A humble thread weaving tradition and contemporaneity together, Suta - the design house founded in 2016 has become the favorite of many. But it wasn’t an easy journey. This week, Baely unfolds the journey of the brand, as well as its founders, as consulting editor Mahima Sharma delves deep into the story of Sujata Biswas, Co-Founder of Suta, and her husband and investment manager, Siddharth Sivaramakrishnan
Roll Numbers Spring Romance
Sujata met Siddharth in 2007 at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Delhi. "We rather met because our initials and, thus, our roll numbers were close to each other," she chuckles, and he joins in, adding, "God's numbers perhaps!?"
Sujata goes on to share, “We were very good friends, we liked each other’s company.” Siddharth interrupts her while trying to control his laughter, “No, No, Mahima…” He continues, “101 boys and 17 girls in one course. So I didn’t stand a chance. You see?”. Sujata and I burst into laughter. Siddharth adds, “After we graduated, she got a job in Mumbai through campus placement, and she moved to my city, where I was already the local guy. I was born and raised in Bombay!” Siddharth, now pausing the giggle, “For the first year we met a lot, hunted for a house for her together, traveled, watched movies, and also realized that there were sparks between us.”
Sujata has a nostalgic smile with a hint of blush. “In 2011, we knew this was it. We were in love! When we told our parents, they were already prepared to welcome a love story at home. Within two months, our families spoke to each other, and by 2012 we were engaged.”
Siddharth goes on, “Post-wedding, it was just the two of us, but a sweet change was waiting for us just around the corner.” I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not a baby he is talking about; their son is still a toddler. So what happy change is Siddharth referring to?
Firstborn - Suta
Sujata recalls, “In 2013, when Siddharth and I got married, my sister Taniya and I started working on an idea which we today call Suta. The name comes from our initials. We call it ‘love’. The love ‘Su’ and ‘Ta' have for each other reflects in the brand name Suta. The whole thing, from the idea to the initial set-up and work, took birth at my home. Taniya joined in and came to stay with us at our home. It was the three of us in a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen house where our parents would also visit us. The entire house would be occupied with clothes, apparel and more. And still, what touched me the most was that Siddharth never complained about any of it. Not even once.”
Siddharth rolls his eyes in fun and shares, “Oh, where did I have the time to complain na? I even did the deliveries to the customers. On a serious note, it was our venture, kind of our kid. I had to be there. No, Mahima?”
Initial Days, Important Decisions
Siddharth went on to talk about their heart-warming journey. “Sujata quit her job because she had some ideas in mind and was more than happy to work towards them. She was also pursuing her PhD simultaneously, and I would dream of having a laid-back life in the plush bungalow of the Professor-wife someday. But life had other plans. It was her research guide who made her initially follow her passion. And I am so glad she chose to chase it.”
Sujata chuckles, “He might sound as if his bungalow dreams were shattered, but he is a very supportive partner. He helped me right from the stall setups to listening to my big plans and lending his shoulder when I needed.”
2016 The Game Changer Or Destiny Maker?
2016 came to the family as a certain game changer. Taniya got married to the love of her life. She moved out for a while post the wedding, and then Suta was officially launched. Now the challenge was to keep Suta going steadily, given the sisters were working apart.
Siddharth continues, “By 2018, we all knew that Suta needed the sisters to work and stay together. And hence, in the same year, all four of us decided to move in together.”
A Family Of Four: Sisters And Their Husbands Under One Roof
Sujata joyfully adds, “Taniya’s husband Aditya and Sid were like houses on fire from day one. They gelled so well. For outsiders, it was magical, but it came more naturally to us to live as a close-knit family. Moreover, all of our parents were really happy because this meant we had each other’s backs all the time, along with ample time to spend with them as well.”
The Cultural Fusion
Sujata goes on, “Sid is a Tamilian from Mumbai and Aditya is a Maharashtrian. Plus, all of us are foodies. So an open culture, mutual admiration for one another and food bonded us very closely. We have been raised like that, getting to learn from each other’s parents and cultures.”
In the middle of all laughter, Siddharth adds with a very serious expression, “You see, Mahima, Taniya is a great cook. So not just Taniya and Aditya, even the food was a blessing! (He laughs). After Taniya’s son’s birth in 2020, Taniya and her family are now our neighbors. We miss them, but we know they are right next door.”
Raising Ram, the Son
Sujata shares, "Pregnancy came as a surprise before a Bali trip, which got postponed! And we did this trip with Ram in 2022, you saw his pics right? Our kid loves to travel so much!"
As the doting mother peeps into the other room looking at Ram, I can’t help but adore this child who is getting a less-gadget-influenced upbringing, which is difficult these days. Despite the hectic schedule of the couple, they have made sure to guide their son in finding joy in nature and at home.
Siddharth adds here, "Our parents are a great support system, But Ram knows when mom is out or when Baba is out...how he has to be kind to his grandparents and siblings and our dog. He is quite sensitive that way, and rather than them looking after him, he also takes care of them at such a tender age. We have nurtured him along our life in such a way that he takes pride in his mom's venture! He also knows that his mother is working hard not just for him but also for the underprivileged who work with her to feed their kids."
Sujata adds that Siddharth and her hugging and kissing each other in front of their son demonstrates love as a pure emotion. “Above all, we have raised him as a no-fuss baby. We allow him to play with broken toys, bring him up in a way where he values the privileges he has.”
Sujata and Siddharth have not only taught little Ram empathy, but also respect for women, and the hard work of multi-tasking, that most working women do.
The Independently Together Couple
When I asked them, how are they so perfectly bonded? What about their share of conflicts and arguments?
Siddharth responds, "Yes, we do have our share of arguments. We learnt along the way that when arguments happen, one of us steps back. I learned from her to bring the conflict out, talk it out, and end it the same day; Do not sleep over it."
He turns to her smilingly, when she emphasizes, "Our arguments are actually not arguments or fights but rather disagreements, which we resolve before sleeping. The whole idea is to never compare ourselves with others. Let's go on in life as individuals."
But I am bound to ask, when their thoughts meet consensus, "How to keep the relationship alive when you both feel you are so similar?"
Sujata smiles, "We aren't clingy to each other. We have our own space, our own time to be alone and enjoy our solitude or with friends. We also spend genuine time with each other. Perhaps that mindful spending of time is also what makes us stand out despite similarities."
She looks over to Siddharth for his point of view, "She is right; when a couple isn’t clingy and they come back from work, they have lots to talk about with each other. I feel the communication helps us consistently be new individuals who are growing in each other's company. The space that you give to each other, is what helps you stay together for longer."
Their Story, Your Learnings
Sujata always asserts, "If a relationship is beautiful, it is because a lot of communication happens. Talk, talk it out, communication is a must. Conflicts happen less when communicating is free flowing."
Siddharth thinks for a while and shares his bit, "The personal space of the other spouse is very essential. Learn to give enough space to the other, by communicating small things and establishing trust, which in turn gives that space where you don't cling! It happens with time, but it happens more via communication! Daily communication..."
Their final joint take is: “For a relationship to flourish, one needs to practice self-love. If you love yourself and work on yourself, it becomes easier to take care of others. Sid and I both do that. We eat well, we work out and take time to meet our friends (not always together)”
Sujata says, "We have literally grown up together, and I wish to grow old with him." He backs her, saying, "I can't express why I wish to grow old with her and travel the world, but that's what I actually want to do!"
The opinions expressed within this interview are the personal opinions of the protagonist/protagonists. The facts & statistics, the work profile details of the protagonist/ protagonists do not reflect the views of Baely or the Journalist. Neither Baely nor the Journalist hold any responsibility or liability for the same.