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About Shalini James


Shalini James

Shalini is a graduate in English literature who abandoned the subject mid-sentence to pursue her love for fashion. After a three year spell in Fashion design at NIFT, Chennai, she took a business management program from IIM, Calcutta. Her education, now a heady cocktail of sorts, she spent more than a few years figuring out her mantra. In December 2002, after a particularly intense eureka moment, she founded a company in the living room of a house in Cochin and named it Shalini James' Mantra. Simply put, Mantra is a firm that designs, manufactures and sells clothes that appeal to Shalini. That they appeal to a whole lot of other women too may be incidental, but it turned out to be fortunate for her.


In its twelfth year, Mantra moved out of that living room into a state-of-the art factory that looks more like a farm house. Nestling amidst coconut palms and meandering canals, the Mantra house stands tall in Cheranalloor, a sleepy village in Cochin. As the neighbourhood wakes up to the resonant music of temple bells and the spicy fragrance that wafts in from a nearby pepper grove, a group of people buzz into action here. This colonial-style building that houses big dreams is home to Shalini and her team.