Chamani Weerasekara | Style startup

How she created a conscious fashion label while juggling her day job

Chamani Weerasekara is the Brisbane-based founder and designer of CHAMANI.

Chamani Weerasekera always wanted to help people, so choosing a career as a pharmacist working in hospitals made a lot of sense.

But a few years into her career, she realised she wanted something more… and in true ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ style, she headed overseas to see what else was out there for her.

For the next three years Chamani worked as a tour guide in Southeast Asia, loving the travel and adventure but seeing poverty all around her every day.

Inspired by the work of local charities, an idea started brewing to combine her love of fashion – which had always been there as a hobby – with empowering marginalised women here in Australia and overseas.

She’s since launched her namesake conscious-luxury fashion label, CHAMANI, partnering with artisans and non-profit organisations to create unique, custom fabrics and slow-made, sustainable designs.

Debuting her first collection at the Brisbane Fashion Festival, she’s now juggling her new career as a fashion designer and social entrepreneur, while continuing to “daylight” as a pharmacist as the business grows.

In this episode Chamani chats with host Jacqui Ooi about:

  • Why she initially chose a more stable career over her creative interests
  • How she set up a purpose-driven fashion label with no formal training or business background
  • What she’s learned about working ethically and sustainably, and the power of persistence in overcoming startup challenges
  • Navigating the dual identity of being a pharmacist and fashion designer
  • Her best tips and recommendations for aspiring career changers and startup founders

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