Journey of Ruby Bhandari - Silk Thread
Rasshmi Kansupada   Mar-2019   89 Views   0 Comments
Silk Threads, Inc. began 28 years ago as the answer to an unmet need among second- generation Indians in America who were growing up without access to the designs of their homeland. Ruby Bhandari (voted as D Magazine’s 10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas in 2013), founded this Company out of her personal desire (and need) for fashionable ethnic wear that not only reflected her Indian heritage, but also spoke about her Western sensibilities.

In 1989, as Ruby prepared to go to The University of Texas at Austin, her father asked what she planned to do for a living. She initially said social work. However her father had other plans; he said she could study engineering, law, pre-med or business. They compromised on a degree in finance and accounting.

“I’ve always wanted to help other people,” Ruby says, “and I’ve always had a passion for fashion.”

Her love of fashion took root early and never let go. She began cutting and stitching fabric as a teenager, and in college, she enjoyed designing so much that she couldn't wait to graduate from the UTA to start a business. Silk Threads was born while she was a sophomore at UTA in 1991.Ruby met her husband, Raj Bhandari, when she was a  freshman. At that time, there were very few Indian clothing companies in the U.S., so when they travelled to India to meet Raj’s family, Ruby designed some clothes of her own. She assembled them with the available materials that her future mother-in-law had showed her in a tour of New Delhi, brought the finished garments back home to the States and began selling them. She would operate her business out of the trunk of her white Lexus Sports Coupe, all while finishing school. It looked so much prettier in presentation, and everyone would think that she was really doing well for herself being in the business for barely two years. Her trunk would be empty at the end of every week. Later, however, when sales dwindled, she realized she needed new customers. So she went to a tiny local Indian grocery store with a rack of clothing. She was very disheartened and dejected as she had all her clothes smelling of Indian masalas and she managed to sell only three outfits in the first week. Raj, her knight in shining armour, motivated her and accompanied her the next week wherein they sold five outfits. Sales slowly grew and finally they exploded.

On one of the couple’s later visits to India, Ruby started working with her sister-in-law to open a fabric company and manufacturing units in India. They knew there would be a lot of trade involved, however, they underestimated the amount of effort they needed to do. Every garment imported to the U.S. needed a label classifying the material and where it was from. In 1991, when Ruby sent her first shipment of clothing back to the U.S. It was halted at customs in DFW as none of her 240 garments had the required tags. She was devastated as her stuff was going to be stuck at the airport for 10 days and paying a storage fees of $50 per day meant a humongous amount of expense. A sympathetic customs officer gave Ruby the idea to buy her own labels and write on them with a permanent parker. It is truly said that God helps in various ways, her wonderful friend Gauri helped her and in 25-degree temperature [inside the warehouse]!, with their gloves on and their needles and markers in hand, they hand-wrote 240 tags: “100% silk, Made in India, Dry Clean only”. They would take off their gloves, stitch a few tags, wear the gloves back on so they could feel their fingers again and then stitch some more. She fondly remembers these teething hardships which helped her emerge a winner in any situation.

Over the years, with a lot of struggle and with the courage to continually step into new and challenging areas, Bhandari moved the business from her Irving home to a nearby apartment and then to a studio in Dallas. Her showrooms are awash in color and sparkles. Now, almost three decades later, Silk Threads has full dress, tunic and bridal lines (all of which have their tags!) and serves a wide variety of clients across the country. Ruby does not just want to create garments – she is obsessed on taking the timeless elements of Indian culture – the vibrant colors, the opulent weaves, the regal fabrics, the graceful motifs and the exquisite styles of embroideries – and bring them to a wider audience. Decades before Hollywood discovered Indian artisanal weaves and embellishments, Ruby had started innovating, using a mix of traditional and modern design elements to bring to her clients one of a kind pieces – each of which could tell a different story. She travels extensively throughout the year, and her products can be found in various stores. They even have a show room at the Dallas World Trade Center. The Silk Threads brand includes custom dresses, exclusive ethnic wear, Bridal trousseaus, and Men’s custom wear, all complemented with elegant accessories, with three primary lines:

Silk Threads by Ruby Bhandari, dealing primarily with bespoke ethnic wear – Salwar Kameez, designer Sarees (or saris), bridal Lehenga Cholis, as well as formal ethnic menswear. Silk Threads is recognized as one of the leading designers of ethnic Bridalwear in the country – helping brides nationwide bring their trousseau dreams to fruition.

