Stefan Thurairatnam Travels the World as a Luxury Brand Influencer After Quitting his 9-5 Corporate Job in Finance

Stefan was working for a leading financial institution for 5 years when some life altering events gave him a different perspective on life. It allowed him the chance to re-evaluate and reflect on his life; he was given a second chance. He was given an opportunity to become an ambassador for Luxury World Traveler and he decided to quit his 9-5 corporate job and book a one-way flight to wherever his finger landed on a spun globe. That was 3 years ago. Through the help and guidance from Gil Antolin, the founder of Luxury World Traveler, he was able to build up to who he is today. He turned his passion into his lifestyle. Through his learnings and experiences, he has successfully started his own marketing and social media consulting company, LuxVision Media Group.

You have a significant following on social media – how did you go about building that audience?

Building a social media audience is based on understanding what you represent and what you want to showcase- consistency is the key to success. Many face obstacles when they do not know what their niche is, making it difficult to succeed in digital marketing or social media. Having a clear vision of what you want to do and sticking to it will target your audience and lead to an engaging following. My advice is that you know your audience, understand your niche and be consistent.

How did you decide to leap working for RBC to start LuxVision Media Group?

I worked for a leading financial institution for five years when some significant changes in my life occurred. It gave me a chance to re-evaluate and reflect on my life; I was given a second chance. I was given an opportunity to become an ambassador for Luxury World Traveler from Gil Antolin. I decided to quit my 9-5 corporate job and book a one-way flight to wherever my finger landed on a spun globe. That was three and a half years ago. Through the help and guidance from Gill himself, the founder of Luxury World Traveler and anyone I have met through there, I built myself into who I am today. I turned my passion into my lifestyle, and I decided to start my own company using my expertise and network to help others with digital marketing and PR.

I decided to transition and branch my line of business into social media marketing to help micro-influencers realize their vision. When I gave my corporate career an entire investment in my passion and led it into a career, I had a minimal idea about this line of work. Over time, I have picked up many strategies that have boosted my career and concepts that have allowed me to think outside of the box and break those walls and let my mind wander. I genuinely believe I have only scratched the surface of the social media influencer game. Each influencer, no matter their niche, runs their own business; it is self-taught and self-employment. We are in charge of the amount of content we produce, the reach it gets and the quality of work. 

The strategies I have acquired along the way are what created the influencer I am. My goal is to teach as many as possible what I have learnt to set them up for success. Being a social media influencer is a career choice, not merely a lifestyle choice. 

What has been your favourite project to work on?  Favourite country or place you’ve visited?

My favourite project I must have worked on has to be with Heineken Canada. It was a surreal atmosphere, and it is one for the books to represent your country internationally and be part of one of the most significant sports events internationally.

If I had to choose a favourite country right now, it has to be the Maldives—a country with 1,100 islands so small on the map, yet so picturesque. No property is the same, no matter how many times you go.

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***

EP #13: Tanya Yoganathan – Momtrepreneur Created An E-Commerce Business That Netflix Star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan Is A Fan Of

Tanya Yoganathan is a mother of two, and the creator of Her Sun & Stars Co. She joins Ara to discuss how she started a business during the start of the pandemic and was able to quit her full-time job because of it. They also discuss Maitreyi Ramakrishnan shouting out Tanya’s company, impostor syndrome, and the importance of financial literacy before jumping into the new segment Creator Confessions.

