150 Years of Fashion History

I love history. Not in the terms of dates or battles or war strategies, but in the way that people lived. My favorite part of museums is seeing artifacts - furniture, housewares, fashion - I love the intimate insight into the past through someone else's things.

Cleveland has its own very illustrious history, particularly when it comes to fashion. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, Cleveland was home to THE Rockefellers and many other prominent Cleveland families, and the women of the era were very much in tune with European and New York fashions of the time. 

In the 50s and 60s, subsequent generations started clearing their ancestors closets, and a number of these pieces ended up at the Cleveland History Center. In fact, the Cleveland History Center has been collecting apparel and textiles for a number of years, and has amassed what is widely considered one of the Top 10 collections in the country. And this year, in celebration of 150 years, some of these gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces will be on display in a new exhibit - WOW Factor: 150 Years of Collecting Bold Clothes. The exhibit will run through March 2018, but you can be one of the first people to experience the collection by attending the opening to the exhibit! I mean, who doesn't want to get all fashionable for the evening and show off their style at a fabulously stylish event?!

Photo credit: Sean Bilovecky Photography

Photo credit: Sean Bilovecky Photography

The exhibit includes pieces from some prominent Clevelanders in history, celebrities like Lebron James, and local trendsetters, designers, and reality TV Stars Valerie Mayen and FOUNT Leather. And then it also includes a series of pieces from everyday Clevelanders, like ME!!!

I am so honored to have loaned some accessories from my private collection (not Bombay Taxi Boutique pieces) to help round out this exhibit, and share some of my history and my family's history as part of this celebration. 

Bombay Taxi Boutique at WOW Factor

The two bangles above are from my Mom's collection - vintage Indian silver jewelry. The two pair of earrings are modern interpretations of classically Indian designs. The pair earrings on the left are called "Victorian style" because they are modeled after jewelry from the era of Queen Victoria of England, back when she was Empress of India. The ones on the right is most likely derived from Persian designs - all part of India's rich, diverse history. 

When I was very young, I once grabbed my Mom's jewelry as she was getting ready for party and tried to put it on. I also had a massive hissy fit at my aunt's wedding because I wasn't allowed to wear my mother's pearls. Needless to say, my love for jewelry has deep roots. When my mother was in her 20s, she started collecting silver jewelry, and when I was a teenager, I inherited her collection. And I wore these pieces every day - stacks of bangles, earrings -- there was almost never a day that I wasn't wearing jewelry - and this is true even today. It is this love and passion around jewelry that drove me to start Bombay Taxi Boutique, and it is such an incredible honor to share some of my passion with my beloved adopted city of Cleveland via this small contribution to the WOW Factor exhibit! I hope you will go check it out! 

Gimme That Beach Life

You guys! I am BEYOND excited, because I'm taking my first vacation of the year with some glorious, well-deserved time at the beach. 

I spend time at the beach each year in Cleveland - I'm lucky to live 2 blocks from a nice beach on Lake Erie, so I take advantage of it, spending time laying out in the sun and breeze a number of times in the summer. I know this may sound shocking because I'm Indian, but truth is, my skin is SUPER sensitive to the sun - I break out in itchy and painful hives on my arms and hands, so its sunblock and shaded umbrellas for me. I can be out in direct sunlight for little bits of time, but I have to be very very careful. This feels very vampire, without the sparkling skin.

In any case, since this is my first beach excursion (and on a trip no less) I actually had to spend some time finding all my beach gear and pulling it together! And since it IS a new year, I *may* just have  acquired a few new beach pieces, specifically a black floppy hat, some new pink lip color (because WHY NOT?!) and a new pair of sunglasses (because I've lost most of mine from last year). All valid purchases, don't you think?

I've got some beach reads handy too; besides my huge stack of magazines, I'm also reading Scrappy Little Nobody and Tales from the Back Row. I know these are a little older - what can I say? I've got some catching up to do! 

If you're interested in my beachy adventures, follow me on Instagram and check out my instastories! 

Hi! I'm an Entrepreneur With a Full Time Job

I've been a part of corporate America since I was 22, keeping my head down and working hard to get the type of experiences that will allow me to climb the corporate ladder towards new successes. And by all measures, I would consider myself successful - I receive a paycheck that helps support my family in a lifestyle that we've become accustomed to and helps me plan for my future, I do work that I find interesting, and I've achieved a level of credibility and trust that allows me to partially create my own  job description. In short, I've achieved the holy grail of corporate America, and I consider myself very fortunate to be in this position.

And yet.... in my mid 30s, I felt like there was something missing. You see, I've loved jewelry since I was a young girl, and I took that love to the next level by opening my online jewelry boutique, Bombay Taxi, in 2015.  I did this in part because I thought it would be fun, and in part because I wanted to see if I could actually do it - grow a brand and a business that was not just self sustaining, but profitable.

Shop for these earrings here

Shop for these earrings here

When you're an entrepreneur, it starts to get easy to believe that the only way your business can be successful is if you quit your day job and only work on your venture. And while this may be true once you get to a certain size, what happens if you're like me, and you don't really WANT to quit your job? Is there no hope for you or your business?

