Designer Dui Cameron on Noosa's Boom Shankar in lockdown in India.
Designer Dui Cameron on Noosa's Boom Shankar in lockdown in India.

Out of India lockdown: Back to business in Noosa

NOOSA designer Dui Cameron feels like she has a new lease on life after finally freeing herself from a two-month COVID-19 lockdown in India.

“It was at times unsettling but I was fortunate to be in a place that really is my second home,” Ms Cameron said.

She was over at residence in Pushkar, Rajasthan and looking forward to the opening of Boom Shankar’s new flagship store in Hastings St, Noosa, when the world closed down around her due to the pandemic.

“Daily contact with my family, friends and the Boom team in Australia kept me sane, and I received incredible support from friends in India – with respect to supplies and food – and plenty of chai,” Ms Cameron said.

“Our factory partners ensured staff wages were paid during lockdown along with additional funds to help with rent.

“We also arranged food deliveries for all our stitching teams during lockdown – as they were also essentially confined to their homes”

She said getting a seat on a flight back to Australia was no easy task.

“There were very limited flights and more people wanting tickets than were available, so it really was a waiting game,” Ms Cameron said.

“I can’t describe my relief when Qantas came to the rescue – with their first ever flights to India.

“It was a really emotional experience for me – relief, gratitude and sheer exhaustion.”

Her patience was further tested by two weeks in isolation in a Sydney hotel before making it home to Peregian Beach late last month.

Now Ms Cameron is looking forward to what she describes as an exciting chapter for the local brand with her new store and continuing to build her online presence as the pandemic restrictions ease.

“I’m so grateful to my team for handling the fit-out, opening and of course appropriate safety measures,” she said.

“The timing could have been better, but we’re very proud of what is a big step for the label, and the words of support we’ve received from our loyal followers has been overwhelming.

“Our online sales are rolling along well – and customer feedback tells us it’s because our clothes are of course fun, but also built for comfort. And with so many of us working from home, comfort is key,” she said.

Ms Cameron said there were still challenges to overcome with delays in production due to her fabric printing factory remaining closed due to the pandemic.

“There’s no point in stressing as the health and safety of our Indian team is paramount,” she said.

“It’s no easy road for any of us in fashion and retail at this time, but we must remain positive and finetune our operations to meet the new norm”, Ms Cameron said.