Thu, 12 Dec, 2019

Massimo & Karen: Scarves, bandanas for all seasons

Summer is here and tapping the demand of the season Zenobia D’souza’s newly launched company Massimo & Karen that displays a strong online presence is holding “pop-ups” across Goa to offer scarves, sarongs and bandanas that come handy be it summer, winter or rains

22nd April 2019, 02:19 Hrs


She is just 23 and already an entrepreneur. A Goa-born girl who grew up in Colaba in Mumbai, she came to Goa to pursue her Bachelors in Economics at 18. Like any other next-door girl, she pursued a job, but realised she was not cut out for the ‘9-to-5’ rat race and soon began questioning herself, ‘what am I doing and why?’   

“One evening, after I came home exhausted from work, I stepped into the shower and started thinking about how I could create something that would keep my dream alive, long after I was gone. That’s where it all began, a simple thought, to create something beautiful, something different. Yes, I’ve always wanted to do something in the creative sphere. This was in August 2018. And here I am, running my own company, Massimo & Karen, which has catered to a few hundred clients in the past nine months. I have shipped just over a hundred consignments in Goa and in other metropolitan cities like Bombay, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai,” admits Zenobia D’souza who dared to quit her job to kick-start her own start-up at just 22.   

Today she is busy accepting orders and dispatching consignments from her home in Margao. “I wanted to have a label, that was personal and had a strong ring to it. What better than the usage of names that you are christened with. Massimo, is my brother’s middle name. It is of Italian origin, meaning ‘the greatest’. And Karen, my middle name, of Danish/French origin, meaning pure and unsullied,” states Zenobia who handles her new business single-handedly.   

It’s a one-woman show at Massimo & Karen that deals with all kinds of scarves in cotton, viscose, satin, silk, art silk and wool. The sizes of these products vary, depending on the type and usage of the scarf.   

“For example, we have bandanas that are 56 x 56 cms that can be used as accessories to tie on the forehead. And we also have printed sarongs that are 180 x 60 cms, they are a very tropical sort of a wrap that you wear around your waist or as a beach dress, during summers. We have something for everyone, our price range starts from Rs129 and goes up to Rs 3999 depending on the type and material of scarf you purchase,” explains Zenobia.   

She is quick to add, “We don’t tear sarees. Huge rolls of fabric are dyed and printed on and then later stitched in various sizes for the type of scarf.”   

Why scarves? Do they have so much demand? “Yes, in all seasons,” says Zenobia, recalling that at a very young age she has seen scarves been worn in multitude of ways by the clients that visited her father’s store in Mumbai. “My dad is into exports of scarves for over 25 years. For newer designs, I draw inspiration from cultures across the globe. I use the internet and YouTube to study and learn about how each regions usage of scarves in their culture is. Our products are made to order. The finishing of the product is done by us. The bidding, the attachment of beads or tassels etc. We cater to customised orders depending upon the order type and size. If the client has a design in mind and wants a bulk order, we take their requirements and give them a quotation. As ours is an online based company, our only major investments is product itself and the storage,” she briefs.   

Her core team comprises her father Sebastian D’souza and mother Violet D’souza without whose support her concept of Massimo & Karen would never breathe life, she admits. Zenobia has indeed diverted all her energies into making her dream company a reality.   

She still remembers her first delivery which she personally catered to. It was a girl, who had ordered a bandana. “When I told her she was my first sale, she smiled and said that she was happy to receive something so beautiful. It genuinely filled my heart, and that’s when I knew, this is something I wanted to do, spread smiles, for a long time to come,” expresses Zenobia who is eager to encourage young, bright kids of today. “Keep your minds open. We live in an age, where creativity is appreciated and one can monetise on their talents. If you have the passion and drive to be an entrepreneur, take that leap of faith. Trust your instincts. And don’t stop hustling,” advises this young businesswoman.   

Admitting that her’s is a young company, based online and her main source of operation is through Facebook and Instagram adverts, she mentions, “We also do various pop up stores across Goa during pop up festivals which help in engagement with new clientele, allowing them to have a touch and feel of different fabrics.”   

So far she has participated in four pop ups, three in Margao and one in Vasco. This summer she is having two major pop ups happening on May 11 and 12 at Panaji Gymkhana and May 25 and 26 in Green Amaze in Margao. They are organised by ‘Pop It Up’ and ‘Popscile Inc’ respectively. “I’ve always liked to showcase how diverse the usage of a scarf can be. As any start-up, I did have issues. And sometimes still do have my hiccups. Massimo & Karen is still growing. As we grow each day, the need for a brick and mortar outlet is increasing. We do plan to have a physical outlet in Goa very soon,” discloses Zenobia.   

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