Well, over a year into Bombay Taxi, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to quit your day job, at least not until you feel like it might be the right move for you. But if you are pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams as a side hustle, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Your growth trajectory in your business and your job will not be the same: Meaning that it is very difficult if not impossible to have the same growth in your career and your business - there just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish both, and besides, most people don't have the brain power and stamina to fire on all cylinders for an extended period of time. And that's ok!! There will be times where your business will grow faster or slower depending on the demands of your job and your life, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
  2. Outsource the things you're not good at in your business and your life: Now this is somewhat cashflow dependent, but you need to save time wherever possible, and outsourcing your weaknesses is one way to buy yourself more time. For example, I outsource the cleaning of my house because (a) I suck at it, and (b) by paying someone to come clean my house every two weeks, I save myself at least 8 hours a month. 8 hours is real time - that's a whole day of work! I'm also outsourcing some aspects of my business like taxes and PR - things that are important but that I either don't want to do, or simply are not my strength. Could I figure them out? Sure. But its not worth the time that would go into it when there are other things like inventory and social media that I'm frankly just better at.
  3. Put yourself first: This is an important tip for entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike- YOUr family, YOUr business, YOUr career - YOU are a critical part of all them. And without both your physical and mental health, NONE of these can thrive. So put yourself first - rest when you need it, work out to keep yourself physically strong, meditate or do whatever you need to do to keep yourself mentally strong. Sleep. Do things that are fun simply because they are FUN! Or do nothing if that's what you need. Without YOU, none of this happens.
Shop for these earrings here. Photo credit: Suzuran Photography

Shop for these earrings here. Photo credit: Suzuran Photography

As your business grows, you will inevitably have to make some tough decisions when it comes to the balance between your business and your day job, and I know that at some point I will have to do the same. But the thing is, I'm not letting some undefined point in the future determine what I'm doing NOW. For now, I plan to kick ass at both.

If you're contemplating an entrepreneurial journey, I hope that this post has given you some assurances that you don't need to quit your day job to build a business, if that's not what you want to do. Now go kill it doing that thing you do!!

Disclosure: This post first appeared at SheInTheCLE.com in January 2017. I am a founding partner at She In The CLE, a blogger collective that seeks to amplify and elevate the voices of the women of Northeast Ohio. 

Fun, Fashion and Fundraising with All About The Bag

All About The Bag holds a very special place in my heart. It was my very first fundraising event with Bombay Taxi and really, my first event overall with Bombay Taxi - I was so excited to be a part of it all.

Photo Credit: Micho Aboukhaled

Photo Credit: Micho Aboukhaled

And then the event itself just blew me away - everyone attending seemed to be having such a great time, and more importantly, they were SO generous with how much they raised on the big day. Much has changed over the past year, and although I don't sell bags anymore, I'm honored to remain a part of this important and fun event as a blogger!

This year's event is once again being held at Landerhaven on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017, and like last year, promises to be filled with fun and fashion. And like last year, everyone, whether they are an attendee or not, will have an opportunity to participate in a raffle for a gorgeous CHANEL handbag! I am definitely entering this one. After all, its for an excellent cause - just $5 fills an entire grocery bag for one of the 60,000 Northeast Ohio families supported by the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland

Tickets are still available to the event, but if you pop over to my Instagram, you can enter to win a pair of general admission tickets

I hope I see many of you there! I will be buying lot of raffle tickets and crossing my fingers tight!!

Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of tickets in exchange for my posts helping to promote the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own!

 

Three Dreamy Period Pieces to Binge On This Weekend

When I was young, I hated history. I thought it was incredibly boring, but looking back on it, I think it was the way it was taught in my school. I'm convinced that if someone had shown me pictures of the fashions and art and design, I would have been WAY more into it than I was back then. I'm thankful for my college art history class, recreations on the History Channel, and of course, the glory that is Netflix for getting me interested in history again. After all, as my dad used to quote "those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it." 

Back to period fashions, I've been obsessed with three period pieces on Netflix - and in no small part because the costumes and sets on all three shows are absolutely exquisite. So if you're in the mood for some binge watching, here are 3 I recommend:

1. The Crown: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the very start of her reign as Queen of England. What happens when a super masculine man must literally bow to his wife?

2. Medici Masters of Florence: I fell in love with Florence when I visited in 2009. Nick was studying there for a semester, so I spent a whole week in Florence, leisurely exploring the city. I especially enjoyed visiting the Medici palace and its accompanying gardens, and grew more intrigued by the Medici story while I watched DaVinci's Demons on Showtime. This story takes place the generation prior to DaVinci's Demons and despite Dustin Hoffman's weird accent, is very interesting. 

3. Versailles: I just started this series this week, and I have to say, this series has the most extravagant costumes and sets of all three series. Drama, sex, intrigue, betrayal, illegitimate children, war.... this series has it all. Visually stunning, and with an interesting story to boot.

All three shows are available on Netflix now. Enjoy your binge, and please let me know what you're watching these days- bonus points if its a period piece!