Sewing it Seematti Featuring Beena Kannan
It’s like Beena Kannan is born with this exquisite artistic forte of fine craftsmanship; like she had been bestowed upon by this unique talent of perceiving the ever-changing fashion world and providing the yearning state of people a glittery glimpse of it. Just like some of those beautiful garments take months to complete, the journey of this fiercely artistic fashion queen – Beena Kannan is still unveiling, day after day, year after year. She is one celebrated inspiration to hundreds of women entrepreneurs who are striving to hold their space in the fashion industry, and an epitome of archetype to lakhs of entrepreneurs across the globe to comprehend how to stay in the game. She literally revolutionized the whole game of saree culture in the state with her unbelievable aesthetic sense – Her saree design had been launched in major fashion hubs across the globe, like India, UAE, USA etc. The Bespoke Bridals and Casuals at Seematti, and the new enthralling addition of Cuts and Fits to the long array of innovation makes this fashion stalwart stand distinct among any others in the country.
The sparkle that started from her childhood!
Ms. Beena Kannan took the magical train back to those vibrant memory rail she had as a child back there at Kottayam, Kerala. She remembers that her exuberant childhood was filled with joy and effervescent activities with her family and scores of cousins. Being a single child, it never occurred her to be to herself and didn’t stopped her from grabbing the limelight wherever she went. She retrospect that she was hyperactive in a way, swinging, see-sawing, cycling at her home, playing hard every day after school. She remember it as a daily incessant affair where she used to play every evening from 6 to 8, used to visits temples with the jovial cousins, trailed behind elephants for long anticipating she might get the coveted ‘thrimothiram’ somehow, and flaunting a beautiful rose on her braided hair from her very own plush rose gardens. At the same time, as she was a single child, parents were super protective about her as they never allowed her to stay away from house, and completed her education attending college everyday from home as a day scholar, even if she wished to pursue MBBS etc. However, Ms. Beena Kannan gratefully reckons that this attitude of her parents who didn’t want her to work for someone else, but be her own boss, has hugely helped her in the later years of her life.
From her pioneering grandfather the great textile king Veeriah Reddiar, father Thiruvenkitem to her beloved husband Veeriah, it was indeed a handholding from skill to mastery. She was welcomed to assist the Kottayam store right after her college. She strongly remembers how she efficiently balanced her work life and family life, even when she had to raise her 3 children brilliantly well. She fondly remembers those times being one ‘zamaana’ when we didn’t have internets, computers, laptops nor cellphones, but had only Door Darshan to keep people entertained. You see only a few cars on MG road, and you may see a female driving a car may be only in Mount Road, Chennai. It was a totally different world where even no women were found going for work. She never imagined a career as a businesswoman then. It was indeed challenging when Seematti was handed over to her completely after her husband’s demise and in the beginning of the 19th century she was forced to confront a huge financial instability and bankruptcy for Seematti. A crore’s debt then was alike to a 1000 crore’s debt today. They were on a whooping (whopping) 43 crores minus!She stood strong through the turbulence, slowly built Seematti up, brought in better management practices for better stability. From a single store in Alappuzha, Seematti has now expanded to over 10 sprawling Seematti outlets across Kerala. Now there is an entire efficient well-managed team under her who can manage the show even without her micromanaging it. However, Ms. Beena Kannan steps in every single minute when she is wanted for improvisations and innovations which happens almost everyday in Seematti’s life, no exaggeration.
CUTS & FITS at first floor, Seematti, Cochin – the new innovative addition to Seematti, Cochin opens up a creatively fabulous world of fashion to the underdogs and laymen. It took two long years from the concept designing to delivering this amazing bespoke tailoring unit to Seematti’s elite clients – entirely new level of improvisation. This unit helps you adorn exactly similar attires that any of your idols from Hollywood and Bollywood flaunt for a much cheaper price, however with supreme quality. Seematti stitches for you! From Bollywood designer lahengas, white & colored gowns, white sarees to designer dresses, with superb fitting, and can be dyed to any rare colors like powder-dusty pink, pastels or ombre. Whether it be the embellishments, structured well-tailored silhouettes, and intricate detailing, subtle embroidery, fabric innovation, customization according to client’s needs and finesse craftsmanship, make statement dresses for special occasions, bringing evolutionary new season designs, enhancing every woman’s confidence through the best clothing. The oneMs. Beena Kannan is flaunting on the cover page is also designed and tailored at CUTS & FITS. The one attire Mr. Beena Kannan adorns on the cover page is also designing and created at CUTS & FITS
The Uniquely Distinctive Accolades!
