too.
Responsible Whatr is one of India’s first natural spring water beverage, offered in a sustainable and endlessly recyclable aluminum can. It’s a non-alcoholic beverage that was launched with a vision for a sustainable future and an agenda to reduce single-use plastic pollution and offer solutions to alarming environmental hazards. Packaged in recyclable aluminum cans with the intention of reducing/eradicating single use of plastic bottles, the water is directly sourced from an untouchable, virgin and a completely natural source in Solan, Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas. It is rich in naturally balanced essential minerals and ph of ~ 7.4 which is further purified and canned at their state-of-the-art plant.

Mynoo Maryel, acclaimed author, life coach, and global influencer

Mynoo Maryel

Mynoo Maryel’s best-selling book, the BE BOOK: A Journey into Miracles and Guide to Self-Liberation, has garnered widespread acclaim, showcasing her vision to empower individuals and restore dignity. Her transformative wisdom and insights have inspired countless individuals seeking personal and professional growth. Mynoo Maryel’s diverse talents as an entrepreneur, educator, painter, and award-winning movie producer have allowed her to make a profound impact in various fields. The prestigious Powerhouse Global Women Award recognizes her commitment to women’s empowerment. She embodies collaboration and innovation as the founder of the POEM Foundation and co-founder of Federation 100 and JEGO. Mynoo is also a notable TedX speaker and gets invited by the UN to speak on a sustainable and peaceful future.

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