From Gemology to Adorning Gems: A tale of T&M Signature

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

For literature enthuasiasts, these lines is a clear depiction of their lives when they are in the middle of major decision that would act as a turning point in their lives. Frost’s Road Not Taken tells us about the courage it takes to take the road less trodden by.

When you have your family into a well-established business, and you have your graduation in that same field, it takes immense courage and passion to set out in a different direction, for every action of yours will be judged by the golden standards set by your family legacy.

Here is a brilliant designer, who chose the road of designing, by leaving her tryst with gems, when she found out that her passion made a difference in the way people adorn themselves. in conversation with Tiya Neil Karikkassery, whose brainchild T&M Signature has set a benchmark of its own in the arena of bridal wears. Here is her tale from designing the outfit for her lovely daughters to the outfits of star kids.

Let us talk about the origin of ‘T&M Signature’. How did it all begin? What are the areas that you focus on?

I started my firm T&M Signature in 2015. It is a young firm and it is turning six this month. In its short journey so far, it has won the Best Designer Kerala 2018 at Zingbi Fashion awards.

It is not easy for a woman to start a venture, especially for a married woman with a family to look after, but yes, I have thrived through it with my family’s support.

I am a graduate of Stella Maris College Chennai and a gemologist. As my family was into jewelry business, I took up this major. My mom Asha Sebastian, owner of M.O.D Signature Jewellery wanted me to learn it but I ended up being a fashion designer instead.

As destiny had it, after the birth of my daughters, the outfits I started designing for them caught the attention of the public as they were unique and trendy. Hence I started making kids’ designer outfits and slowly went on to matching outfits for mom and daughter and the rest is history.  Right now we focus more on bridal wear, party wears, and kidswear.

 What is the biggest lesson that you have learned over the years with your venture? 

The lesson that I have learned well God’s blessing ,family support  and a great team is the step to success ,hard work consistency in wt you do ,helps !!

I didn’t keep success as just a dream rather I worked for it. The only time you fail is when you stop trying . Never give up and, never miss on an opportunity that you think you might regret later. Instantaneous decisions sometimes lead to outstanding results. 

From the social media handles of ‘T&M Signature’, it is evident that bridal wears occupy a pivotal position in your works. Give us a glimpse of the process that goes behind the elegant look of the bride on her special day.

When a bride or a client approaches me, I first look at the occasion, her skin  tone ,body type, and decide what she should be wearing (the colour ,silhouette etc) then the budget is considered . Once finalized we give them a date where trial is done and if it’s all good then the outfits is theirs . Once the order is taken it goes to my unit where the dream becomes reality with a team of 20 workers .We have masters, handworkers, tailors, designers at our unit who have years of experience in their respective fields whose trained hands go behind making that perfect dress.

Tell us a bit about your collection apart from the bridal wear?

Other than bridal collection, we offer a range of kids’ wear and party wears as well.

What is your perspective of the changes in the way people perceive the notion of fashion after this lockdown happened? Do they tend to prefer comfort over everything else? 

As a matter of fact, nothing has changed so far. Brides still continue to approach us the same way. There is no compromise made from their part, and as everyone wants to look their best on their special day as these memories last a lifetime.

Tell us something about your team that holds your back always. How did you meet them?

My team members were all taken through interviews. Their constant energy and encouragement keep us going. The happiness on their faces when we achieve each milestones is priceless. They are m.second family and I am nothing without them . They are the backbone of our firm .

 What excites you about your company?

The excitement is to see your creation shape into a reality. To see my own creations adorning the bridal look is a very rewarding moment. I feel when we take a celebrity and do a campaign it helps us grow more since they are known faces and people tend to notice much more. That brings us a plethora of opportunities.

What are your future plans for T&M Signature?

We plan to expand our collection to Kancheepuram as well. The intricate silk would give a wonderful outlook to bridal wears.

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