Ruby B Collections provides high-end tunics and custom dresses, including mainstream Bridal trousseaus. The tunic line is available at over 400 high-end boutiques around the world.

Silk Threads Menswear by Ruby Bhandari is the fusion menswear line, providing custom ethnic Sherwanis to fusion Partywear to discerning gentlemen around the globe. "Color makes me happy," says Ruby, "My clothes are very vibrant and what mainstream America would like to wear."

Ruby’s work has received glowing reviews in ethnic as well as mainstream press, including CBS, ABC, FOX, Women’s Wear Daily, Home Decor, Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, India Today, etc. She is also a frequent guest on radio and TV shows, giving her input on current fashion trends and celebrity dressing and helps produce major Fashion Shows. Ruby’s designs are worn and appreciated by several Bollywood celebrities as well.

She believes in the importance of “designing your own life” despite what those around you might say. This required Ruby to have a positive mindset when she was facing her biggest challenges. This entrepreneurial mindset not only helped Ruby succeed in her own business, it has also inspired her to give back through several charities—just like she had always wanted. Along with creating, the Bhandaris believe in giving back to the community. They host an annual fashion show to benefit a local charity.In 2017, they were able to set up a UT Dallas scholarship for the arts to support enterprising young artists from the proceeds of their Annual Gala. In September 2018, they raised funds to benefit Mosaic Family Services, a nonprofit that helps victims of human rights abuse. They have also worked with local and national charities like Children’s Advocacy of Collin County, American Cancer Society and Indo-American Cancer Association. “If you have passion for something, you can probably go for it. But having the correct knowledge, the correct management and a plan are so important,” Ruby says. “There’s so much unhappiness out there. The way to create happiness is to follow your passion.”
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PARMESH BHEEMREDDY SWORN IN AS NEW PRESIDENT OF ATA
Toppick Media Editor   Mar-2019   19 Views   0 Comments
Parmesh Bheemreddy, who played a key role as the convener for the success of the Philadelphia convention of the American Telugu Association in 2014, has now become its president. 
The association, known by its acronym ATA, is a premier umbrella organization of people who speak Telugu in their adopted land of America. The ATA board held its meeting at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, January 19, when Bheemreddy was sworn in as president of the organization.   

The meeting was attended, among others, bythe board of trustees, past presidents, advisers, standing committee heads, regional coordinators and directors.  Along with Bheemreddy, who is based in Delaware, a new board of trustees was also installed at the meeting attended by a total of 150 delegates from across the US. In their presence, President Karunakar Asireddy passed the baton to the new president.   

ATA expanded its trustee board members to 31 from 27 following the toughest competition from among its members in the history of ATA, which came into being in the early 1990s. Eighteen of its trustees from three categories were elected unanimously.   The following are the 18 members: Arvind Muppidi, Satish Reddy, Venu Piske, Ravi Patlola, Madhu Bommineni, Sainath Boyapa Ili, Ramesh Nallavolu, Srinivas Da rgula, Vijay Konduru, Venu Sankineni, Srikanth Gudipati, Hari Lingala, Sunny Reddy, Sai Sudini, Ramakrishna Reddy Ala, Anil Boddireddy, Rajeshwar Tekmal and Meher Medavaram.  

The new trustees will be in place for four calendar years beginning 2019. Bhuvanesh Reddy Boojala, from Virginia, was chosen unanimously as president-elect. He will serve as the president of ATAfor 2021 and 2022.  

Jan 19th, 2019 In his presidential address, Bheemreddy vowed to preserve and strengthen the Telugu heritage in the US. He also promised to promote further literary, cultural, educational, social and economic as well as religious activities of the community mentioned in the ATA constitution.
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STARTING DFW TO PARIS DIRECT FLIGHT FROM 31ST MARCH 2019 :DELTA/AIRFRANCE NEW VENTURE coverage by Anu Benakatti
Anu Benakatti   Mar-2019   167 Views   0 Comments
It is best opportunity to visit Europe with this new flight, till today we had only option of American airlines  direct flight to visit Paris, now we can use Delta/Air France for Europe as well as Jet airways combination flights going to India.                                                    
Delta Airlines was represented by Sales and development Executive Mr. Gil Buitrago.” Delta very excited to give you this news about our joint venture. Now we are offering great options for our customers who would like to get connected with their destinations. Air France/KLM and Jet airways will be joining hands with us to provide great service and experience to connect our customers quickly and conviniently” said Mr. Buitrago.

