Radhika, please share your story with us. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
As a young teenager I was fascinated by Egyptian architecture and remember spending hours watching the works of Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass broadcasted in Discovery Channel. I then began to maintain a scrapbook of my favorite interior design and décor articles published in the local newspapers in Mumbai, India. I am talking about the 90’s; when girl/boy bands were popular in the music industry; backstreet boys, spice girls, does it ring a bell?
What did you study?
I realized my true passion for interior design while I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Finance at University of Mumbai. Had to assure my father that this wasn’t any short lived teenage fascination, gained his confidence and since then there was no looking back.
Thanks to the support and patience of my husband, without whom I wouldn’t be here and secure a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta, GA. Thereafter, specialized in hospitality design projects across the US & Singapore. It was a great learning experience, pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me sharpen my skills as a designer. Soon I was known as the “detail queen” by my teammates.
While working in Singapore, I realized I could offer more to society. Today homeowners along with embracing their culture, also want to incorporate hospitality design elements in their home; from restaurant style kitchen and communal dining to open concept living rooms and bespoke bedrooms. Hence, decided to establish my business in the country that shaped me as a Designer. That’s how Kalaa Chakra Interiors a.k.a KCI Design was born. I am thrilled to see the positive response received in the first year of business and look forward to growing and making a difference in the coming years as well.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not really, but I’ve learnt that without any challenges there is no growth and learning. So, I’m glad they happened as it has shaped me to be a better human being, designer and business owner.
One of the challenges for me was to learn about the business side of social media marketing, branding, staying visible and consistent on different platforms, understanding what end users are looking for and yet stay true to yourself and the work you do.
The other challenge was learning the business of design; educating today’s homeowners on quality vs quantity, whether in the service provided or furniture selections and how I can customize the design services to cater to different end user needs while ensuring I sustain and grow in my business efforts.
Please tell us about Kalaa Chakra Interiors.
Kalaa Chakra Interiors (KCI Design) specialize in Residential design and décor. The design services are customized per individual home owner’s requirements. In general our clients opt for full service design; i.e. from concept design, developing furniture plans & elevations, sourcing furniture and accessories to installation.
Along with emphasis on the functionality and aesthetics of any interior room, we assist clients in determining if the proposed investment for a project is a realistic and achievable one. If not, we assist them in developing one.
We maintain a transparent communication throughout the duration of the project, especially when it comes to their monetary investments. They get detailed reports on their investments, project status, etc. which has helped in building a trusted relation with our clients. We also provide quality furniture at designer price, resulting in more savings for the clients. All the projects worked on so far, were completed on time, within the planned investment with a design solution which has exceeded the homeowner’s expectations.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Better marketing and positioning of the company.