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Connecting with Tanya –https://www.instagram.com/tanya.yoganathan/
Visit Her Sun And Stars Co. –https://www.instagram.com/hersunandstars.co/



Timestamps:
01:06 – Tanya starts the podcast
01:53 – Ara starts the podcast
03:17 – How Tanya and Ara met, and can Ara speak Tamil?
06:17 – Introducing Tanya Yoganathan, being Instagram famous, how Her Sun & Stars came to be
20:05 – Starting and successfully growing her business (during the pandemic) while working a full-time job
28:13 – Previously work as an advisor in analytics, struggling to celebrate milestones
32:47 – Getting her first celebrity shoutout from Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
37:26 – Why Ara started the podcast
40:17 – Tanya’s first sale, quality vs. time
51:24 – Balancing insecurities and confidence, impostor syndrome
56:37 – Starting a business with kids
59:53 – Viewing money as a tool, the importance of financial literacy
1:00:07 – The FIRE movement
1:08:49 – Personal legacy, Nick Offerman, Ernest Hemmingway, and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam
1:11:51 – The lost art of being able to disagree with someone
1:13:20 – The importance of starting
1:15:57 – Creator Confessions (Tanya’s favourite Tamil creators, when she wants to retire, and more)
1:30:13 – The wrap up

EP #12: Dayalan Mahesan – How A UK-Based DJ & Car Enthusiast Became A Full-Time Property Investor By Age 40

Dayalan Mahesan is the owner of Joseph Property Group, which specializes in property development, management and sales in the UK. He joins Ara to discuss growing up in an entrepreneurial environment, how he raised money with his wife for the Sri Lanka Easter bombing victims, having Burrito Boyz delivered by plane, why ketchup was created, being of a big fan of the Liverpool Football Club, and much more.

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Connecting with Dayalan – https://www.instagram.com/lifeofdayalan/

Timestamps:

00:15 – Introducing Dayalan Mahesan
02:26 – How Ara and Dayalan were both influenced by entrepreneurial fathers
05:22 – Connecting with the Tamil community in London before Facebook
07:27 – Who is DJ Biznus?
08:56 – COVID’s impact on Dayalan’s life and London
10:48 – Fusing Sri Lankan / Caribbean food to raise money for Easter bombing victims
12:31 – Supporting his wife’s entrepreneurial efforts
14:07 – Passion for property, working with the South Asian forum
16:13 – Wanting to mentor people and help the underprivileged
18:52 – Previously being very shy, developing public speaking skills and reading more
20:06 – Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer
23:10 – Ara confesses to bribing Dayalan
23:54 – The time Ara delivered Burrito Boyz from Canada to Dayalan in England
24:47 – How a funeral in 2017 changed Dayalan’s perspective
26:24 – Wanting to be remembered in same light as his late father
28:50 – The impact of the London-Tamil community on Dayalan
30:52 – Who inspires Dayalan? Why was ketchup created?
35:07 – The importance of surrounding yourself with likeminded people
37:11 – Speed round

EP #11: JYXDI (Jyothee Murali) – Amassing Over 150K Followers And Collecting $10,000 For A Single Piece of Art

Jyothee Murali, better known as JYXDI, is a 25 year old Tamil self-taught artist from Toronto who has found massive success on Instagram over the last half-decade. She joins Ara to discuss what it was like dropping out of university to chase her childhood passion for art, being handpicked by Michael B. Jordan to collaborate with Coach, creating art for Noah “OVO40” Shebib, and how her work has turned family skepticism to family support.

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Connecting with JYXDI – https://www.instagram.com/jyxdi/

Timestamps:

00:15 – Introducing Jyothee Muraliaka JYXDI
01:06 – How death note sparked her interest in anime
03:17 – Dropping out of school to pursue her passion and dealing with the pressure of south asian parents
04:33 – Being handpicked by Michael B. Jordan to collaborate with Coach
05:50 – Thoughts on NFTs and decision to release two pieces recently
07:18 – How her work has turned family skepticism to family support
09:01 – Using social media to create exposure, how she came up with the moniker JYXDI, and how anime has helped grow her brand
11:15 – Playing in chess tournaments growing up, and her love for hiking and Bali
12:31 – The types of people she surrounds herself with, being an introvert during COVID
14:05 – Plans to move out of Canada and to build an art school
15:23 – Teaching Tamil seniors how to paint
16:41 – Favourite books/podcasts
17:51 – Practicing discipline and meditation
18:56 – Growing up in Sri Lanka during the genocide, still visiting frequently
20:49 – The impact of the Toronto-Tamil community, being contacted to teach art 1-on-1
22:24 – Oil paintings being her favourite art-type to produce
22:56 – OVO40 (Drake’s Producer) and La Mar C. Taylor (Creative Director for The Weeknd) reaching out for art pieces
24:09 – Wanting to be known for taking a leap of faith and going against the grain
24:34 – From selling paintings at $100 a piece to now sometimes getting $10,000 per piece
26:36 – Being inspired by A.R. Rahman, OVO40
28:21 – Advice she would give to young aspiring artists
29:56 – Speed Round