Mr. Arnaud Grimal, The joint Venture sales and Sales development director represented Air France/ KLM airlines said “This is another important milestone to our airline. No, we can provide services to our loyal customers to their favorite destinations from DFW”.

Air France-KLM is the leading airline group in international traffic on departure from Europe serving 314 destinations in 116 countries under five brands.  Passengers can earn or redeem Delta SkyMiles or Flying Blue Miles on all Air France or KLM flights. Mr Grimal talked about special added features and said,“More features has been added to economy class travellers like more space between armrest and more legroom.A wider HD touch screen.

The Business seat is equipped with a Business passengers also a hypoallergenic feather pillow, soft duvet, and a comfort and well-being” kit containing toiletries and Clarins moisturizer”.

Air France begins nonstop service between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Paris -Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) March 31 with 5 weekly peak season flights.

March 31 thru Oct. 26 2019 Air France operates 3 weekly flights  (wed/fri/sun) with 5 weekly flights during summer peak season in July and August (mon / wed / fri / sat / sun)

Jet Airways was represented by Mr. Ather Khan Vice president of Jet airways America. Being one of the well recognized international airline “this venture will give more options for customers with flexibility, quick connections and more affordable” It also will add value and increase sales with quality services in market for Jet airways said Mr. Khan.
When you fly with Sky team member  partner airlines as you get benefit of  Priority Boarding, Preferred Seats, and Waived Baggage Fees --stay with you no matter where you are around the world.

Plus, certain partner airlines offer even more benefits when you travel with them:

Our preferred partners (including AeroMexico, Air France, China Eastern, GOL, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia) offer elevated benefits like Complimentary Upgrades.

Our SkyTeam partners (an alliance of 20 airlines serving 177 countries and over 1,000 destinations across the globe) all offer a unique suite of benefits including access to partner lounges around the world
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Young Achievers - Ishaan Sharma
Young Achievers - Ishaan Sharma
Toppick Media Editor   Mar-2019
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Ishaan Sharma, a senior at Hebron High School in Carrollton, TX, was selected to perform at TMEA convention on 16-Feb-2019.

Begun in 1920 as the Texas Band Teachers Association, the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) is an organization of over 12,000 school music educators dedicated to promoting excellence in music education. TMEA is comprised of five divisions: Band, Orchestra, Vocal, Elementary and College.

Every year students from schools and colleges in Texas compete at different level to secure one of the prestigious positions in bands, orchestra and ensembles, which perform in front of a packed crowd of 3000+ spectators. In 2019, more than seventy-two thousand (72,000) students competed and only around 1400 students were selected after extremely tough competition. Ishaan Sharma was selected from his school along with few other very talented musicians. Based on his performance, Ishaan was placed in the top Philharmonic Orchestra to perform at very prestigious Lila Cockrell theater in San Antonio.

Ishaan has been playing music since the age of five when he started playing Piano. In the middle school, he joined school band and started learning Trombone. Music has become his passion and he started scaling the heights in his performance. In 2018; Ishaan begged all the awards from his school band competitions and earned extremely high divisions in different performances. Ishaan is part of the Hebron High School Marching band and served as a section leader for Trombone in 2019. Ishaan will be performing in International Trombone Festival (ITF) in July’19 in front of world-renowned musicians and composers. Ishaan will be pursuing his college education in music as a performer. He lives with his parents, his younger brother, and the family dog.

Here is wishing Ishaan all the success from Toppick Media for his musical career.

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Padma Mishra: Art Of Balancing Act
Padma Mishra: Art Of Balancing Act
Neetu Rishi   Mar-2019
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An insight to the life of Padma Mishra, the owner of VISRAP entertainment. A girl from a small state in India, who comes to USA with some buried dreams and desires and then along with adapting herself in a new environment, taking care of all the home chores and family just decided to give wings to her passion.

She was always in love with music and decided to bring this music to the reach of the Dallas Community and thus was born VISRAP entertainment. Not only this she is also a Board of directors and Women Forum Co chair for Indian Association of North Texas.

