Sri Lanka is currently struggling amidst an economic crisis, and as a result, it is the small to medium scale enterprises and brands that take the largest hit. However, these resilient individuals continue to brave the economic hardships and manufacture great products for the local economy.
Amyra Clothing is a great example for this. Established when the economy was taking multiple hits as a result of the COVID pandemic, twenty four year-old founder Amavi Gunasekara established the brand with Gayan Thushara and built the clothing line from the ground up. Ceylon Today reached out to Amavi to learn more about their journey and their thoughts on the current circumstances.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and Amyra Clothing?
A: I left my hometown to come to Colombo around four years ago, and learnt about this industry for around five years through my experience. It was with this experience that we started Amyra Clothing. Gayan and I met before this. He was in the hospitality industry at that time.
It has been an interesting one-and-a-half years for Amyra Clothing. We initially wanted to do this business solely online. However, with time, and increased demand, we’ve been able to expand into supplying for a number of retail outlets.
Is there any special reason behind the name Amyra?
A: For many years, I’ve dreamed about having my own clothing brand. Whenever I had free time, I would think about achieving this goal, and of course, I thought about the name I would pick as well. There isn’t a special meaning behind the word itself, but I wanted to have my name play into a part of the name.
Looking back, are you proud of what you’ve achieved so far?
A: It wasn’t easy since we were starting from square one. There is a lot of competition in this industry and field to begin with, so making sales is tough. It was an uphill struggle for both of us, but we’ve come very far in the past year-and-half.
We’ve managed to create a unique style of our own, and have stuck to our aesthetic. We’ve learnt a lot about running a working business.
Speaking of which, what is your source of inspiration with your designs?
A: The designs are all done by me. But to be frank, I can’t really say there is one specific element or thing that my designs are inspired from. I don’t really follow the trends that are online. I play around with different ideas, and if I’m confident in something, I go ahead and make it my final design.
Starting a business during the pandemic is a challenge. How did you overcome this task?
A: We decided to start from the simplest of starts and focused on building an online platform. Using social media was a key part of our success because it was a game changer in increasing our reach to be discovered by potential customers. But to be honest, there really wasn’t any hesitation in starting Amyra. We launched the brand a month after deciding to take the leap.
How has the current economic situation affected Amyra?
A: It definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing. Material as well as logistics in delivery is expensive. But it’s something we have to deal with. Hopefully things will turn for the better in the coming times.
With the current circumstances, it may be time to make changes in our ways, including what we buy and spend on. Why not start purchasing from small scale businesses and industries to support local economies. Every rupee can still go a long way.
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage