How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
As a young, fresh-out-of-school architect, academia was my prime interest. However, one must balance both practice and academia to create a presence in the industry, and since both require commitment and undivided attention, I could not work for another firm. So then came TS Design Works. It was a perfect setup where I could spend half the day teaching at the school and the other half could be devoted to my practice.
Throw some light on your business and its offerings/services.
At TS Design Works, the goal is to provide the client with the trust to sit back and relax and watch the show unfurl. This is why we provide turn key solutions that include consultation right from the conceptualisation stage to execution and handover. Our practice is diverse and spotlights on the cultural and realistic needs of the client, reflecting them into designs personalised for each client. The firm has extensive experience in residential and commercial designs, interiors, landscape, renovation and landmark restoration of old properties and bungalows.
How is it different from other companies?
What makes our company different than others is the attention and extent of customisation we do for each project. We are involved at each stage of design and execution and we don’t believe in providing mass solutions. Each project is very close to our heart and we consciously keep our projects limited in number so that we can deliver our best abiding by our principle of impressionable deliverable quality rather than mediocre quantitative executions.
How challenging is it for a woman to start/ or associate with any company? /Have you faced any unusual situations doing business in India as a female entrepreneur?
Gender disparity in our country is, to the great misfortune of it’s people, a well-established norm. So, any budding entrepreneur who happens to be a woman will indeed face certain challenges, and I did as well. Thankfully, this is only the case at the beginning of one’s career. As your firm grows, the initial hesitation of male partners and clients is completely wiped out by the professionalism, work ethics and quality of work that it has brewed over time. The greatest challenge faced by women is maintaining a healthy work – life balance. Indeed, a business requires commitment and attention during its initial establishment period, however, once you get past that hurdle a sustainable work-life relationship can be efficiently set up.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
The best part about being an entrepreneur is the ability to wake up each morning and set your own goals. The flexibility to design your own schedule, catering to your various responsibilities at your own pace is surely a boon to each entrepreneur out there. For example, I organize my outstation site visits on weekends, allowing ample time and dedication to my family throughout the week. And, of course, behind every successful woman is an understanding family, so without the support and encouragement provided by them in taking care of my children on days I was busy or in another city, the question of ‘where would I be?’ tends to float.
If you could describe yourself in a few words, what would they be?
The Devil lies in the details so call me his spawn. I happen to be, as I am often reminded by my colleagues and peers as extremely detail- oriented. The tiniest of issues are addressed in my designs and nothing escapes my eagle eyes! On a more serious note, I like to think that I am such a workaholic because I am truly passionate about my work. It is this passion that lights a fire in my heart and gives me motivation. I also feel that I am a sensitive designer, and this is reflected in my designs which caters to every need of a client, both spoken and unspoken.
If you could change anything in the Indian market, what it would be?
Indians, a beautiful race of diverse cultures and ethnicities, happen to lack the recognition and sensitivity towards design and architecture. Perhaps it is the important role that our close knit society plays and how the most value in the room is given to the people, leaving the design or ambience ignored. This is why when it comes to services, architecture is viewed as an intangible commodity. Hence, it’s value and importance remain indifferent to the people. This largely affects the industry. On a smaller scale, this ideology often affects the payment and many fine, well to do clients refuse to pay for the services they hired.
How are entrepreneurship and working women important for India?
Working women and women entrepreneurs are instrumental in driving India’s socio-economic development, promoting gender equality, and fostering a culture of innovation and inclusivity. Their contributions are essential for a prosperous and equitable future for the country.
Define a perfect business leader. What are the qualities you think a great leader possess?
It’s important to note that no leader is perfect, and different situations may call for different leadership qualities. However, leaders who possess a combination of certain qualities such as integrity, resilience, sensitivity and empathy with good communication skills can create a positive and productive work environment, driving their team and business towards success.
What is the road map of your organization?
Initially, our clientele was consciously limited to two states but as the years have gone by we have seen steady growth in both the scale of our projects as well as the clientele, moving to international level projects. As the years go by we hope to expand our presence in the industry and envision larger and more international scale projects in our horizon.
A brief description of the major awards won by your company.
We are grateful for having awards such as Debut Designer of the Year, Eminent Women Award and Best Teacher Award for Architectural Design in the State to our name alongside various awards for papers published.
What advice would you give to other businesswomen who want to thrive in a male-dominated industry and deal with the typical and stereotype people?
Remember, success in a male-dominated industry is not solely dependent on your gender but on your skills, knowledge, and determination. By staying true to yourself, continuously developing your skills, and leveraging your strengths, you can thrive and make a significant impact in your industry as well as navigate and challenge stereotypes, contributing to a more inclusive and equal business environment while forging your own path to success.