Keshini's elegant rise in garments trade
CAREER WOMAN: Efficient work and dedication bring rewards. She
was able to rise to a higher echelon in her profession. She is Keshini
Suraweera, a Director and General Manager of Nilano Garments (Pvt) Ltd
When she was studying for the CIMA exams, her father who is a founder
of the company wanted her join in the business. "His wish was to make me
a successful businesswoman in Sri Lanka giving stronger support to
promote my career," she said.
Director and the General Manager: Keshini Suraweera.
Joining as a management trainee, she started working from the bottom
of the company in 1998. At the beginning it was not easy to work while
studying because there is no 8-hour job in the garment sector."
There should be a firm dedication and concern for the work when the
orders are undertaken and when dealing with buyers. Problems may come in
line from stores until the shipments. Everything should be done before
the deadline, continued coordination and follow up action are compulsory
in this sphere," she said.
Facing many challenges and proving her capability in her work, she
has been able to qualify as a Management Accountant (CIMA) UK. Having
gained work experience in the company, her dedication and well planning
were the pillars to a Director in the company during a short time.
She said her knowledge has contributed largely to handle the
management, accounting, marketing and administration of the company.
She has also been fortunate to enhance the knowledge in a technical
background, workstudy and production planning by participating in many
foreign consultant courses.
The company allocates funds annually for training programmes for
workers, managers and supervisors, which improves thinking patterns and
efficiency which would lead towards success. "Today the garment industry
is more competitive and it has become a challenge. But with the creative
talents, continued updating and commitment to work one could overcome
the challenge by offering best services. The garment provides employment
for 200 workers.
Nilano is a BOI approved company which was commenced in 1988 with 20
machines and 25 workers by Keshini's father Nihal Seneviratne who is the
CEO. Developing step by step, today it has become a premier manufacturer
specially for woven products. The products package includes, ladies'
blouses, dresses, skirts, shorts, pants, party wear dresses, men's
casual shirts, shorts and light weight jackets.
It caters to various customers in the USA and Europe. The value
addition services are embroidery, appliques, screen printing, hand
worked and machine woven sequin work, beading, hand smocking, washing
and sandblasting the garments.
CUTTING EDGE: At the production plant. Pictures by Sumanachandra
The factory follows modern technology and high quality standards and
new trends because the products are meant for export.
She said that buyer confidence is a major factor and it should be
maintained always to recognise their requirements sparing more energy,
time and money to offer best and standard ready wear garment to the
export market. Her sister handles the clothing gallery called kadapatha
which is in the Premier Pacific Shopping Mall with mother L. Seneviratne.
It offers an affordable range of clothing and accessories and
conducts fashion shows as well. With the high demand for this, the next
shop will be set up in the near future. She is looking for more local
and foreign collaboration which would be able to boost the trade.
It has also aimed to go for the French market while doing further
development in the European market.
Keshini is a past pupil of St. Bridget's Convent. She had improved
her creativity and fashion designing at the Cora Abraham Art School in
1996 and she does further studies on designing.
"When I look back, I have passed many difficult barriers but had
pleasing occasions also. With the support of my family, I was able to
run my business successfully," she said.
The Women's Chamber of Industries and Commerce awarded her the silver
award at the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2002.