November 2012

Marin Scope: Sudha Sale Sustains – Benefits Bread & Roses

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Sudha Sale Sustains

Sudha Sale sustains

Sudha Sale Sustains

Precious stones: Susan Spielman (left) and Aimee Brown alongside Pennathur, wearing some of her finest jewelry. Brown is wearing Pennathur’s “coffee bean” diamond necklace. The necklace is made of thousands of black diamonds and costs upwards of $30,000. Gregory Andersen/Marinscope.

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:46 pm | Updated: 3:27 pm, Wed Nov 14, 2012.

By Gregory Andersen | 0 comments

World-renowned entrepreneur and designer Sudha Pennathur’s keen eye for fashion may only be exceeded by her genuine, heart-warming personality. For Pennathur, the purpose of her product line is neither for profits nor fame. It’s sustainability.

Each year, the Indian-born businesswoman-turned-fashionista returns to her native country to work with an elite group of craftspeople who assist in inspiring and designing her products. Upon returning to the U.S., she sells the crafts and reinvests much of the profits back into the lives of the Indian craftspeople.

Pennathur said her charitable donations embody the thought behind both her fashion line and her business approach.

“I think I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for my community,” Pennathur said. “It’s an unbeatable combination – East meets West. Ultimately, it’s just one large world we live in, and we need to benefit each other in everything we do.”

Pennathur grew up in India, attending school in New Delhi and college in Bombay. She moved to the U.S. and earned her master’s degree in business at the University of Washington before beginning a career at Levi Strauss.

After working her way up through the business side of the fashion world, Pennathur left Levi Strauss and returned to India.

“I wanted to see what I could do from India in terms of artisans,” Pennathur said.

Each year, India selects 10 awardees who have excelled in their respective crafts, be it silversmithing, textile weaving or embroidering. Pennathur began working with these national-award winners, selling their creations to high-end retail stores, museums and household consumers.

Part of the money she reinvests into the Indian craftspeople is for education. The children of the craftspeople are now able to afford schooling and are able to expand their families’ business. According to Pennathur, she is currently working with the third generation of artisans.

But the beneficiaries of Pennathur’s generosity are not limited to India.

For the past nine years, Pennathur has hosted her annual Sudha Sale to benefit Bread & Roses, a Marin County charity. She has also worked with The Redwoods and other Marin organizations.

This year, the Sudha Sale has set up shop at the Town Center Corte Madera to benefit Bread & Roses and Angel Island Conservancy, a group dedicated to revitalizing Angel Island State Park.

Last weekend, the first of the Sudha Sale’s two scheduled weekends, Marin residents flocked to get a glimpse of Pennathur’s latest fashions. This year’s sale features a special selection of holiday décor for Christmas and Hanukkah.

The Sudha Sale will be open for the second straight weekend, beginning Nov. 17. Hours are Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information on the Sudha Sale, visit

Contact Gregory Andersen at

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Sudha Treasures Benefit Sale opens November 9th in the Town Center

As evening settled over the Corte Madera Town Center, the Ninth Annual “Sudha Sale” got off to a fine start on Friday, November 9 with crowds of expectant shoppers entering a world of Sudha Pennathur’s imagination.   The old Ann Taylor store had been re-imagined as a colorful, jewel-toned gallery selling artisanal goods from India and the Far East, all designed by Sudha and crafted by her team of hundreds of artisans.   Playful kantha scarves held their own; finely-woven pashminas and gem-encrusted necklaces contrasted with costume pieces; colorful skirts and jackets anchored one side of the room while whimsical bags, holiday ornaments, and decorative items highlighted the other.   A buffet of pizza, ceviche, brownies and drinks kept energy high as shoppers took in the scene.

The highlight of all, of course,  was the fact that all profits from the sale of these goods would benefit Bread and Roses and Angel Island Conservancy, two local non-profits supported wholeheartedly by Sudha for many years.   With the room full and buzzing, Doug McConnell  introduced Sudha in a short talk that underscored her great commitment to her community over the years and the grace with which she manages it all.    Sudha followed, to speak of her long appreciation for Bread and Roses and the remarkable work it does all year and and for the historic and natural significance of Angel Island  She also thanked the dedicated volunteers and staff from both organizations who had helped set up the sale and are critical, day in and day out, to the continued success of these groups.

 Photos courtesy Jon D’Alessio & Jim Prigoff

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