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Lavanya Bahuguna

Blogger-in-Chief

Shweta Saxena on chasing success as an Interior Designer

  • JWB Post
  •  April 1, 2015

Let’s talk business. Starting up your own business is not an easy task. Women like Shweta Saxena think the same. ‘But it’s definitely not impossible’, remarks the lady in her late 20s. This Jaipur based Interior Designer has set up her own flourishing work after few (big) blunders. Read her story, may be you can learn a thing or two from her mistakes:

The beginning.

I always wanted to be a dancer/choreographer. And then I was preparing for CA exams. Basically I was confused…like any other teenager. I even remember sitting alone in my room one day, all confused and feeling low about my career prospects, when my extended family of about 15 members came to soothe me.

The opportunity.

I won the best dancer award in Rajasthan during an event and received many scholarships from various colleges and institutes. One of them was the Arch Academy’s Interior Designing course. My mother pushed me to take that up knowing I have a knack of creativity. All that was mystic.

Step 1.

I was 20 and energetic. I grabbed a job at Mahima Group along with taking up few dance classes to keep following my passion. There was this one couple whom I was teaching salsa, and they asked me if I knew any interior designer. My eyes screamed – ‘Me. Me.’ and that was the best commencement my career as an Interior Designer could get.

They had constructed a big home for their joint family. I got to design everything from their master bedrooms to the kids’ rooms & even the office area, depending on each individual’s taste. Their home became my canvas where I designed everything from the scratch. My uncle, who is also in the same business, helped me with technicalities I wasn’t aware of like electric boards, etc.

1st failure.

Ah, it was the 1st big project that I had grabbed back in 2008. I had to design the BPO of Lufthansa Airlines, and I was supposed to send them the final quotation of the total expense required. I forgot to attach the final page of bills in the copy and received very less amount from them. That would be too unprofessional to ask for reconsideration and so, I fell into huge debts. That continued for 2 yrs when again, I did the same mistake with another client. Phew, that period was the most difficult and challenging time! I remember being afraid of going out of my house and meeting some laborer or vendor whom I was supposed to pay.

Learning.

Today I am super-awesome in paperwork, thanks to all the blunders I had done in the past. Now I read everything at least 10 times before signing or forwarding anything to the clients.

Financial Independence.

It is VERY important. I started earning before I was 20 and therefore, I understand the importance of independence. Money issues have not only satisfied me, but have also made others trust my capabilities. I was not the kind who would depend on the family for my shopping and travel expenses – and today, I am not the kind who will wait for the husband to pay all the house-bills.

Support system.

My family is my support system. But most importantly, I will give the credit to the men in my life – be it my uncle or my husband. My family and husband never question my caliber or stop me from experimenting. I know they have my back.

Mission.

I am very much inspired by Zaha Hadid, the 1st Arabic woman architect who received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. When she can, why can’t I, and why can’t other women of my city?

Stereotypes in this field.

There aren’t any if you are commanding enough to control your environment, and are sure of your actions. I’ve never given any client or laborer the right to treat me less than anyone else. Also, I know when to say a ‘No’.

One vice.

My mother always told me: ‘The best man to do a job is a woman’. I follow this advice with all my heart.

Photo Credit: Shashank K. Tyagi

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