Please tell us about your work
For those who attended The Hindu Lit for Life earlier this month, the decorations, besides the many enlightening discussions, would have been part of the highlights of the three-day festival. Be it the ornate auto that soon turned out to be a top selfie spot, the wall of books, a corner stand with a lone green typewriter, bubble gum-pink festoons, dream catchers, chandeliers made of Kanjeevaram silk, and Rajasthani puppets hanging from branches of the banyan tree — all of it whipped up a festive spirit that had love for all things literary at its core. The brain behind the decor was a Chennai-based five-year-old event management company called The A-Cube Project.
Started by Ambika Ankit Agarwal (which also explains the name A-Cube), the company, which includes three in-house members and three freelancers besides eight field boys, had one of the busiest years last year, with over 50-plus events.
A few of your favourite projects?
“A few of my favourites were the OK Jewellers wedding, where we installed a real truck hand-painted by street artists as a photo-booth, a giant 10-foot post box installation for Phoenix MarketCity as part of their ‘post a wish’ campaign, the sangeet ceremony of Radikaa Sarathkumar’s daughter Rayane, for which we made a TASMAC bar and installed an auto at the venue, and a reception called Bridge of Love at Taj Coromandel, where the theme was Anna Arch to San Francisco bridge (as the bride was from Anna Nagar and the groom was from SF). We replicated the bridge and the arch and used them on the stage. The outcome was gorgeous!” she says.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
Ambika was an engineer and then a journalist, before turning entrepreneur after marriage. Engineering was a call after school, but even as she pursued the course, she found herself being drawn more into college culturals.
“Post that, I followed my dream and made it to Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai. There, during my post-graduate course in journalism and mass communication, a small elective module called event management struck a chord,” she says.
I always knew I wanted to be in media – I just wanted to figure out my core specialization and work on it. My insatiable creative energy couldn’t be kept in with my Biotech Engineering degree and the IT job that followed. It was after I got married and settled down in Chennai that I found my calling in wedding planning! I realized I tend to get bored with one kind of job – whereas wedding planning meant new clients, exciting projects, sourcing, upbeat themes, creativity and building my brand while doing all of this.
What was the turning point?
Following her course, she got a job in television production and direction, but “my marriage was a blessing in disguise for my entrepreneurial journey”. Her first event was her husband’s birthday.
“It became a rage on the Internet. This was followed by his friend’s birthday. Word spread and we scored some great projects,” she says.
Even as her hands are full with events, Ambika plans to take up destination weddings, and dabble with quirky furniture and other custom-made home accessories. She also plans to start an online portal and a retail outlet to sell them.