“An entrepreneur’s life is paved with challenges; they come knocking on your door everyday. It is essential to handle these daily challenges well so as to completely avoid or overcome the big ones,” says Pallavi Foley, Founder of Pallavi Foley Boutique Jewels.
Based in Bangalore, Pallavi’s boutique is more of a design studio where she and her team let their creative energies flow and take shape into new design ideas.
She and her team work on design customisation for clients and handle international B2B projects. Additionally, the studio designs jewellery for national and international brands.
When Pallavi manages to get away from work she is happy to be a guest faculty or a jury member at design colleges like NIFT and GIA. She has also devised courses for international design colleges. “I believe that one of the core strengths of a business is design. In the courses that I have developed, I see it as an endeavour to bring creativity to the core and enhance it.”
As a 4-year-old, Pallavi enjoyed sketching and won numerous competitions. One of her most special memories is of her paternal grandmother, who was undergoing chemotherapy for third stage cancer, but still came to Pallavi’s school. “She collected my award and that motivation still stays with me.”
Pallavi studied at Sherwood College, Nanital where she discovered her love for art. “We use to go for nature walks in the hills, and I would just want to sit and sketch. Nature became my muse, and continues to be my biggest inspiration.”
She graduated in accessory design from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi in 1997-2000, and started to work with Tanishq. She was with them for almost a decade.
Inspiration for design
Pallavi feels that her experiences are the primary source of inspiration for her work:
My experiences have taught me that design is both a source of inspiration and a reflection of what truly moves you. So to me, design is a source and a result.
Creating a new design collection for her is like taking a plunge: “A plunge into a new world that can be experienced, that’s created right out of the designer’s vision. So every experience in my life influences my design inspirations. I love to travel and experience new cultures, see art, read history, study nature, and keep my life enriched, to create pieces that are enriching, enchanting and rejuvenating.”
Pallavi’s efforts have been acknowledged and she has over the years won awards and accolades for her designs. She won the prestigious NID business world design award in the category of ‘Best Accessory Design’, for a collection called Aamra. For this collection Pallavi had redefined and modernised the mango motif for the contemporary Indian woman.
Pallavi believes that art cannot be defined by gender: “The important thing is to know your job and to be good at it, and the rest takes care of it self. In most of the Indian cities where I work, I have seen immense respect for a person who knows his or her job, man or woman, does not matter.”
Pallavi has been inspired by Orlando Orlandini’s work and spends a lot of time working with master craftsmen on the pieces she has designed.
Pallavi feels that while there are problems one faces as a woman entrepreneur, there are advantages too. Despite challenges, she feels it is important to stay focused and look at everyone’s welfare and “soon the negative things turn to positive.”
There are three elements that are integral to her life. One is the constant belief in—‘this too shall pass’. Second is her discipline in life. Thanks to her boarding school she has the habit of following schedules and is very particular about her fitness and food habits. “My dad is 63 and runs everyday for an hour, as he has been a marathon runner. He keeps telling me that ‘what you do everyday in a disciplined manner you will continue to do at whatever age, and with ease’. I find his life inspirational.”
The third is the love of her family and close friends who are her pillars of support. “Neil, my husband, is always there for me. I have and will always admire his work and I love his humility. My daughter Nia is my constant inspiration; she loves being at the studio and likes to be called a part of my design team. On weekends, she is at the studio with me designing.”
While she cherishes everyday, it is her undying love for design that keeps her motivated.
HerStory met with Pallavi and here are some excerpts from our conversation.
(Video credit- H.Raja and Anjali Achal)