EP #10: Vijay Sappani – Co-Founder Of A Billion-Dollar Cannabis Company, Philanthropist And Rare Disease Hunter

*Vijay Sappani is a Tamil cannabis entrepreneur and investor who co-founded a billion-dollar company called TerrAscend.  He joins Ara to speak about biryani, biryani, and more biryani. They also cover topics such as why he entered the medical cannabis industry, the process of taking a company public and receiving a billion dollar evaluation, and if money can buy happiness.


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Connect with Vijay –https://www.instagram.com/elacapital/

Timestamps:
00:15 – Introducing Vijay Sappani
01:53 – Nuanced opinions in the Tamil community
05:17 – Vijay’s obsession with biryani, and where to find the best kind
08:16 – Why Vijay entered the medical cannabis industry
12:20 – The biggest challenges Vijay faced upon starting his business
14:13 – Skepticism that Vijay faced early on, and important mentors
17:19 – Taking TerrAscend public and receiving a billion dollar evaluation
22:47 – The importance of knowing when it’s time to step aside
24:51 – Can money buy happiness? Has money changed Vijay?
28:52 – Ela Capital
30:45 – Companies that Vijay has invested in
35:12 – Money being a taboo subject in the Tamil community
39:10 – Vijay’s daughter having a rare genetic disorder, starting a foundation in her name
43:34 – How Vijay balances work and life
46:28 – Wanting to be remembered as “Mr. Troublemaker”
47:44 – Growing into his Tamil identity, and funding projects in Sri Lanka with his wife
53:08 – Ara asks for one piece of advice for Tamil creators; Vijay gives way more
57:31 – Would you rather speed round

EP #9: Sashee Chandran – A Chrissy Tiegen Tweet Helped Turn A Passion Project Into Tea Drops, A Multi-Million Dollar Company

Sashee Chandran is the Founder & CEO of California based company, Tea Drops. After initially starting the brand as a passion project and side gig, she has raised $3.5 million and garnered mainstream attention from the likes of Chrissy Teigen and Tory Burch. She joins Ara to discuss growing up on a tea estate and learning to sell from a young age, how one tweet changed her entire life, and the power of both learning to let go and celery juice.


***To support the work we do to tell creator stories around the world, become a VIP fan – CLICK HERE!***

**For a chance to win a $100 gift card and get future podcast updates, interviews and other news, please sign up for the newsletter – CLICK HERE!**

Connect with Sashee – https://www.instagram.com/sasheechandran/
Follow Tea Drops – https://www.instagram.com/myteadrop/

Timestamps:

