Harmony, one of the island’s leading ladies’ fashion stores, toasted their 50th anniversary last night at their newest branch in Sheraton Centre Mall.
Staff, customers, family, friends and business partners all gathered for a celebratory cocktail evening that saw patrons enjoying live music, delectable hors d’oeuvres and viewing the latest fashions on offer at the store.
The management of the store thanked their dedicated staff and loyal customers for helping to build the successful brand over the last 50 years.
In addressing those present, Shyam Mahtani spoke about his father, Vashi’s, vision for the store when it was first opened in 1969.
“In 1969, my dad moved to Barbados looking for a brighter future for our family. He had been working for others since he was 14 years old. So when we moved here, he knew that he wanted to open his own business and he was determined to do it, but it wasn’t easy.
“He had tremendous challenges and very limited financial resources, but like they say, when you are resolved and determined and have a vision, doors tend to open for you and he was fortunate that a store in Tudor Street was offered to him and he didn’t miss that opportunity to buy it,” he said.
Shyam explained the origin of the name Harmony and what the word means to his family.
“Many people ask where did the name Harmony come from. I know that mom and dad knew that they wanted the name of the store to have meaning; to relate what was important in their values. You see, my dad loves music, he loved music from the time he has his first memories.”
He continued: “My mom, she was full of love for everyone, so when a family member suggested the name – Harmony, they knew immediately that that was the right name for the store. It encompassed what they felt should be the core of the business; that is, to be in harmony not only with ourselves but with our staff, customers and everyone…”
He credited his wife, Varsha, for rebranding and redirecting the store in 1992 when they decided to focus solely on ladies’ wear.
“Big changes happened to Harmony in 1992 when I married my absolutely lovely wife, Varsha. She came into the business and put forward fresh ideas and a different approach to the business. One of those ideas was a very risky one at that time and that was to change our focus to just one area, ladies’ fashion and accessories.
An emotional Varsha said her late father was the one who entrusted her with his business and that is how she began to grow as a businesswoman.
“My dad had a store in Sheraton Mall actually when the mall just opened. He gave me the responsibility of managing this store at the age of 17 years old.
My dad, who is no longer with us, had enough faith in me to run the place on my own. It was a great learning experience, and that really helped boost my confidence and pushed me to do better and better, because I did not want to let him down! I am extremely grateful for his guidance,” she said. (IMC)