1.     What inspired you to start VISRAP Entertainment?

A: - When I moved to Dallas, had no friends, so involved myself in volunteer work for concerts and started enjoying and looking at the fact that no women are involved in this field, so I decided to start this venture.

2.     What was the logic behind the name VISRAP?

A:- The name is a combination of my whole family, VIS from my son, Vishal, RA from my husband, Rajesh and P from my name, Padma. My family support is my inspiration.

3.     How did you manage to do three shows back to back in 2018 all alone in spite of all the odds that you were facing in life?

A: - I am a challenge loving person, my self-confidence and my willingness to do things made me do this.

4.     You are loved and surrounded by so many people around you, what’s the magic behind this?

A: - I believe in give and take, if you give love and respect, you are reflected back.

5.     What message would you like to give to girls out there who have somewhere in heart to do something, but are not able to be that bold enough to ignite it?

A: - Whatever you want to do, people will give you advice, people will help you but in the end its you have to take it forward. Be yourself.

Women are the real architects of the society.

Happy Woman’s Day .

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Swati Goyal having a candid conversation with the comedy kings Kunal Kamra & Rahul Subramanian
Swati Goyal having a candid conversation with the comedy kings Kunal Kamra & Rahul Subramanian
Swati Goyal   Jan-2019
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I had the pleasure of having a candid conversation with the comedy kings Kunal Kamra & Rahul Subramanian who were here in Dallas for a standup comedy show. Here's their story Dallas, sit back and enjoy!

Swati: How did you enjoy performing in Dallas?

Rahul, Kunal: We had a great time, the audience was so responsive and so full of life. It was almost like performing in Mumbai with the exuberant crowds that motivate you to do better!

Swati: We’ve had so many comedians come to Dallas this year – Amit Tandon, Atul Khatri and they all had an IT background; clearly there is a strong correlation between IT and comedy. What are your thoughts on this? 

Rahul: That’s a fair question because in India most people end up doing IT. From the same batch of people, you will see other careers evolve like pilots, journalism and comedy. So that explains why most comedians have an IT background. Kunal actually is unique in that he’s not from IT (Kunal chuckles).

Kunal: Yeah, I am a BCOM drop out. I actually saw that poster where all fish are going in one direction and that one fish is going in opposite direction; I chose to be that fish. But if I become a PM someday, I’ll fake my degree, Kunal quips. 

Swati: How has life changed for you guys after being famous in comedy scene?

Kunal: On a personal level, it hasn’t changed much. To us, our content/ delivery is same just that now we have more people coming in to listen to our show and now we are  expanding geographically. From performing in Nagpur, Nasik, Ahmedabad, we have evolved to performing internationally and are glad to be here in Dallas!

Rahul: To add to this, comedy platform is still very grounded and connected to the audience. It’s not like Bollywood where with one movie you shoot to fame. End of the day we are normal people who still travel by Uber and still use discount coupons!

Swati: Rahul, on one of your shows we heard how your breakup inspired MBA. Is that true? 

Rahul: Wow, that’s a tricky one! Well, I’d say my breakup didn’t inspire MBA but breakup was the reason I did MBA, basically to get away from it. Before the MBA entrance exam results are announced, you have to buy the admission forms for colleges. I didn’t get admission in any of the colleges I had bought the forms for. But there was this one college giving out forms even after results came out and that’s the college I ended up joining and here we are! So yes, sometimes something good can come out a little bad in life.

Swati: Tell us about your most embarrassing moment on stage so far.

Rahul: For me it was performing at a standup comedy show where only fifteen people were present in audience, none of whom were really listening. In the middle of the act,  these five girls right in the middle stand up and request me to take a picture of them. And guess what, I did! Those five girls were 33% of my audience so I couldn’t have disappointed them. So that was me, taking a picture in middle of my act!

Kunal: During one of my shows, an elderly uncle eating pasta got so offended by my comedy that he got up in the middle of the show shouting “This is not comedy, this is anything!”. That was the most discouraging/ embarrassing remark I received till date, comparing my comedy to “chicken tikka” would have felt a little better (Kunal giggles).

So this was our inside scoop from the comedy kings Kunal Kamra and Rahul Subramanian. Hope you enjoyed reading their story. Stay tuned for more!

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