00:15 – Introducing Sashee Chandran
01:23 – Growing up on a tea estate with entrepreneurial parents
04:35 – Learning to sell from a young age
05:24 – Starting Tea Drops while working a full-time job at eBay in Silicon Valley
06:46 – How Sashee knew it was time to quit her job and go all-in on Tea Drops
10:57 – The process of patenting Tea Drops
13:39 – The impact of being tweeted about by Chrissy Teigen
15:58 – Transitioning from bootstrapping to raising funds
18:31 – Maintaining open to feedback while having conviction in what you’re building
22:48 – Raising $3.5 million to date and embarking on a $5 million series A round
24:39 – Receiving support from her family, friends, and mentors
27:18 – Meeting people she would have never expected
28:06 – Following her father’s “Horizon Theory”
30:05 – Expanding beyond tea to incorporate and emphasize self-care
34:59 – Wanting to separate work from her personal life, and investing in other founders
41:20 – What Sashee would be doing if Tea Drops wasn’t a thing
46:24 – Why Sashee moved into a 250-sqft home and got rid of 75% of her belongings
49:47 – Sashee’s view on social media
51:40 – Sashee’s interests outside of work (spending time with family and travelling)
54:04 – How the book “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer helped Sashee learn to let go
56:12 – The power of celery juice
57:20 – Wanting to make other people feel like they are the priority
58:40 – The influence of Tamil culture on Sashee
01:00:17 – Admiration for Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
01:01:37 – Sashee’s advice to other Tamil creators
01:02:38 – Would You Rather

How Thad Jayaseelan Became The Go-To Barber For Athletes And Celebrities Like Drake And Big Sean

Thad Jayaseelan started cutting hair as a hobby and left it as that for awhile. 7 years ago, he got back into cutting more seriously.  Leveraging social media, he’s travelled all over Europe teaching, leveraging those photos on Instagram to styling athletes and celebrities including Drake, Big Sean, J Balvin and teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, etc. “I want to be remembered as someone that dedicated his life to be the best I could be at a craft that wasn’t respected as a viable career in my culture.”

What made you decide to become a barber?

I decided to become a barber in my young teenage years when someone gave me the chance to start working in a barbershop. I was surrounded by great cutters which allowed me to build my confidence, particularly in fading and clipper work. 

How have your family and friends supported you through your journey?  Did you have any doubters?

My parents allowed me to cut hair while I was in high school, but of course, didn’t want me to make that a career. I went to university to satisfy my parents but it was completely a waste of time in my opinion. I think I doubted myself, to be honest. Since we’re the first generation, it was a struggle to make anyone understand that cutting hair could be a career, more importantly, respected.  I felt that everyone looked at it as a hobby and I started to believe that too. I kind of forced myself to get out of it. So I stopped cutting hair for a long time only to get back into it 7 years ago. 

What has the impact of social media been on your various ventures?

Wow, it’s been amazing. I got to meet so many other barbers and hairstylists all over the world because of social media. My first class in Barcelona was put together on Facebook. I’ve been invited to teach all over Europe because people get to see my work and then get me to come over and teach the craft. I’ve got to cut a lot of athletes and celebrities based on my Instagram photos which then leads to building great relationships with them. These relationships have led me to cut people such as Drake, Big Sean, J Balvin, and teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays, Montreal Canadians, New York Rangers, etc.  Social Media has also led me to be noticed by L’oreal which then led me to become the National Ambassador for their education team. 

Do you have any mentors that have helped you in the progression of your career?  If not, who would be somebody that you would want as a mentor now?

My mentor was Lebert Blackstock who gave me the opportunity to work at his barbershop at the age of 17.  He taught me all the tricks and tips that led me to pick up the art of cutting a lot faster. Lebert taught a few others that are doing very well in the industry right now.  When I first starting cutting hair 2 years ago, I moved to the UK to attend Vidal Sassoon Academy (the pioneer of women’s hairdressing). All of my teachers there are my mentors. They can practically cut with their eyes closed, haha.

Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years? 

I’m always going to improve my haircutting skills so that will never stop.  However, for the last 6 months, I have been working on my own brand: GRADIENT. It’s a combination of products and education. In 3-5 years,  I see myself growing the brand globally. I want to provide the education and products to as many people as possible to groom their hair. My goal is to make people look and feel good. 

What is one piece of advice you would give other entrepreneurs?

You don’t have to be an expert at everything.  It’s okay to ask for help and delegate tasks to others to reduce your workload so you can focus on the big picture.

