Melbourne sister act launch sleepwear brand pjMe!
Veena Raja and Mithra Firestone have high-profile careers as a lawyer and engineer, and now they’re pursuing their fashion design dream.
This designer duo have returned home from studying fashion in New York and released a gorgeous sleepwear label that oozes their own personalities, through vibrant colours and sophisticated original prints.
It echoes their vision of bringing a sense of elegance and comfort to the sleepwear world.
Let’s find out more!
Q. When did you first realise you wanted to start a fashion label and what were the next steps you took?
Veena. I knew I wanted to start my own label after attending a design course at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. My sister and I have complementary skill sets and an almost identical sense of style and appreciation for all things fashion-related. We also get along effortlessly and share the same creative dream, so setting up a business partnership was the next step. pjMe was a natural leap of faith for both of us! It was time to give our creative dreams a chance. So far it’s been an incredibly fun and rewarding journey that has been worth every risk.
Mithra. Since forever my sister and I talked about starting a fashion label together. But in school my strengths were in maths/sciences and as a result I became an engineer. So, after eight years working in that competitive corporate world – I was ready for a career change! I was working in Qatar, my sister was living in New York and she was to begin a course in fashion design. My reaction was to quit my job, join her in New York and do the course so we could begin the dream business we had talked about.
Q. What do you love about fashion?
Veena. Fashion or style is an expression of your personality through clothing. I adore fashion; pretty little dresses and high heels are some of my favourite things.
Mithra. I love that fashion is unique to an individual. It reflects your inner personality as well as complementing your unique physical attributes. When you receive a compliment on your outfit it’s how the clothes complement you as an individual that make your look special.
Where do you draw your design inspiration from?
Veena. Our travels through Asia, Europe and the Middle East have inspired us with bright colours, edgy prints and versatile silhouettes.
Mithra. We love to travel! So we take inspiration from the colours of the environments that include; Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Q. What advice would you give to young people wanting to create their own brand?
Veena. Just do it! Seriously. Stop thinking about it and make it happen for yourself. This quote motivates me: “Build your own dreams or someone will hire you to build theirs”.
Mithra. Stop dreaming and just do it.
Q. Do you think there is enough support out there for Australian designers?
Veena. Emerging designers always have difficulty breaking into the market and much of it comes down to who you know – be it fashion influencers, bloggers, retailers, media or marketing contacts.
Mithra. Breaking into any industry is always a challenge. Being an emerging designer, it always helps to have good contacts in the blogging, retail and media industries. I still think there could be more support for emerging designers in this regard.
Q. What is your vision for pjMe?
Veena. To transform the way women dress whilst relaxing.
Mithra. To transform the way women relax.
Q. Tell us about your idea of a fun night out?
Veena. With good friends, good food and good music. Typically in some exotic city that deserves exploring.
Mithra. Good company, good wine, good music.
Q. How do you like to relax?
Veena. At home, in my pyjamas, with take-out for dinner and watching Netflix. It’s a true to life re-enactment of Bridget Jones.
Mithra. As above or in bed with a good book.
For more details!