Sundressan Permal – Following his dad’s footsteps

Sundressan Permal at his shop. Picture: VILIAME RAVAI

Sewing has long been viewed as a woman’s job. But like his father Sundressan Permal is among the handful of men who have made names for themselves in tailoring.

The 56-year-old Suva tailor got involved not by choice but out of necessity to keep his father’s memory alive.

His father started a tailoring business in Flagstaff, Suva, some 50 years ago.

“I was working at Dominion Apparel when my father died so I resigned and came back to run the business,” Permal said.

The company was previously called Permal Tailor, a well-known tailoring shop in the Capital City.

“Now, I’ve changed it to Evergreen Garments, and I have a few women working for me sewing all types of clothes ordered by other clothing stores in town.”

The former Vunimono High School student came from a family of nine siblings and grew up at Vunimono in Nausori where his mother owned a piece of land.

“I left school in Year 10 because I had to help mum and dad. I had to plant rice and cassava for the family.

“Now I’m staying with my sister and brother-in-law in Samabula while my other brother is looking after our family house in Vunimono.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic life grew tough and Permal had to shift from a building in Toorak where his business was based to a space at Raojibhai Patel St.

He said after the first wave, business was stunted so he had to be smart. He reduced some of his expenses in order to stay afloat.

“My dad started with only four machines, now I have 15.”

“I have to maintain all the ladies working here because they’ve got experience and it’s easy to talk to them about deadlines and what needs to be done.”

Permal places emphasis on proper planning and sharing ideas with others and that’s where his sister comes in.

“That is why my sister is always there helping me run our family business and keep doing what we have learnt from our father.

“I’m not ready yet to get married because my dream is big and I want to reach another level in business and make my family proud.”

Permal considers himself a humble and down-to-earth person easy to do business with.

“My advice to people is always make other people happy and try to help them when they’re in need.”

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