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***

Vithusayni Paramanathan, The First Tamil-Canadian Singer Featured On AR Rahman’s Film Score, Also Co-Founded a Burgeoning Production Company

Vithusayni Paramanathan is the first Tamil Canadian Singer to be featured on an AR Rahman film score, after singing the song Maathare. She is trained in Carnatic, Hindustani, and Western Vocals from AR Rahman’s KM Conservatory. She is the Co-Founder of Isai Empire Inc, a Toronto based production company; their most recent concert was D Imman Live in Toronto. As an Independent Artist, Vithusayni has released many Tamil and English original songs. She has even won the Best Debut Playback Singer at the Edison Awards 2020 in Chennai, India. Aside from Music, Vithusayni is a recent Criminology graduate from Western University. She continues to pursue her career and passion for music side by side. “Honestly, there are some things that you don’t even dream about in your wildest dreams – this was one of those things. Not only was I able to debut into the Tamil playback scene on an AR Rahman film score, but this was also an Atlee-directed movie starring Ilayapathy Vijay and Nayanthara.”

You were the first Tamil Canadian singer to be featured on an AR Rahman film score.  Tell us more about that experience?

Honestly, there are some things that you don’t even dream about in your wildest dreams – this was one of those things. Not only was I able to debut into the Tamil playback scene on an AR Rahman film score, but this was also an Atlee-directed movie starring Ilayapathy Vijay and Nayanthara. This was no simple step into the industry, this was a huge project. Recording at AR Rahman’s studio felt so surreal – everyone was so professional yet so welcoming and encouraging all at the same time. AR Rahman sir himself, lyricist Vivek, the sound engineers, all made sure I was comfortable and confident enough to deliver to their expectations. 

In addition to managing school (Criminology graduate from Western University), you’ve been running Isai Empire.  Tell us what your company does.  How did you come up with the name?

Isai Empire was a passion project that stemmed from performing in Toronto for many years. I had been performing as a local talent alongside International artists since I was a kid but always felt like there was no opportunity to really let local talent shine on a grand stage, that’s exactly what I wanted to create. Our first project was in 2016, Toronto Tamil Artists Night – a show dedicated to featuring 100+ singers, dancers, musicians, and even emcees on one stage together. Isai Empire became a production company focusing on creating quality artistic events featuring Canadian and International artists. We strive to promote, encourage, and motivate Canadian talents by providing them with grand platforms. 

The name; Isai means music in Tamil.  We are dedicated to uniting Canadian and International artists as one group with the aim of making each one brighter and a bit more magical – and that’s how Isai Empire came to be! We recently even collaborated with D Imman Sir to host D Imman Live in Toronto with 25+ musicians from Chennai and 100+ artists from Canada. 

What has been the impact of social media on both your entrepreneurial and singing careers respectively?

To be quite frank, social media wasn’t as big as it is now when I started singing. A lot of my early music career consisting of performing at live shows every weekend – that’s how people came to know who I was and what Isai Empire was too. Of course, now everyone including myself has been leveraging the power of social media to expand our reach, but I definitely think most of the success of my entrepreneurial and singing careers came from real-life experiences. 

What path are you going to focus more of your time on, your business, your singing or a career leveraging your Criminology degree?  And why?

For at least the last 10 years now, I have been managing school, music, business, extracurriculars altogether, and I plan on continuing with this for as long as I can. I think when you are equally passionate about multiple things, you figure out a way to balance it all. As much as I love music, I still love what I studied and I have goals that I want to accomplish there too. I don’t see myself ever leaving my career to solely focus only on music, but also never plan on dropping my musical career either. So we’ll see how long I can pull this off for! 

How have your family and friends supported you through your journey?  Did you have any doubters?

I have been blessed with family and friends who have been nothing but supportive and encouraging throughout my entire journey. In a world where parents tell their kids to focus only on studies, my parents have always pushed me to work on my music too. I always say that my parents are more interested in my singing than I am! However, my sister probably works harder than me to make sure that my music career grows. Whether it is co-founding Isai Empire or connecting me with various opportunities, she’s always the first one to make sure my voice is heard. 

