How Astha Khetan merged her professional background with love for handicrafts. – The House Of Things.
3 April 2017
“Being born and brought up in Udaipur, I feel it is my belongingness. My parents reside here. I’m married here and now have my own little family residing in Udaipur itself. I acquired my schooling from St. Marys School and later pursued Marketing and graduated from the University of Leicester, UK. Since childhood, I fascinated the rich culture and tradition of Udaipur. The palaces and the richness of structures were something that I adored. Growing up in Udaipur gave me the happiest memories which will be cherished till my last breath.
My father being an hotelier and my mother is a homemaker. I suppose I gained the entrepreneurship bug from him.
After graduation, I served my services at a London-based digital media agency. Then returned to India and worked at Unilever, managing the company’s special projects. I enjoyed working there and received huge exposure. However, I always wanted to start a venture of my own. I desired to come back to my hometown Udaipur.
And then the decision of merging my professional background with my spirited love for handcraft, my penchant for travel and my direct access to the artistic treasures of India’s most luxurious city, resulted in ‘The House Of Things’. I aimed at creating a space for interaction between design talents and discerning lifestyle customers.
It was the life changing moment for me was when my idea of such a venture turned to reality. For an entrepreneur, there comes a moment when you wonder if your idea will really see the light of day. People discourage you sometimes; saying that quitting the corporate world to become an entrepreneur is a huge risk and not worth it. So when the website was launched, it felt a bit surreal; like my dream had finally come true.
Talking about my venture, THOT is an online destination to discover and shop luxury interiors online. The business values the notion of individuality and pushes to cultivate an appreciation for finer tastes and facilitate access to a plethora of unique finds spanning varied categories and tastes. With this website, we hope to transform the tradition of taste making in a virtual world. There is a gaping hole in the luxury furniture and decor market in India especially, and we found ourselves taken with the very idea of fulfilling such a promise.
On our initial stage, of course, we faced many hurdles and obstacles. The foremost challenge was forming a team that could bring my dream venture to reality. We were in need of people who were business-minded and who were equally passionate about what we were doing to get stable and earn considerable profits. Thankfully, we made a great team after a huge hard work and conquered our first challenge.
Our future seems to be quite bright and promising with the growing confidence in buyers to shop online. In line with our future plans, we are launching the next version of our website for THOT by May 2017. Our endeavor has always been to understand our target audience needs and offer an appropriate experience and that’s exactly where we see ourselves growing. When people appreciate your work, you feel your efforts are all worthwhile.
I manage the House of Things website, oversee company operations, attend shoots and interviews, and deal with client meetings as well. I also oversee the operations at a school that I founded called Crossroads Pre-School and Enrichment Centre. I start my day at 7 in the morning and I get straight into my workout regimen keeping my focus on weight training and cardio for now. My son, Iraj is my foremost priority and I see to it that I do spend a quality time with him. I get him ready for school on time and then I have some time wherein I can plan my day and make a list of things to do, making my work easier. Being a family oriented person, I spend a lot of time with my loved ones.
I believe that all work and no play are bad for the body and mind. So later in the evening, Iraj spends some needed time with his grandparents, while I take the time to catch up with my friends. I catch up some quality time with my husband and Iraj later in the evening.
I believe lifestyle stress is inevitable and overwhelming at most times. I make sure to spend some time with myself in order to resolve my thought process and release stress. I also believe in staying positive and cheered up rather than saddening on every bad news. Adjusting attitude is something I have learned in all these years.
I feel that being passionate about what you do will never let your focus go shrink. When you love what you do, you’ll never think of work as work. Work will be leisure. Perseverance and hard work has got me where I am. I read somewhere, and now truly believe it – ‘if you want to succeed, make sure every person you hire is better than you in every department.’
To all the young girls/entrepreneurs out there, I would like to say that, Clichéd as it may sound, the sky is the limit. If you can dream it, you can do it. I think young women and young people in general today are very lucky. There are so many opportunities available. So think about what you want to do and then go out and do it.
I am Woman Of Courage because I’m a woman, and women are courageous. That’s just how we are born. Never giving up and fighting till the end for what I want makes me a Woman Of Courage.”
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