Maneesha started her career designing and manufacturing handbags, totes, evening clutches, scarves and tunics in leather and various fabrics for international fashion houses. Design came naturally to the qualified graphic designer. During this period, one of her creations, a bag she designed for a client, featured on Oprah’s top 10 Christmas buy list.
Born in a business family, entrepreneurship came naturally to Maneesha. She coupled it with her success in designing, and it led to the launch of her namesake label. In 2013, she entered the fashion world as the brand, “Maneesha Ruia.”
Maneesha had always been drawn to art, culture, and museums. Living a major part of her adult life in New York City, she derived inspiration from the diverse potpourri of cultures mushroomed across the city.
Her ever-growing creativity stemmed from travel, interaction with people, and immersion in varied cultures across the globe. Nature, a major influencer, serves as a canvas for all her collections. This, complemented by her extensive travels to fashion hubs and exotic locations, gave her immeasurable exposure paving the way for the evolution of her brand.
Having successfully established the brand, the founder envisions her future collections as conscious and sustainable productions. Ethics have been an integral driver of Maneesha’s business, and her team is a testament to her walking that talk. Moving ahead, the designer plans to expand the product range to make it a comprehensive lifestyle luxury brand.
Over the years, The Maneesha Ruia collections have comprised of woven and knitted scarves, shawls, capes, wraps, ponchos, and jackets.
She sourced fabrics such as merino wool, cashmere, silk, linen, modal and blends from across India. Maneesha designed her collections in various hues based on the season and her travels. Each style was elevated with intricate designs, stunning lace applications, handcrafted embroideries and appliqués, leather, fur and other embellishments such as Swarovski, beads, and pearls. Each element brought uniqueness to her collections. These designs were exceptional as the specialised craftsmanship of an aesthetically diverse India enabled the designer’s creativity to come to life. Her ambition was to present a garment that could stylise every individual without it being unattainable.
The label was launched at a premier trade show in Paris to bring this stylish accessory with a twist, to the global market. The brand gained immediate visibility with a diverse clientele from Europe to the Far East. Launching on an international platform was a strategic decision for the company. Maneesha introduced her product line serving a targeted market that use these accessories through the year. Soon after the launch in Paris, it successfully forayed into the US market with a premier trade show in NYC.
Over time, Maneesha Ruia produced newer collections and expanded fabric versatility. The now globally established brand, retailing from premium department stores and boutiques, successfully entered the Indian market in 2017. Currently, retailing out of a showroom at its Headquarters in Mumbai, select premium multi-designer boutiques, and exclusive exhibitions across India.
A Maneesha Ruia piece is not an aspirational trend but a keepsake and heirloom piece. Each product transforms an outfit without overpowering the individual’s elegance and personality. There is something in each collection for every occasion, person, and style.
Maneesha started out by sourcing fabrics from various cities in northern India. During this period, she personally visited factories to better understand the nature and sourcing of fabrics. She also interacted with artisans from a diverse background across India, to enhance her collections. This process allowed her to build a formidable network of factories and craftsmen with an assorted skillset. Maneesha’s two-fold aim included sourcing a variety of basic fabrics from ethically reliable suppliers, and promote unique handicrafts that were prevalent in remote locations in the country. Like Maneesha’s personality, the brand is rooted in India, but created with a modern and contemporary aesthetic.
The process has evolved to outsourcing. All fabrics, their structure, graphic designs, and colour combinations are custom-made as per Maneesha’s requirements and direction. The brand intention to push conscious sustainability has gained momentum as most of the fabrics are made from natural fibres.
Since inception, giving back to society has been a conscious effort at Maneesha Ruia. To prevent wastage whilst enabling a livelihood cycle, the leftover materials from the collections are handed over to ‘Hamaara Sapna,’ a non- profit that helps women from the slums.
The team is part of a business culture that respects the workspace and its fellow workers. This ecosystem has been home for a majority of its employees since the origin of the label. In 2019, the business moved away from contract manufacturing to its own factory in the industrial area of Bhiwandi on the outskirts of Mumbai. This allowed the team at the boutique unit and corporate office in Mumbai to deliver distinctive high-quality products whilst being extremely stringent about maintaining industry standards at all levels.
As the label gained popularity, Mr Sanjai Ruia, an entrepreneur, and Maneesha’s brother, joined the business. His focus has been to streamline client interaction and stimulate business growth as Maneesha remains at the helm of the creative evolution.
The journey is evidence that this solopreneurship has grown into a globally established label. The brand has a forward-thinking business approach to bring creative value-addition to the client’s lifestyle.