Of course, there are people who doubt my talent and I, but I have way too many people that have my back to care about the ones who do not!

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***

How Award-Winning Chef Narayanan Krishnan Gave Up A Promising International Career To Feed The Poor In His Hometown Of Madurai

Narayanan Krishnan is a social worker and philanthropist who is most famous for being hailed as one of CNN’s Heroes of the Year in 2010. Narayanan is the founder and current head of the Akshaya Trust, a non-profit organization focused on feeding the homeless, poor and mentally ill, giving them free haircuts, and providing homes so they would not need to stay on the streets.  Living as a successful chef who was on his way to international notoriety, Narayanan chose to give all of this up so that he could focus on what truly mattered—serving the poor and the hungry. He faced a lot of pressure in giving up his successful career as a chef, but he never let the pride of life blind him from helping the people that really mattered.

Your story is so inspiring (I mean they made a movie after it)!  What specifically made you turn down a prestigious job opportunity in Switzerland and focus your life on feeding the homeless and mentally disabled in your hometown?

The sight of a very old man eating his own human waste to satisfy his hunger left me in shock. This incident made me stop and take stock of the poverty and the pain that my fellow human beings were experiencing in my own home town of Madurai. On seeing this sight I had purchased some idlis from a nearby restaurant for him and within seconds, the old man ate the idilis.  The satisfaction I saw on the old man’s face upon consuming food was the single most important event that transformed my life and made me decide to take up “Helping the helpless” as my mission.

It was a silent revolution of self realization which made me think – “Who am I? and “What am I doing?”.  These questions are still so powerful that they drive me to continue this journey and pursue the joy of giving.  

Tell us about the Akshaya Trust and what you’re doing here.  How do you raise funds and what kind of impact is the organization having if you provide some kind of numbers (ie. number of people served, etc.)? 

The Akshaya Trust rescues mentally ill, elderly, sick and roadside destitute people who are been left uncared on the road sides of the Madurai city. 

We rescue such people in our ambulance and bring them to our Akshaya Home campus to attend to their basic hygiene and rehabilitate them with proper medication and love.  Our hope is that this will give these people the dignity to live.  Akshaya’s work is constant (for 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 30 days a month and 365 days a year) where we feed, give baths, provide nursing care, rehabilitation and counselling for all our residents.  We currently have 475 residents in our campus.  We raise funds through public donations.

Can you describe what a typical day looks like for you?

Schedule:

  • The Akshaya team wakes up at 4 AM in the morning to start preparing tea for our residents. 
  • At 5:30 AM, our residents area waken up with tea and the team gives a bath to all the residents.
  • From 6:30 Am to 7:30 AM – we provide physical training & yoga sessions to the residents.
  • From 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM – the residents walk around the campus as part of the daily physical fitness regime. 
  • At 8:00 AM – breakfast is served to the residents.
  • From 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM – our residents are engaged in skill-training activities.
  • At 10:30 AM – tea will be again distributed to all our residents. 
  • From 11 AM – 12:45 PM, all residents participate in vocational training activities. 
  • From 1 PM – 2 PM – lunch is served to all residents.  
  • From 2 PM – 3PM is designated rest or leisure time for residents.
  • From 3 PM – 4 PM, we provide recreation time for residents.   
  • At 4 PM, tea is again distributed to all residents. 
  • From 4:30 PM to 6 PM –  physical training and counselling sessions are provided to residents. 
  • From 6 PM to 7:45 PM – residents partake in entertainment which usually involves watching television.  
  • From 7:45 PM – 8:45 PM – dinner is served to the residents.  
  • The day closes at 10 PM with the doctor prescribing basic medicines to residents. 

