Dui Cameron is the designer and driving force behind Boom Shankar, a prominent Australian fashion label that now includes a flagship showroom at Noosaville, and distribution to more than 200 stockists throughout Australia.
Boom Shankar’s first pieces were born out of Dui’s time spent in India., where she began sourcing second-hand wedding saris, transforming then into one-off pieces she sold at Anjuna flea markets in Goa. Inspired by her success (and homesickness after 5 years on the road) Dui returned to Australia. Using Indian fabrics, re-imagined and sewn on the Sunshine Coast, she set up a small stall at Eumundi Markets.
“Making women feel good about themselves was the main driver in starting Boom! I wanted to allow and inspire women to wear colour – colour has an energy and just sparks when you wear it. Boom makes people smile and that’s so important! It’s amazing what colour can do – it’s a happy thing!”
What is the vision for your Boom Shankar?
The business for me really is a tool to be able to create and do things I love! It also allows me to give back. Charity work is so important to me and Boom allows me to be able to do this. There is enough money to go around for the whole world so it’s vital to be able to give back.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
To be very very honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything is meant to be the way it’s meant to be.
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
My business has evolved and naturally grown over a long period of time. It’s really just happened. I am much more of a creative soul than a business soul. Boom has really grown through having a group of amazing people who have helped and pushed it along the way. It was never my aim to have a big business; it’s just gone that way.
Was your entrepreneurial journey linked to your personal one?
Yes I guess it was. Initially, it was all about being able to make money to keep travelling so I could live my personal journey. I love travelling. I love the feeling of freedom but still being part of families and communities in different parts of the world.
Initially, what difficulties did you face?
I think the difficulties I faced when I first started Boom was learning about the processes. For example, the quality control and exporting goods across different countries. I work with small, family run businesses which also made it hard in the beginning as we needed to grow and learn in business together. These businesses became family to me.
I also found it difficult when things went wrong with the factories, I felt so close to them and it was often hard to deal with on a business level. The connection I have with the factories I love, they are my family on every level and it’s beautiful. Every factory that we work for is so proud to manufacture for Boom which is something I am very proud of.
Who or what was integral to you overcoming these hurdles?
Patience! Patience is beautiful thing I learnt in India. India is an amazing country but they work on Indian time – anyone who has been to India will understand. Learning how to deal with it and also learning to let go and let things happen naturally is key. You need time when creating so being on Indian time helps! I love to create in India – when I am in this space it makes me slow down so much more than when I am in the studio in Australia. I feel I can draw so much creativity from India. The imagination is mind-blowing.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I have absolutely no idea! All I can say is just be yourself. It doesn’t matter, if you have a big heart and you can be caring, genuine and considerate of other people that’s key! It’s important to give as much as you take.
Find the balance. Finding the energy of balance has really helped me to enable the business to grow.
Lastly, I would say, step out on a limb and take a risk. Try things that are a little bit different. Keep playing and having fun – sometimes you will fail and sometimes you will succeed. Find who you are.
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
I look up to people who are making changes and creating a difference in the world with their business. People that are doing and making their mark. The people I look up to mostly are the people who give back! Everyone I work with I love! I approach everyone with an open heart, it doesn’t matter your role, we are all humans and all equal – I don’t look at anyone as higher or lower – that’s a big one for me! You must connect with the people you work with. I am inspired by everything around me.
How have you personally measured your success?
I don’t really think about it too much, it just seems to keep rolling and I feel incredibly grateful about where it’s at right now. I measure my success in ways where I am truly grateful for everyone who has been involved over the years. Without every single person who has been involved, past and present, Boom wouldn’t be what it is today. It’s really a team effort and with a great team behind you anything is possible.
When you think of your journey, what is the thing you are most proud of?
Definitely when I think of my journey it’s what we’ve been able to give back. It’s all about being able to help people. In all senses – the charity work, the schools, the sinking boars, the orphanages but also personally too. Being able to help employees and people who work in the factories brings me great joy, it’s just so important to me and my business. It’s amazing the things you can do, it doesn’t take a lot to be able to help somebody.
Together we can change the world and in this business it’s incredible what we’ve been able to achieve with all that love. I don’t need to be a millionaire – although if I was one, I would find no more joy than in giving a lot of it away – that would be a great thing!
How many hours do you work a day on average?
I am religious about having Saturdays and Sundays off in Australia, I think it’s very important to have a break. I am a mum; I work from 5am – 9.30 at night, doing everything – looking after kids, feeding animals, going to work. I sleep well every night for sure! And I always need a good coffee in the morning! Some days I work longer hours, with the time difference in India I am often working into the night, although to be truthful, there is often a lot of chitter chatter in this time with my Indian family too – it’s not all work!
What motivates you?
Colour! And what I believe colour can do. What it creates and the change it can make when someone wears it! It holds a lot of energy, it makes people smile! It’s my happiness!
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
Definitely my crew at Boom, my crew at Ebb and Flow, my Mum, Sister, besties and my Indian family. I am surrounded by amazing women which is bloody amazing! I feel so blessed!
You can connect with Boom Shankar on Instagram @boomshankarclothing