At present, all that matters is what you bring to the table. Gender bias is definitely a thing of the past. If you are hard-working, sincere, and honest in your pursuits, nothing can stop you. If one does not set a limit or establish a boundary, it can lead to disastrous consequences. So you need to learn to say no, manage your time and detach yourself from work every once in a while so that you can have time to do things you actually love.
What inspired you to make a career in architecture and design?
As a child, I have always loved to design new things and develop ideas to tackle problems at hand in a unique and innovative manner. My love for all things related to art and creativity was passed down to me by my mother. She was the one who encouraged me to think outside the box and arrive at new solutions for the problems at hand. The major breakthrough in my career was due to having poor experiences when I and my better half, Abhishek, got the interiors of our home done. We were truly exasperated, but we did not let our awful experience turn into something bitter. This motivated us to start our own boutique design firm, and the rest is history.
How has your professional journey been so far, and what delights you the most about your career?
After having a bad experience with our home, it pushed us to take a leap of faith that led to our firm's inception, 'The KariGhars". Our mission was to have impeccable interiors and excellent customer service so that it was a seamless experience for the client. We laid the groundwork for "The KariGhars" with the mission of providing the clients with excellent customer service and stunning interiors. I personally believe that an impeccable part of the whole design process is the artisans, carpenters, and masons, all categorised under-skilled labour, i.e., 'The KariGhars'. Hence, taking in all their contributions, I coined the name that depicted proximity with the ethnic Indian roots. Even though Abhishek is the principal designer, I contribute towards the basic design ideology. There is a sheer and understated beauty about having to create an interior for someone since it would bring them peace and happiness, which is one of my favourite parts of this career.
What are the challenges you faced in the industry?
There are no textbooks that state how an interior design firm must be managed. The resources are limited as to how to juggle multiple high-end projects at a time. But the major challenge we have faced is a limited budget. The challenge is pretty easy to overcome, but it does need a lot of manpower and resources on the firm's end.
What strategies did you adopt to tide over the crisis in the last two years?
Residential design has constantly evolved during times of crisis, meeting the demands of the moment. Spending more time at home with family, working and learning remotely, being more mindful of the relationship between indoors and outdoors—all of these experiences have implications for how we changed the interior design of homes. We focussed on use, asking more often, "What three things can happen in this room...?" People need places where they can be together with family and places where they can be alone to reflect, learn, and recharge. We changed the way home offices were designed and brought automation into most of the home where people can talk to the delivery boy waiting at the doorstep from their workstation without the need for getting up, and of course, automated wifi with proper signal all across the home is something which we offered to every client of ours. We have strengthened our sales, marketing, and online presence to multiple folds so that we have a better pipeline built in the system.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
It has been seen that maintaining a work-life balance has been one of the foremost concerns people have when they deal with any issue. Once upon a time, it was true that the boundaries between work and home life were reasonably clear. However, since the pandemic, it has been observed that people are bringing work into their homes, and it is disrupting their lifestyles.
Any tips for women venturing in architecture/design?
The women I lead and work with see me as a confidante. They look up to me for inspiration and guidance in their personal and professional lives. Facing similar challenges and being a family-oriented woman, I can help them with their struggles so they can be successful in their personal and professional lives and bloom as women.
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
Every single client sees their home differently, and I love working with them on design elements and visual aesthetics to transform and beautify their interiors. I love being involved with them in design planning, colour patterns, fabric and furniture alignment, wall designs, and interior space lighting. Interior design must be beautiful and pleasing to the eyes. I love to help clients turn their home into something beautiful, and it warms my heart and makes me happy to see them excited at how their home looks. I love to make people happy that way, and it is a true blessing.