I know your parents were initially skeptical of what you were doing until you brought them with you one day to see exactly what you were doing and your mom was especially moved by this.  Did you have any other doubters that still continue to doubt you today because you’re helping people without thinking about money? 

There were some major challenges faced.  My parents’ didn’t know that I had quit my job and given up my career for good until my colleagues from Europe had called them. They were shocked and did not know how to react. They had spent so much resources on my education and the dreams of me becoming a great chef someday was shattered.  My parents wanted me to consult a psychiatrist and even went to the extent of thinking that the family had been struck by black magic by a relative and requested me to go to Kerala.

I strongly believe in pursuing what we want with the blessings of our parents, without which the entire pursuit would not be enriching.  I persuaded my parents to ‘live’ a day of my life. Towards the end of the day, after we had delivered the food packets, an old lady worshipped my mother’s feet and said, “It is because of your son that I am being fed thrice a day.” Moved by this event, my mother told me, “Krishnan, you continue to feed all of these people and I will feed you till my last day.”

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***

Tamil Brothers Ruban And Mayan Rajendran Built Viral App Twelve70 To Help Men Dress Better

Mayan Rajendran is a menswear designer and a visiting lecturer at Cornell University with over a decade of experience in the fashion industry and his brother Ruban is a full stack developer, who together, came up with the vision for a “style calculator” to help men dress better by teaching them what to pair with various basic items of clothing. “Our motto from the beginning has been to create an educational destination so men can learn more about their options when it comes to presenting themselves without feeling like they are going through an intervention or make-over.”

I heard about you guys after I saw an article in Men’s Health talking about how your app went viral on Reddit.  Did you do anything on your part to make it viral or was it completely organic?  

We just posted it to Reddit to see if our theory around the human insight of “honey, what do I wear with this?” was in fact true. The rest was completely organic. We began to receive emails & messages from people all over the world thanking us for creating twelve70. Some were color-blind, others were curious about menswear – all of them simply wanted to learn more. 

Both of you spent 4+ years working on twelve70 – why are you so passionate about it?  How did you come up with the name?

The two of us have worked in the fashion industry in some capacity for almost a decade & we found how underrepresented the South Asian community is. Even as one of the fastest-growing demographics here in North America, it wasn’t until recently that we became a targeted demographic. Working in the fashion industry here in New York, I often found myself being discredited due to my ethnicity. The irony is that so much inspiration for the West does in fact come from India when you look at our color palettes, fabrics, and styles – they resonate on so many different levels with people. Ruban and I knew that we had an understanding of fashion and colors early on. This was our way of helping others who may have issues with putting colors and outfits together. I have worked in retail, as a stylist, as a designer, and an educator. This project brought together all of the things I have enjoyed in my career onto one platform, without any fuss or prejudice.

The name comes from an old project I started for my MA Fashion thesis, which saw me traveling around the world to interview different figures in fashion to get a better understanding of what the term “streetwear” meant. Ruban met me in Honolulu, which was the last stop of my journey. A few hours before he arrived, my rental car was broken into and all of my camera equipment was stolen. The name of that project was 1270 because I visited 12 countries in 70 days. I learned a lot about how clothing works as cultural, personal, and individual signifiers within our community. That project fed into this one. 

Why is twelve70 different from any fashion-related apps?  Why should somebody download it?

I would say we are different because we are not trying to re-invent our user. We’re simply guiding them to make the most of their existing wardrobe. We realized men were not being serviced for a very clear problem. They knew what they liked but didn’t know how to grow from that initial point of interest. 

We also created a very simple to use inventory management system when you sign up. It keeps track of your wardrobe without asking you to take photos or surveys. Simply log-in and add items to your DIGITAL CLOSET and click to add all the items you own. You can also keep track of your FAVORITE OUTFITS, plan your week with the CALENDAR, and see what colored items you could purchase that work well with your wardrobe. We have implemented an OCCASION feature to allow you to plan your outfit accordingly. All in all, it takes less than 15 seconds to put a look together. 

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***