Mohini Choudhari is a young visionary who has traveled across 80 countries. Her brand THEA is a translation of a Greek word that translates as ‘Goddess’ that believes that women are Goddesses who rule their own world. THEA brings to the platter handcrafted fashion accessories that define comfort and style, just the right way.
Indian by birth, Mohini has lived in Qatar and recently married in Georgia to the love of her life, an Italian. Read her interview to learn more about Mohini Choudhari’s penchant for exploration and her aspirations to create fashion that is one of its kind.
Questions and answers
What does THEA signify? How did you come up with this brand?
I always enjoyed the DIY when it came to fashion. I would go to my local Aunties or Designer friends and instruct them on how I wanted a particular outfit made. I have no formal education in fashion, but I always wanted to create something. I hesitated for years until my boyfriend (now husband) pushed me into it. And THEA was born. The word THEA translates to the goddess in Greek. The belief behind THEA is we want every woman to feel like one while she uses our products.
According to you, what is that one marketing strategy that always works?
I haven’t adopted any primary strategy, the basic tricks, and tips on digital marketing help. But while I market and deliver my product, I feel honesty is something I will always stick to. I am aiming to have a transparent business. Honesty will lead to slow growth for the brand, especially when fake followers, likes, and comments are available quickly, but I am willing to take that risk.
You have also worked in the aviation industry, anything you'd like to share about those days?
It’s a very hectic schedule but has many perks. Aviation taught me patience & made me realize how much I enjoy to travel. I use a lot of my hospitality tips in my business. It works.
You recently got married in Georgia, did you plan a traditional Indian wedding or did you follow Italian marriage customs? How did you guys come to that decision?
Since we come from 2 different countries, the paperwork involved was a nightmare to obtain. It made me realize how outdated our Indian Bureaucracy is as compared to many nations. However, Georgia was able to ease the process for us, so we just flew to Georgia over a weekend and got married. We are yet to have the ceremony, and it would be totally as per our personal beliefs. Religion won’t be a part of it.
Since you and your husband come from different cultures, are there any special traditions or customs that you have to celebrate certain festivals and occasions?
We embrace both cultures. He loves the vibrancy of my culture, and I enjoy the warmth of his. We often host Indian or Italian nights at home and invite our friends and take alternate small weekend trips to India and Italy. The blend of both sides is quite a beautiful occasion in itself.
Besides managing your job and website, and traveling, is there something else you like to do?
For now, the plate is full. However, the last few months have given me enough time for self-care. Sleeping & eating on time, video calls with my loved ones, and it makes me happy. This is something I was unable to do pre-COVID. All you have to do is be content & happy with what you do. Don’t venture into multiple things because the world is doing it. It’s not a productivity contest.
After traveling to so many places, what do you love the most about all these different cultures and languages? Have you ever faced a crazy culture shock that amused you?
Love is the language we all speak. People are kind and helpful, and some strangers will forever be part of your adventures. We all have many similarities across continents, the food, the clothes, the words in certain languages, and in some cases, even social customs.
The first time I visited America, I did not understand the hype around organic food. Coming from India, healthy food was never a luxury, unlike the West. The Japanese toilets, they excite me till date. Getting escorted by the police in Nigeria makes me uncomfortable every time. Also, there is no ‘log kya kahenge’ concept in many countries. And that is some sort of freedom.
You have traveled around 80 countries, do you take inspirations of fashion from each of these countries you visit?
Totally! I have pieces from all over the world, which would be an inspiration for my future collections.
What influences your fashion style the most?
Comfort, if I feel even a tiny bit uneasy in a certain fabric or style, I won’t wear it. You will never spot me wearing the latest trends. Cotton, linen, hand embroidery are my personal favorite.
You love traveling, and we wondered if you might venture into the world of travel blogging? Can we look forward to it?
Not my thing. My travels are quite personal to me. I like to talk about my trips to the people I know. I don’t want to commercialize or publicize my experiences. I do post glimpses of my travel on my Instagram, but that is about it.
According to you, which is that one country you cannot skip while traveling and why?
India itself has so much to explore and experience. And if you have to step out then visit Iceland & Italy.
How do you think are health, hygiene, and beauty interlinked?
It’s all sums down to what to consume. How you smell or how your skin feels, and it is everything inside you. No amount of products on the outside will achieve what the right food can achieve. I know we are just unable to reach our nutrition target daily, and that’s where supplements come in. I take organic supplements daily, and they keep my levels right. Invest in regular visits to your doctor; your favorite eyeshadow palette can wait. Mental health is also a factor that could affect your health unknowingly. So seek therapy if you have to.
How important do you think it is, to be financially independent these days, especially for women?
Irrespective of your gender, we all have to be financially sound. You learn to be responsible; it builds your confidence and boosts your morale in many ways. Also, it creates a healthier environment at home, and you can contribute towards running your household.
It takes away the burden of someone else feeding you. And in a marriage, it somewhere enables an equal status. For any reason you land in a medical emergency, you can seek yourself a good treatment and not compromise on your health. And above all, if you see an independent woman, she is nothing but a great role model for the young society.
What is your philosophy towards fashion?
I believe strongly in supporting ethical business practices and supporting local vendors, artisans.
How was your experience at the Dead Sea?
It was one of those unforgettable travel moments. My best friend’s younger sister accompanied me on that trip. We slapped the mud on each other’s body, and the moment we stepped into the water. The extraordinarily high level of salination made every small scratch or cut on our body sting. It was quite comical, with us running back to take a shower.
Can you enlighten us about an upcoming collection you are currently working on and can't wait to launch?
We would soon announce it on our Instagram. Stay tuned. It is a less explored area that we are looking into.
•A designer you look up to– Anita Dongre & Gautam Sinha of Nappa Dori
• Swimming with dolphins or go shark diving– None. its high time we let the animals alone.
• Favourite make-up brand- Huda, Clinique.
• Mountains or beach– Beach
• Pet peeves– Pseudo feminism