We had the good fortune of connecting with Zoya Tejani Dhanani and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zoya, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve always appreciated the arts — not just because my family has always been professionally and personally involved, but also through my experiences traveling from a young age. India especially left an impact on me since I visited almost every year since I was a kid. It made me appreciate beauty in unconventional spaces and exploring the markets opened up my eyes to a new realm. After working a traditional 9-5 job for many years, my soul was craving a stronger creative outlet. The timing aligned to join my family’s business in the fashion industry and help them grow, while also fulfilling my desire for more hands-on creative work.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We are a family business specializing in bringing Indian and Indo-Western wear to the U.S. I’m incredibly proud of being part of this venture that my mom started almost 30 years ago. It motivates me and is that much more fulfilling to work with my family and support each other in various creative professions that fall under our umbrella. We’re always pushing each other to grow and try new things. It feels really good to step into a strong foundation that they’ve laid and help grow it even further. I love that we cater to all types of fashion styles, body types, and can custom design anything to bring our clients’ dreams to life.

It has definitely been a journey for me to get to where I am now. Being a child of immigrant parents in the U.S., they encouraged me to pursue a professional career that would provide stability and consistency. As I got older, I felt that I was missing a creative outlet in my life and wasn’t fulfilled in my profession as a dental hygienist. It was a natural craving and transition for me to join this business and the fashion industry at large.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout this process is to stay focussed on my end-goals, regardless of what obstacles get thrown my way. It’s hard not to get caught up in what other brands are doing and my competitive side has definitely come out. But I’ve learned to focus on the big picture and that I can only control what’s in front of me; everything else finds a way to fall into place.

I hope the world sees how hard my family and our brand works to bring our clients’ visions to life. Everyone has such unique tastes and definitions of what they feel most confident and comfortable in, and we always strive to incorporate those aspects into each and every custom design we make. It’s so important to us to bring our clients’ personalities to life through the clothes we design for them and the most rewarding thing is seeing our clients feel like their best selves in our final product.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many amazing places in Houston, but something I love exposing visitors and close friends to are popups around town. It’s so important to me to support other small businesses and expose my network to that side of Houston too. One such place is the Heights Railway Market, which has tons of great local food, clothing, and jewelry vendors. I, of course, also have to take everyone to my favorite Indian restaurant — Aga’s. They have a huge menu and do everything so well; it’s a great way to share my culture with others.

Outside of dining, I love exploring Memorial Park, especially the Eastern Glades area of it. It’s a beautiful outdoor space with a melting pot of people, which is so representative of the city of Houston itself. I take my dog, Bella, there a lot, and love going on picnics or checking out what food trucks are parked nearby.

Lastly, I love to take people to the Museum District. We are so lucky to have such a strong museum culture here, especially for the arts. It’s a great way to catch up with friends and immerse myself in exhibits that come through this city.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have received incredible support from my entire family throughout my life, and especially when I decided I wanted to pursue a more creative career path. Everyone in my family has been in a creative field at some point, so having their encouragement was immensely impactful to my transition. Growing up, I was always loosely connected to the brand. I remember modeling new styles and silhouettes they were experimenting with Almas Tejani Desi Couture. They took a risk and pushed the envelope with Indo-Western fusion designs, and it was really amazing to be a part of that. In the past year, they have welcomed me with open arms and we’ve all been able to work closely together to support each other’s dreams. As a family business, having that dynamic is a dream and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Website: https://www.almastejani.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/almastejani?utm_medium=copy_link

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/almastejanicouture/

Image Credits
Tasnia Charlie Ewing Mariana Lozano

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.