Recently I became a Shalini fan and client when my friend invited me to a Shalini Styles trunk show last month. I attended with no expectations, just to have fun and mingle with a few girlfriends. While I love jersey dresses, most are thin and a little too revealing for my body type. Shalini’s collection is far from the typical jersey dresses. Her collection is unique and reversible providing not just one but two pieces! To my surprise I loved the way her dresses and tunic tops complimented my figure. After hearing her journey to becoming a designer, SMITC just had to shine a spotlight on this sassy mom!
Kids: Meghna 16
Occupation: Women’s clothing Designer
After a long career as a successful marketing analyst and a consultant, Shalini Sharma traded in her spreadsheets for fashion design with the launch of her clothing line. Shalini Styles has a core line of reversible jersey dresses and separates along with a Ready-To-Wear line.
Shalini brings a strong business background in Marketing and Finance from Northwestern University and Loyola University where she completed her undergraduate and graduate degree respectively. She believes that combining her business acumen and creativity would lend to building a strong “SHALINI” brand. She also paints with abstract oils and acrylics on large canvases when she is not designing.
SMITC Interview with Shalini Sharma:
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
That I almost became an engineer but switched to marketing/economics.
What inspired you to launch Shalini Styles?
I have always loved fashion and styling looks. I was never satisfied with what I bought off the racks. I always deconstructed the pieces to how I liked it – it just came naturally to me! When I left consulting 2 years ago, I made a few dresses just for myself. My friends loved the looks and wanted me to make the dresses for them, and from there, it organically developed into a business.
What’s has been the biggest challenge balancing a business and motherhood?
I don’t really see it as balancing. Motherhood is natural and always takes priority no matter what. Motherhood is only one aspect of what defines you. We have so many different facets to us that we share with different people in our lives. Having a daughter, I especially feel strongly about women as role models, being a mother but also an individual who has expressions outside of motherhood, as an artist, a career woman, a philanthropist or anything else that displays a broader aspect of that person. The biggest challenge is to be present in whatever you are doing, if I am spending time with my daughter then I want to make sure that I don’t look at the phone/email, it can be challenging especially when you own a business, it is 24/7.
Who is a Shalini Styles’ client?
Shalini Styles client is sophisticated, most likely 30 or older, single, married with or without children. She is a woman that travels quite a bit for work and pleasure (majority of our pieces are wrinkle-free and fold compactly in a suitcase!). The client knows her style, but wants to be challenged a little out of her comfort zone without sacrificing comfort and style. Shalini Styles pieces are very simple and classic pieces where you are able to dress up or dress down. Our designs are very practical and versatile.
What’s your “secret” to being Sassy?
Always trying something new and to have joie de vivre.
What’s your favorite place in the city for a date night and why?
Filippos restaurant on Clybourn Ave., an Italian restaurant that has not changed in food quality and wait staff in the 12 years we have been going. The pastas are delicious with a cozy atmosphere. You can hop across the street to see a movie on a whim.
What is your guilty pleasure when you get a little coveted ‘me’ time?
Watching reality TV
Sassy Facts about Shalini….
I never leave home without….. lipstick and shades
My biggest fashion influence is…. Audrey Hepburn
My favorite place to shop in Chicago is…. Barney’s sales
My guilty pleasure is…… french fries with Mayo
My Must-Have beauty product is…. Almond oil – great for skin!!!
Sassy Mom in the City wearing Shalini’s Butterfly dress to a fundraiser gala. Love this dress!!
Sassy Moms in the City was not paid for this post, however Shalini Styles did name a dress “The Alison”, now available Spring 2012 collection!