When we spoke with the Founder and CEO of Dhana Inc. in an attempt to discover more about her path as a leader and her brand, we were left electrified. Shamini Dhana is a trailblazer in her field, with a thriving business that allows customers to connect with humanity and the environment through fashion.
Shamini sees every difficulty as an opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute in whatever way she can. She is a role model for everyone, especially women of color and minorities. It takes much courage to establish a business in a white-dominated and a male-dominated culture and succeed. What an impressive lady!
Shamini shared with us many of her wonderful thoughts, one of which is:
“Every day, we place a piece of clothing on ourselves that has the power to connect us to people and the planet.”
Shamini on an Expedition as a Leader
When talking about Shamini Dhana’s professional journey, we realized she had been a trailblazer. As a pioneer and thought leader in the various senior and executive positions and industries, Shamini has taken on for the past thirty years. From organizing the first non-profit conference on Climate Change after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 in Sacramento; to developing a defense downsizing strategic plan for the military bases and impacted communities to set up a trade and investment office in Singapore for the State of California.
Throughout her professional journey, Shamini has been cognizant of the impact business has on people and the planet and looked through the lens in a holistic, collaborative, and synergistic way. The need to look at business and commerce to `empower each other, to highlight the interdependence on all living systems and the impact on the collective action – has been a constant interest and mission of hers.
Shamini believes, “What happens to the one affects us all. Our choices do matter, and the mediums we use to make these choices are as important.”
A Journey Beset by Setbacks and Conflicts
The challenges that Shamini faced during her journey as an entrepreneur include discrimination as a woman, a person of color, and the preconceived ideas regarding race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, and place of origin. Additionally, the ability to speak up and share your opinion without judgment from others has been a classic challenge for women of minority backgrounds across industries.
Coupled with that, it is evident that the class structure for women is different from men when it comes to paying structure, promotion, visibility, access to capital, admiration for athletics, parenting, working mothers, female entrepreneurs, and thought leadership.
Making a Big Splash in the Fashion Industry
The recent launch of Dhana Inc.’s creative fashion platform D/Sphere, has given new meaning to the collective impact of customers in the world of fashion. Through digital designs, customers can:
- Unleash their creativity; reimagine how their memories and experiences in life can be captured through the clothing we wear – an association we rarely see as a connection and the ability to “wear your memories.”
- Co-Create with a fashion brand and other stakeholders – this is new territory and where collaboration takes on a whole new level
- Storytelling through the medium of fashion is a new tool for people to use fashion and associate their memories, experiences, and impact with digital fashion and share mutual memories.
- Become their fashion brand, climate leader, and social influencer – all through digital fashion designs
- Understand their environmental impact – by repurposing their clothing, they get to realize the savings on water, carbon, and energy, reduce textile waste and eliminate the chemical processing
- Connect with the garment worker – and pay it forward by sharing gratitude and words of appreciation. This type of transparency is worth the investment as customers have long demanded the need to know #whomademyclothes.
Dhana Inc. And Its Pillars of Support
Dhana means “offering,” which is to offer a new way of connecting, storytelling, and impacting, with the vision of “Uniting Humanity Through Fashion,”; the mission of “connecting people with the planet through the medium of fashion,” and finally the company’s tag line is “We’re Wearin’ the World.”
This is truly the ethos of Dhana, a value system that instills a culture that reflects: COMMITMENT to honor all the people along the way behind its clothes.
CELEBRATE the natural resources and environment that enable its designs, styles, and collection.
COMMUNICATE how it does business through transparency and accountability. COMPASSION for all life on earth and in being a force for good
CONSCIOUS behavior to ensure that its actions positively impact people and the planet.
Since 2008, the Dhana team has instilled this ethos and value system as part of its culture; paid it forward through its work, its products, and services; certified as a B Corp for the third time; launched its new digital platform and its contribution to society and planet by supporting the SDGs.
Encouraging Workplace Flexibility
Dhana Inc. is a world-class team of committed individuals who believe that their work is of service to humanity and has a positive social and environmental impact. They are a global team living in an era where the flexibility of time, non-geographical boundaries, open-mindedness, and a heart-centric culture are critical to their work and offers.
As it relates to workforce flexibility, they have built trust and the need for transparency in their work and collaborative efforts. “I have always instilled through our core value system that ownership of work is key to finding joy; plus, the need for respect, kindness, and a celebration of each person’s efforts is critical to the overall goal,” adds Shamini.
The Significance of Technology
Technology is key to enhancing a customer experience, productivity, data gathering, and analysis, tackling the social and environmental challenges we face today, and providing solutions to current issues plaguing the world.
In an attempt to address technology’s importance, Shamini shares her thoughts: Technology is an enabler, and we are looking at developing circular fashion technology to provide a much-needed solution to tackling global textile waste, pollution, climate change, transparency, and accountability, honoring people and planet and celebrating creativity. Lastly, technology paves the way for collaboration and cross-industry work to develop new solutions, products, and services for the betterment of society and our ecosystems.”
Preparing for the Next Big Shift in the Sustainable Fashion Industry, Shamini believes that the next significant milestones in the sustainable fashion industry are:
- Transparency of supply chains, including materials used, processes adopted, worker contribution, and ownership.
- Mapping the life journey of a finished piece of garment till the end of life.
- Social and environmental impact measurement for all stakeholders in the fashion world.
- Material innovation in fashion.
- Adoption, accessibility, and awareness of the virtual world in conjunction with the metaverse to give creative license to a new generation of digital natives embracing fashion at the intersection of a physical-hybrid-virtual store.
Dhana Inc. is currently developing ongoing technology in the field of creative expression through fashion plus collaborating with partners to bring forth such a level playing field for the future of fashion.
Aim for the Future
Dhana Inc. is looking to offer its new creative technology, D/Sphere, to fashion brands, companies, and retailers to engage with customers and clients. It seeks to amplify the voices of garment workers and artisans worldwide to share their fashion stories inspired by their ancestors, culture, and natural beauty.
A Guiding Light
When we asked her to share a piece of advice for aspiring leaders, Shamini said, “Witness yourself react to things, incidents, and viewpoints. Pay attention to where you find true joy from the heart. Know what your creative outlet is in life (it could be multiple) and what and why you like to support things, people, mediums, organizations, and causes. Get to know yourself well and notice your own needs changing and your mindset transforming. This is important as it will drive you towards your calling in life, which will fuel the energy, passion, and inspiration required to share your unique gifts with the world.
“The world needs you, and you are a powerful change agent to bring about transformation in the world of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) with your unique talents and gifts. Reach out, seek collaboration, and surround yourself with people that inspire and champion you, align with your values, and truly appreciate your worth and contribution. Stand up and speak out for what you believe in and ultimately realize that what you are here to do is part of the bigger ecosystem in life and that we are all connected.”
“Every day, we place a piece of clothing on ourselves that has the power to connect us to people and the planet. Remember the places, people, and purpose with every piece of clothing you wear as there is a story to be told – and when it’s time to let go of the clothing, reflect on how you would like to recreate your clothing into something new and at the same time preserve your fashion stories associated with your life’s journey.”