- February 15, 2015
- Posted by Claire Goldsworthy
- No comments
Dharexclusive is an Australian resort and swimwear label designed exclusively for sun-loving beach bunnies and inspired by the bold colour palette of nature itself. Long before the idea of Dharexclusive washed up on Australian shores, the brand’s creative genius and founder, Dharshanika Ekanayake was working tirelessly for other big name brands back home in Sri Lanka. Having moved to Australia shortly after graduating high school, Miss Ekanayake began a learning process that would take her on a journey across multiple continents and land herself her very own label.
Dhar began her creative career by studying a Bachelor of Textile Design, but then did what very few creative types have the capability of doing: she put her passion for the fashion industry aside, gave in to her strategic mindset and began working in the financial sector to get a firm grasp on the back end of business operations. She moved home to Sri Lanka to work with a multimillion-dollar intimates company, MAS Holding, and learnt the ins and outs of running an international business. Dhar’s next big move took her to New York City to work for the world’s most renowned intimates company, Victoria’s Secret and Dhar knows now that this was the pivotal point in her working career, “it was the eye opener for me, and for Dharexclusive.”
Dhar’s heartstrings were eventually pulled back to Australia, where she worked full time for a Melbourne design company. In her small amount of spare time, she worked tirelessly on her label and refers to her slow and small triumphs, “I wanted to build the company step by step, and take my time.” And that she did; three years of hard work later, Dharexclusive was finally brought to fruition.
According to Dhar, it takes a lot of strength and positivity to be successful in the fashion industry, and she’s proud of her achievements when she says, “hard work always pay offs, you need to be a go-getter”, and it’s one of her most valuable characteristics. The young achiever claims she always wanted to be her own boss and achieve something that is 100% hers and 100% Australian.
Dhar designs with an emphasis on uniqueness, which she hopes will “inspire conversations filled with happiness and joy”, and although Dhar has now seen success, she’s the first to admit that it comes with its own set of challenges. She found the task of time management the most difficult part of starting her own brand; something most of us struggle with even without the added pressures of running a business. With full-time work exhausting her valuable resource of time, building a brand was difficult to squeeze into her everyday life. The designer is open about the difficulties of finding that work/life balance with such a busy schedule, and she says, “being a very family oriented person, I often wished for more hours in the day!”
Dhar believes planning life and managing time is the key to being a successful designer, and she tries to plan everything a day ahead, which allows her the opportunity to allocate valuable family time to her nieces and nephews. A piece of advice from the multi-talented blogger, graphic designer and textile designer: “life is beautiful when you plan your things. It’s not only money you earn, life needs to be experienced with happy moments.”
All about the good vibes and positive feelings, Dhar also fits in a bit of charity work, where the proceeds are retained for her efforts in helping the less fortunate. She claims the feeling is “priceless” and well worth the nights she spends working until midnight. She labels herself “a workaholic and a clean freak”, having to sketch, draw, plan absolutely everything and delegate her time between computer tasks and pencil to paper.
This hardworking girl does everything by herself, she is, however, very grateful for the help she receives from her family and friends, as well as outlets like Emerge Australia. Dhar expressed nothing but gratitude to Emerge Australia and she describes the exposure as, “a massive start to reach the right crowd.”
Which leaves the question, who exactly is the right crowd? The late night, early riser says the Dharexclusive girl is, “that girl who loves the water, nature and travel.” Whether it be the beach, the pool, or a sauna, all water dwelling women, from “the teen girl” to “the classy lady” are the customers she connects with. And the response to the new brand has been fantastic, so much so that Miss Ekanayake has begun promoting her label in Sydney and Western Australia.
Dhar is a testament to the hardworking lifestyle of a new designer, and what it takes to achieve goals in the fashion industry. Dhar’s advice for aspiring designers is as honest as she is:
1. Outline your thoughts and plan. Write everything down, don’t be afraid to ask for help and organise way ahead. Make sure you put at least two to three hours per day towards planning and communicating with relevant people.
2. Never think negative: thoughts can drain you. Keep positive and work towards your goals.
3. Nothing is easy: it’s all your own perception and choices.
The Fashion Advocate x