#BuildingWith: Sonia Luthria

SHADY LADY

EARTHSTRONG: 29
REPPIN: Bombay (Mumbai), India
IG: @inshadycompany_
FB: inshadycompany
How long have you had your company and what are some of the ways it has evolved since you started it?
I started Inshadycompany a little over a year ago. Last year I was doing a lot of markets as I wanted to get a feel of what people were buying and whether there was an interest in my hats in general. I got a good response but since then have changed my strategies for selling. I feel like it is constantly evolving and I am still learning. More people know about my hats now and I have people from all over reaching out to me from various sources not necessarily ones that I know. So that is always a good surprise.

As a woman and business owner of color do you ever feel it’s important for younger women of color to have role models like yourself to look up to?
I am not sure I consider myself a role model. That seems like a lot of pressure. I do things on a whim most of the time, I make rash decisions but they have been the best ones,almost like going on an adventure. I can only speak for myself. Everyone has different circumstances and things that drive them. Surrounding myself with like minded people is what pushed me, people who were constantly on the move and doing things, gave me that necessary push that I needed. So maybe they were role models and I just did not know it. But I am grateful for their friendship and presence in my life.

Did you have a role model growing up?
Not that I can remember.

Why hats?
I wanted to play with Indian textiles and thought that hats would be a fun way to work them. And it is! That is why I call it “fun for your head” and I hope people have fun wearing them.

Do you make them yourself?
The hats are made in India, in Bombay to be precise. I cannot take credit for sewing them but I do design them. 

Where do you find all the different fabrics you use?
The fabrics are sourced mostly in and around Bombay (Mumbai).
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If you could get 1 person to wear your hat who would it be and why?
I want everyone to wear my hats. I want to walk down the street and see my hats on peoples heads. I was at Afropunk last year and I spotted two people in the crowd wearing my hats and it really made me day. I want YOU to wear my hat.I want your friend to wear my hat, i want your friend’s friend to wear my hats and so on.

Are you interested in working with artists and companies from the west-coast?
I am interested in working with everybody so long as I can deliver. It does not matter where you are, it gives me an excuse to visit places. I like taking workations. Vacations are boring.

What is the best way to purchase your hats in NYC?
The best way to buy my hats right now is by sending me an email or visiting my facebook page. I do not like shopping online so I have been avoiding a website but i know it is time. If you write me an email I will bring my hats to you maybe we can meet in the park and make a picnic of it.

What makes meeting up and spending real actual facetime better?
The only online shopping I do is on Craigslist. hah. I just do not shop online. So it is more of a preference. I would much rather touch and feel things before buying them. But that is just me. when I meet people to show them hats, it is so much more personal. I think it makes people feel special, also they try the hats on and I can really see the hats come to life then. And it is as exciting for me as it is for them. I have conversations which are not only about hats, and sometimes my customers turn into friends or pen pals even. They take my hats on trips and tag me in photos. my hats have been to some exotic places. In a way I am experiencing life through my hats. An online store would take that experience away. But only a few people appreciate this old fashioned way of shopping.

What does resiliency mean to you, as a womyn of color?
As a woman of color, as a woman in general I think being resilient is the ability to bounce back from bad experiences and learn from them rather than dwell and brood over it because there is no time for that. I think I try and find humor in every situation, so if I find myself in a predicament it is usually because I sought it out. Knowingly or unknowingly.
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Whats your favorite slang word and why?
I have never really paid much attention. I do not catch myself using a lot of slang words. I apologize if that makes me boring. Actually I am not sorry. 

Lol. Word. What words do you live by?
I met this man on a flight once. I lost my job and I guess I was expressing my frustration to him about my lack of employment and not having a real purpose to leave my apartment to which he said: “Do not worry, nobody stays home forever.” Those words stayed with me and I remember it when I feel stuck.

last words?
BURRRRRPPPPPP


#BuildingWith is a series of interviews where we politik with artists of color around the country and document their unique and nuanced experiences and perspectives on life, love, and creation.