Ever wondered there can be a technology for designing wood windows and door systems! Yes, there is a company called Artius which brought this technology to India in June 2011 realizing the need for engineered wood windows and door systems. It is, by far, the only company to manufacture such systems in engineered wood in India till now and hopes to have an exclusive market for next 12 to 18 months. It is even surprising to know the fact that Artius is run by a lady who has already been awarded as an outstanding female entrepreneur in the manufacturing sector for Year 2015 by the Department of MSME, Government of India. We are talking about Bhawana Sharma, Director at Artius Interiors. Leading her sector by example, Bhawana has successfully laid the foundation for many more women professionals who dream to become entrepreneurs some day. Team RealtyMyths got an opportunity to interact with Bhawana and understand her philosophy behind creating Artius. It was indeed an interesting session. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
How did Artius happen? Wasn’t it difficult for you to decide the career in wood designing, given the fact that the market is yet to test it?
It wasn’t difficult for me to decide such a career, simply because I firmly believe that success depends on what is an individual’s passion. If your profession is your passion then the going gets easy, no matter how much domination and roadblocks you face. Six years back, while doing our own house, my husband and I felt a huge gap in the expectations and the final delivery even after spending huge money, especially in a case of the external window and door systems. We loved wood but the traditionally done windows and doors were neither proof of dust, sound, termite, and jamming nor secure and thermally insulated.
Gradually, when we explored and discovered solutions to all these issues along with the warmth and beauty of Solid-wood, working with wood became my passion. Wood is beautiful and environment-friendly, sustainable and durable. This is how Artius was formed. Now when our knowledge and passion gets backed-up by customer’s positive response, I don’t feel the domination at all. To fight domination you need to be either unique or strong and I am both!
Do you think that the market has evolved with new technologies and new elements of designing?
Well yes! The market is definitely evolving with new technologies and new design elements. However, real evolution will come with the use of technologies and elements which are either carbon neutral or have lesser carbon emissions. It is a sad fact that building & construction contributes almost 47% of the carbon emissions to the environment. It is, therefore, the responsibility of all the associated people that, while choosing the building materials and processes, they make a conscious and genuine effort in choosing the right set of elements from the environment perspective. Hence, we have a long way to go in order to construct more environment-friendly, sustainable and long-lasting infrastructure.
Have you ever experienced any gender-based discrimination? What advice would you give to other female professionals who come across such situations?
Not in everyday working, but yes initially when I approached the banks and financial institutions for funding my manufacturing unit, it was a tough task to convince them that a woman can run a hardcore manufacturing unit. For them, it was completely a man’s world and they were quite afraid to invest in a woman-led manufacturing unit. I went to at least 20 institutions and got the funding with great difficulty. I believe holding your faith in your skills and thorough knowledge of your product and business, leads to the success and that is my advice to other female professionals. Keep fighting till you succeed but it is very important to acquire detailed knowledge of your product and clarity on its market positioning. Once you are confident about what you want to do, there no reason that you look back or give up just because you are a woman. I believe being a woman is a blessing; use your strengths; they are much more than a man.
There are still a handful of women professionals who have made it large. Why is it so? Do you think the presence of a woman at the top can make any difference?
I think, because a lot of women give up in between and do not peruse their dreams till the end. It is largely due to other responsibilities they have in life. When it comes to making a difference, yes it is very simple! The way women can convert a bachelor’s life into a beautifully disciplined life, similarly, the presence of a woman at the top definitely makes a positive difference. There are many great examples of amazingly run enterprises by women at the top positions. Most of the qualities you require for being at top positions, come naturally to a woman.
Which, in your opinion, are the most female friendly sectors?
Education, Design, Fashion, Handicrafts are some of the most female friendly sectors. I think if you deeply study these sectors they clearly focus on understanding the market needs and improvising quickly to offer what is actually required well within the given time frame.
What has been your special achievement which you want to share with us?
From Artius’s point of view, we recently achieved contracts to furnish external and internal window and door systems of prominent personalities and business houses where we competed with the established international brands. We are also working with many leading Architects of the country. On the personal front, Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs recently recognized me with Priyadarshini Award (2015) as an Outstanding Women Entrepreneur in manufacturing segment. I believe our journey has just started; there are miles to go.
Share a story about your company and your relationship with the team?
As a leader, I strongly believe in procuring and nurturing talent. I follow, learn and empower fundamentals myself and leverage the same to my team. If a team member is rich in a particular skill, we acknowledge and recognize the same I myself try to incorporate the same in my approach and vice versa. I believe that if resources are provided with an excellent learning curve and opportunity to spread their wings, you then don’t need to manage them.
Rate your brand (1-10) and Why?
We give us 10/10 because we give an unconditional guarantee on our products. We believe that every customer is entitled to quality performance for which he has paid. He should also be offered an unmatched after-sales service. This is what we continuously practice and try to improve every day. We firmly believe in the saying, ‘A happy customer yields another ten’.
What advice would you like to give to those who are looking forward to joining this sector?
Time and Client Management is the key to success. Always think about your customer and his needs. It is the customers who will promote your product without charging any money.