Market Share - Rambha Gulati

Rambha Gulati

After working in marketing for several years, Rambha felt the need to get out of the rat race and start something of her own, something that provided young and budding talents a platform to showcase themselves. Thus began her pet project – Mercado. In a candid conversation, she shares her vision and expectations from this venture.

Tell us what Mercado is all about.
It all started with the thought that there are so many vendors and designers from Mumbai and other parts of the world who haven’t been able to come into the limelight. Mumbai is a fashion hub, and while there are numerous designers who regularly showcase their creations, there are those who haven’t yet been explored. I’m targeting the latter, whose creations are fresh yet trendy.
I’ve been a marketing person all my life, so promoting brands comes naturally to me. I’ve got designers from all over the country— Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Delhi, Jaipur and other cities— most of whom are showcasing their work at an exhibition for the first time.

How did the concept come into being?
I was tired of working for others and wanted to do something on my own. I often went for exhibitions in the city where top designers showcased their work, and although everything available was lovely, it was also exorbitantly priced. As a result, I’d often return home empty-handed. I recall our childhood days when we would be given a mere 100 rupees and would get a bagful of goodies with it. That’s what I wanted to bring back, and so far I’m lucky that I’ve achieved it. Mercado only features 20 to 30 exclusive designers, each of whom have something unique to offer at affordable prices.  

How did you come up with the name?
I looked up names that were catchy and I came across Mercado, which in Spanish means a marketplace. It sounds appealing and fun, just like what the event will be.

What should people look forward to at Mercado?
Lots of fun, frolic, good food, music, and great designs at amazing prices. Our USP is the unique touch we give to our exhibitions. For instance, this time we’re also having a pet stall, where people bring their pets and buy merchandise and food for their pooches. Something like this has never happened before. Imagine taking your pet out shopping?!

Another unique feature is the stall where we have visually-challenged children from two NGOs who will be giving massages. Mercado is an upmarket lifestyle exhibition, stylishly curated, with prices that are affordable.

So what’s next?
I’m already in talks with people to bring in vendors from Dubai and host them in India. After the exhibition on August 16 at Blue Sea in Mumbai, I’m planning to host exhibitions again in December 2016 and March 2017. I’m looking at doing four exhibitions a year, and also looking at expanding to other cities soon. So there’s lots on the cards and I’m excited about it. I’ve always fancied planning and organising parties and events, so I’m loving every bit of my work all the more because I’m doing what I enjoy.

Nothing in my life has been planned; opportunities come by and I just grab them. Mercado too just happened.

How do you manage your work and personal lives?
It’s all the same for me at the moment. I’m working almost 18 hours a day and sleeping the remaining time. So I don’t have much of a distinction between personal and professional time currently.

So there’s no real free time for you?!
Currently the only free time I’m getting is 4 to 5 hours a day, and that’s when I sleep. But the one thing I don’t stop no matter how busy a schedule I have is taking my dog for walks thrice a day. That’s when I get time for myself and I have peace of mind.

What’s your fashion mantra?
Comfort and individuality are what I look for in any outfit. I’ve never followed fashion. My wardrobe has many things that I picked up 10 years ago, and I absolutely enjoy wearing them as much as my new clothes.

Favourite place to shop?
Although I’d love to say Paris and London, I must say that I don’t have a favourite designer or a favourite look. I often get my clothes stitched because I prefer to pick my colour, fabric and style on my own. My friend and soul sister Neelu Kapoor helps me a lot with my clothes. I love her fashion sense.       --- as told to Niharika