Some of the landmark years of Seematti include 2005, when Shaadi Ki Haveli, a celebration of Indian wedding sarees shook the whole advertising industry, 2006 when Seematti entered the Guinness and Limca book of records for creating the world’s largest hand-woven silk saree (it was 500 meters long), 2007 when Seematti was voted among the top 3 large format stores in India by CNBC – Awaaz Survey and 2010, Seematti centenary year. Beena has a bevy of accolades and recognitions spread over her 35 year career. ‘Life-time Achievement Award’ from Erode-Coimbatore Weavers’ Community, Business Sree Award of India Trade Fair Foundation, The Women of substance Award of the TOI group in 2010. Also to her credit are the best woman Entrepreneur Award 2010 from Fashion Mantra. Over and above these, she has had several recognitions from the Junior Chamber and Natcon Award 1997. Flagging off the centenary celebration at Kochi, Beena Kannan took the celebration to various Indian metros, the Middle East and USA. The centenary celebration fashion show had Sameera Reddy, Sneha and other celebrity models.
The Pravasi Kerala Association of North America at Queens New York and Maryland Washington conferred on her the titles ‘Queen of Silks’ and ‘Excellence in Silks’.
Beena Kannan initiated the very first ‘design contest for students of fashion’ called Ensemble in 2014-15. The contestants comprised students from all over the world. The Pearl Academy and St. Teresa’s College are a few of the winners in 2014 & 2015.
Beena Kannans’s brainchild concept ‘customer as model’ entered the 3rd edition in 2016. The communication featuring actual customers lend credibility and authenticity to the Brand Seematti.
The Banarasi – Kanchipuram 2016 campaign involves Seematti’s clients from all around the world.
Beena’s Bridal Shows are much awaited events conducted alongside Ensemble, every year from 2014. Celebrities like Mandira Bedi, Urmila Matondker, Sneha, Rima Kallingal, Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez, Liza Haydon, Sameera Reddy , Sonali Bendre, Mamtha Mohandas, Radhika Apte, Shreya Sharan & Raveena Tandon have been either ambassadors or showstoppers in Seematti’s communication and Fashion shows from 2006-2019.
Kamala Das (Madhavikutty) wrote on Beena “She has institutionalized textile retailing in South India like no other. Subrato Bagchi of Mindshare considers Seematti a case study material in successful retail scaling up. Prema Manmadhan of ‘The Hindu’ considered her, the fashion ‘Trendometer’, in bridal sarees.
Advice to the aspiring women entrepreneurs who hopefully look up to her!
There was a time when her ailing husband who was diagnosed of cancer was admitted in the hospital, and Ms. Beena Kannan had to shuttle from home to hospital, to take care of her beloved husband and feed her baby girl at home. Through those toughest times of her life, when she cried her soul out, she unfortunately did not have a woman around whom she could look up to as a model, unlike today. During those torturous 8 years, she sobbingly realized that she will be alone in this world one day, was preparing her mind to face that day and to survive. Raising 3 children of 2 to 11 years of age single handedly was no child’s play. She lived . And there she is – today the name Beena Kannan is just synonymous to strength and endurance; an epitome to inspiration to all those women striving to be stronger! It was one day at a time. Scrutinize your steps, assure your partners, you need to believe in yourself and keep going no matter what. All needed fundamentals are already within you, You need not search outside – Human beings are unbelievably gifted potential systems who just have to trigger the right button in themselves to go full-throttle. Just be genuine. Do not get discouraged when you’re scoffed at, when you face criticisms – But always strive to do all the roles given to you effectively – may it be being a mother, wife, daughter or an entrepreneur. Always pamper yourself – Follow your passions to keep your mind fresher. Take every day as it comes, everyday is a new opportunity for improvisation.
About the Passions of Life!
Just like she brings in these very weirdly unique ideas like having clientele-women as their faces on hoardings, she is extremely passionate about rekindling your muse with yourself and life – like finding those hidden desires like learning Bharatnatyam, Horse-riding, revisiting your ruminates on spirituality etc, even if these starts how much ever late in your life. Her advices to keep yourself fit and healthy so that you are able to do your passion with a healthy body and mind.