Sheer Force of Will Power: A Turbo Networker’s Journey into Interior Design
A successful business woman in India will be told many things about her success. “It will be very difficult to sustain” is one of them. Pallavi Sekhar too received this unsolicited advice. Not once, but many a time. But, each time, Pallavi’s heart whispered only one thing: “I am not a quitter!” Pallavi is the Founder and Principal Architect of interior design studio InterSkapez, which was established in 2014. She is a supermom, an excellent home maker, an actor, a dubbing artist, and has produced a short film too. In this tete-a-tete with HerMoneyTalks, Pallavi laid bare her heart’s whispers and her entrepreneurial journey.
Built on a strong foundation of will power, InterSkapez today has reached unseen heights. It has bagged an award as one of the Top 12 interior designer firms in India chosen by International Magazine in 2020. An International jury panel chose InterSkapez out of 500+ design entries.
Pallavi has also won the Business Excellence Award from Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs (COWE) and the Women Business Tycoon 2017 award from MSME and ASSOCHAM from Government of Karnataka. Today, she is the President of COWE Karnataka and her firm is recognized by Gurunanak University, Delhi as the top 150th women owned company.
So, how did this whole journey start? The answers may intrigue you.
Straining against the elements
Born in an orthodox family, Pallavi grew up alongside four brothers among the typical family restrictions reserved for girl children. She never had an idea about work culture as a child. Yet, she always had that spark to become an entrepreneur since her childhood days.
From 2007 to 2010 my craving to become a successful business woman in India became very strong, while working with an MNC in Bangalore.
Pallavi enrolled herself in an architecture course after initially struggling to convince her parents. After her studies, her parents proposed that she get married first, before charting her career. Pallavi, being Pallavi, moved to Bangalore with a firm passion to excel in her profession.
“From 2007 to 2010 my craving to become a successful business woman in India became very strong, while working with an MNC in Bangalore,” exudes Pallavi. She started her entrepreneurial career as a partnership firm by teaming up with her friend. Here, she imbibed ideas and potential approaches towards business to ensure stability.
Strength in numbers, depth in willpower
”Since my network was very poor, I joined BNI (Business Network International) and started building contacts. I gained tremendous ‘business gyan’,” laughs Pallavi.
With the urge to become a successful business woman in India giving her sleepless nights, Pallavi acted. She ended her partnership journey and established a 400-square-feet beautiful office named InterSkapez with 60k of her savings.
“The day I opened my office, one miracle happened. My old friend called me and approached for a project. Exactly 5 days after that, I got my first cheque for 3 lakhs,” exults Pallavi. There have been no turning back from then, and with her knowledge and design skills she became a trend setter soon.
The day I opened my office, one miracle happened. My old friend called me and approached for a project. Exactly 5 days after that, I got my first cheque for 3 lakhs!
Pallavi continued building her contacts base and ratcheted up 10,000 connects within a period of 3 years. Even as she was busy networking, she expertly handled her business operations. Her strong will power inspired her to efficiently manage her official duties and give the best service to her clients.
Positivity cemented with compassion
“Being a woman architect, I faced a lot of negative thoughts from society around me. Even my own people started pulling my leg, citing the challenges and struggles of a single woman in business” shares Pallavi, albeit ruefully. These negative comments in turn fired her determination to become a successful business woman in India.
The wonderful moral support from her husband accelerated Pallavi’s entrepreneurial journey and motivated her to live her dream. She also opines that since women are good in micro management, handling of finances becomes an easier task.
Pallavi’s foundational tips for a skyscraper of a career:
(1) Work hard for the first three years
(2) Do your all for getting projects
(3) Aim for greater productivity
Today, Pallavi Sekhar is an indispensable pillar of InterSkapez. This wonder woman has also ventured into several other parallels, like Learn Skapes (design school), Furniskapez (smart furniture designing team), and Creativeskapez (personalized home décor). Her firm grew from 400 sq.ft to 2400 sq.ft with a team of 15 active creators. Pallavi’s biggest dream is to build a 50-people team to enhance their customer services.
Pallavi has adopted more than 10 children in her hometown and works wholeheartedly for the betterment of women. Her fond dream is to adopt 100 girls and equip them with confidence by providing quality education.
Pallavi leaves us with this simple but solid advice to beginners: “Be passionate and just focus on your achievements.”
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