What do you get when a fashion designer has a change of heart & decides to use style & fashion to bring about community change? In two words: LIFE IMPACT! Our team caught up with Beulah John to figure out what makes her B-E-U-L-A-H! Read on to know more!
Q. Hey Beulah, it's exciting to connect with you. For the sake of our readers, could you tell us about yourself?
I’m a fashion designer & I work for a brand called Shop for Asha and am also an HOD at Hamstech College of Creative Education. And to add to that, I'm a freelance digital illustrator.
Q. Wow! You're doing a lot. So cool! Could you tell us how did you figure out what your passion was?
Growing up, I was always a creative kid! I loved drawings, art and craft, etc. But I never took my creative side very seriously because society doesn’t look up to that. When I was in Grade 6, we had a prize distribution ceremony at school and the chief guests were the famous fashion designers Gauri & Nainika. I was so glad to see them, and my friends took my notebook which was full of drawings and showed it to them! I was completely unaware of this happening.
All of a sudden I heard an announcement 'Beulah John please come to the stage'. I was like, 'What is happening, did I do something wrong?!' When I went to the stage, it turns out that Gauri & Nainika really loved these designs and they told me that this is something that I should consider doing because I was really good at it. So that’s when I decided to become a fashion designer.
Q. What was your parents' reaction to your choice of college, i.e. National Institute of Fashion Technology?
When I told my parents that I want to pursue my career in fashion designing, they were not really happy with it. In fact they wanted me to go for B.Com, Accounting, etc. It was a real struggle to convince them that this what I wanted to do, the thing which will make me really happy. Now, even though my parents were not completely happy with my decision but surprisingly they said that they would support me. This made me very happy! I would really give them credit because they didn’t stop me.
Q. How was it to get into your dream college? Can you tell us a little bit about your college days?
College was super fun! The four years of college were the best years of my life. I made some great friends who had the same creative mind like me. But even though college was so fun for me, it was really difficult to be a good Christian in that scenario where there were constant parties, alcohol, drugs and other stuff, and there is nobody really to be accountable towards. It was difficult for me to stand my ground and to say NO in scenarios where I really had to. So in the process, I ended up losing some friends. But you know, God works in amazing ways, it was then that I got connected with a church called Hope UC , and eventually made a lot of friends there!
Q. How was fashion designing looking for you after you graduated college?
After my graduation, I worked for a brand called Singhania’s and side by side started to work on creating my own brand, customer base and all. Finally after a year, in 2017 I started my own brand called Zibiah. This was an amazing experience because I created my own website, was the youngest entrepreneur in a lot of exhibitions and overall everything was perfect because I felt I had finally achieved my dream. But starting a brand is not easy, it was an extremely lonely process. I started to question myself, wondering if this was really what I wanted to. Was this the God’s final plan for me?
That’s when I decided to take a step back from Zibiah and clear my head because in this process of starting my brand, I stopped talking with my friends as I was busy all the time and still did not know what to do next. That’s when I thought to teach fashion designing in Hamstech College of Creative Education.
Q. So did you ever considered re-starting your own brand again?
During the lockdown 2020, I asked myself as to what was I accomplishing with my life. I was just doing a normal 10 to 5 job. I do not mean to say that the job was bad, but it was nowhere close to my dream. That’s when I contemplated starting my own brand again. There was a lot of pressure on me, I was scared of what people think, I was afraid that may be the same thing will happen the last time I started my own brand. Lockdown 2020 gave me time to analyse myself and I started to build a relationship with God, conversing with him at that point of time.
And that’s when my dad who runs an organization called Asha Jyoti asked me, 'Would you be able to start a fashion brand under Asha Jyoti?' That’s when I thought it was so good to impact people’s lives and I decided to start a brand called 'Shop for Asha'.
Q. What does Shop for Asha stand for and how is it connected to Asha Jyoti?
Asha Jyoti empowers women and children in vulnerable situations. We provide them proper education and small work like tailoring. The output of that is today 89 per cent of all our women who go through employable skills are employed. We want to build Shop for Asha as a brand where we do not only support Asha Jyoti but also multiple other organizations similar to it.
You see I had abandoned my dream of becoming a fashion designer and starting my own brand. But God hadn’t abandoned that dream of mine. He took that same dream which I had and made it so beautiful that now it’s impacting so many people out there.
Q. Could you also tell us how community or mentors around you helped in your journey!
I had a friend, Rachel. She was just a few years older than me and was that person I could talk real about a lot of situations. Even in my struggles, she was that support system and a good friend whom I can talk with. I would recommend all of you to at least have that one person whom you can completely trust and open up to, no judgements whatsoever.
Q. As a fashion designer, any tips you can give people who want to take the same path?
If you want to pursue Fashion Designing, just be consistent and committed in what you are doing. And do have that one person in your journey, whom you can talk or share about you challenges!