Stitching together a success story

Usha Sugumar has broken a glass ceiling. She is into apparel designing – but she teaches that in her institution. After school, she launched her apparel designing institution – Chennai Tailoring School - and has been at it for the last 25 years. In this silver jubilee year of the institution, she walks down memory lane and talks to us about how she developed the institution from one student to state now that more than 40,000 students have passed out so far.

What was the main motive to start the business?

I started this business to support my family. I had learnt this course during my school and it now helps me not just have a livelihood but reach out to others and help them launch into a career.

Who in your family supports your business?

My husband Sugumar is the only one who gave me full support and encouraged me to face all the problems. Usually, people say there is a woman behind every successful man. Here, my husband is the one who stands behind my success.

When did you start your business and how did it develop?

I started this business 25 years ago. At first, I struggled a lot. I got only one student and I used to teach him the whole day. After many struggles, now more than 40,000 students have passed out of our institutions.

So, you have a branch?

Yes, I have one in T Nagar and that is considered the head office.

What type of clothes do you specialise in?

I teach all kinds of women’s wear and the students can learn 25 types of stitching within four months.

How have you improved your institution?

We always give our best while teaching the students. I think the honesty of our approach has helped the institution develop.

What is your opinion about women and women’s day?

Women, considered the weaker sex, are proving their talent in every field which should be appreciated. But women still have to shine in fields like medicine, engineering, etc.

Have you won recognition for your work?

I got a shield from S D N B Vaishnav College for Women, Chromepet, for excellence in stitching apparels and designing for the students for more than 10 years. There is also a shield from Pallav Mega Trust Cantonment School, Pallavaram. My work was appreciated during my participation in the All India Radio programme ‘Ivargal’ for excellence in teaching apparel designing.


I Jenifer Ayisha

T P Jebastin Jhenshi

D Jhonsi Rani

R Kirthiga

P Rajeshwari

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