An Angel in MAPUSA Market
Hi Lovely! This is the story about my shopping experience in Goa, India Part 2. In order to put my experience into context for anyone reading, I’ve broken this post into three parts. In the first part I broke down my travel experience and how this trip came about. Read Part 1 here. This second part dives deeper into my shopping experience in Goa and the last part will showcase the South Asian fashion designs I purchased. I highly recommend reading all parts to get a full understanding! Also, if you haven’t done so, check out my About me page to learn more about this blog!
She saw the look of wonder and temerity in my eyes. I kid you not. She knew. She walked up to us and in broken English introduced herself as Angela.
Angela looked as though she was in her late 50’s, not tall but 5’4 in height. She wore a colorful red, gold and green saree with her black hair in a bun. She asked us what we were looking for and I spurted out the only two words I knew in Hindi: lehenga and dupatta.
In broken English, I explained to Angela we were looking for clothes to wear to my friend’s wedding and we had a limited amount of rupees to spend. Before we got to the market, I researched the cost of a Lehenga outfit and calculated I’d spend about 65 dollars an outfit or approximately 4,600 INR. (At the time 1 American dollar was equal to 69 Rupees (INR).
Angela nodded her head then guided us through the market. She walked us through alleyways from high-end shops to low end cart stalls to various sections of the market. Since she knew our price range, she talked with every shop owner to help us find our outfits. She waited for us at every shop, mainly me, as I tried on my outfits. And when I found out the outfit I liked had to be tailored to my body size, she guided us to the local tailor, told him about our situation and talked the price down for us. She helped us get the outfit tailored in 2 hours which was less than his usual next day turnaround service.
The Epiphany Moment
Within the 3 hour time span she spent helping us, I was thinking about how much we should pay for her time. Not once did she mention a price or suggest how much we should pay. She put our needs first until the very end when she led us to the last stall, the lone patch of concrete with no cover overhead. There was one woman neatly organizing scarves in rows on this lone patch of concrete.
And that’s when it clicked. I didn’t see another woman business owner selling clothes in the market until now.
Angela took us to many shops. Despite all the shops and stalls we went to, this was the only clothing stall owned by a woman. The high end shop owner who sold us two outfits was male. The shop where Anthony bought 3 well-made tunics was owned by a male shop owner. The tailor she took us to upstairs in the market was also male. Angela explained that this scarf stall was owned be her and her friend.
It seemed there weren’t many opportunities for women business owners in this market, let alone women business owners selling clothing. It was easier for Angela to build relationships with male clothing store owners with clothes that sold for higher price tags and assist tourists with finding what they needed, than sit and wait for customers to find her stall.
My Moment of Truth and Humility
Again, not once did she bring up the price of our arrangement until we got to her stall. By then she had seen how much we were willing to spend on clothes by taking us to the surrounding stalls. And as much as I would like to say I did the right thing in this moment, I can’t. In the frenzied moment of being in the market, with my sense of wonder depleted and trust gone, I knew what was taking place. I knew her motive then and I felt like I was going to pay for something I didn’t have a need for or pay more for it because of the service she provided. Anthony spoke up for me in that moment and did the right thing. He bought a beautiful yellow scarf on my behalf and paid more than what she asked for.
Looking back, I understand that this was her business. Building genuine trust and relationships with people to guide them to items they’re looking for is her business.
This is more than a story of buying a scarf and an outfit to wear to a wedding. And it’s more than just my story to share, this is Angela’s story too. A story of a business woman who understands the needs of her customers, whether foreign or domestic. It was the clothes that brought us together. She wasn’t the person making the clothes nor was she the person selling the high end outfits. She just knew what I was looking for and where to find it. Maybe she’s Goa’s version of a stylist.
If it weren’t for Angela, Anthony and I would never have found what we were looking for so quickly.
…to be continued. Stay tuned for Part 3 next week.
Hey Love! Thanks for landing on this site. Hope you enjoyed this post! In keeping with the spirit of HMB’s motto: Learn, Share & Do here’s the first of many downloadable games you can play at home with friends. It’s the fashion game you never knew you needed. Click below to try it out! 💖👠