A Classy Collection of Exclusive Fabrics

Thiruvananthapuram: Shanthy Ramasubbu was frantically calling up tailors as a customer needed an emergency stitching done. Once that was settled, she came and sat with us, only to be interrupted by her buzzing phone which she picked up to give design advice to a friend. Shanthy’s store, Silkyway (www.silkyway.in), at Hotel Hycinth by Sparsa in Thiruvananthapuram is the ultimate destination for a personalised boutique shopping experience.

Shanthy started off with a tiny home-based boutique 18 years ago that is now called Silkyway. Her boutique will turn three in its new premises this year. “It began as a creative vent, more of something to work on than a business,’’ she said.

Silkyway has in every way been a truly classy star in the growing galaxy of boutiques in Kerala. With her own distinct touch of sheen and weave, Shanthy has carved a niche for herself in the fast growing market of textile exclusives. “The custom-designed collections are sourced from weavers through trusted partners in the metros. Patterns and designs are discussed with weavers and craftsmen, and there is no compromise on quality,’’ says Shanthy.

Shanthy’s store has stood out amongst the boutiques in Kerala for the sheer quality which is reflected perfectly in her handlooms-only stocks. Most of her clientele come looking for her designer silks, large sections of which are wedding sarees. Her silks, organzas and chiffons remain a rage among the city’s crowd to date.

Coming from a family of hoteliers, Shanthy’s entry into the world of exclusive fabrics has been more of a chance but she has succeeded in creating a brand reflective of her reassuring elegance.

“The last thing I thought was to grow into a big business. But now the store runs profitably, the work gives me satisfaction and, that is the story,’’ she smiles. Shanthy relies heavily on technology for her collaborations in the textile hubs in metros. She picks and chooses her fabric and design, concentrating more on personalising the shopping experience at the store.

She is hands on for the trousseau shoppers helping them select colours and customise designs. “If a saree does not suit a bride, I tell her so because it is her big day and everything should be perfect,’’ says Shanthy.

‘‘I still stay close to the brick and mortar base store. The Facebook page is definitely active and there is an online store as well, but nothing matches the experience of shopping at the store, feeling the fabric with your own hands,’’ she says. Shanthy agrees that the quintessential ‘tussle’ between price and value does strain sales at times, but the value is such that her customers have always come back looking for more.

“It is mostly sarees that people come looking for and the favourite range is between Rs. 5000-30,000,’’ says Shanthy. When asked about expansion plans, Shanthy added, “As of now it is just Thiruvananthapuram. My daughter Kruthika, who is doing her masters now, will soon join me at the store, and once she is here, we may look at a store in Kochi or may be even abroad.’’