Megha Sharma is a textile designer based in Mumbai, India. Her company Temple of Style creates soft furnishings for luxury homes in India. All her designs are custom made and she wants to go global. At 25 she was ready to be her on boss and was confident to take on the stalwarts of this extremely competitive industry.
So how did Temple of Style start?
Temple of style was started in 2007 and is a soft furnishing company that caters to high end customers in India. I started freelancing as a textile designer in 2006. I have always been driven and motivated. I wanted to be independent and accomplish something unusual in life. That’s what motivated me to start my company at the age of 25. I worked extremely hard initially. I have a very strong work ethic so I made sure that I put in multiple hours in creating my designs and incorporating those designs in my soft furnishings. I worked long hours and even weekends when I started. I still do actually. My typical work hours are over 12 hours per day.
Did you always want to have your own business?
I started working for a renowned textile designer in Mumbai in 2005 at the age of 23. At that point in time I realized that there weren’t many designers that actually customized upholstery. I decided that I wanted to be my own boss and create my own designs that were unique and unusual.
When you set off were you worried the space is already too crowded?
Not at all. I have been very confident about my work. My designs are atypical. I am always thinking of out of the box new designs and ways to be creative. I often modify my designs as per my client requirements. Being in command of your own destiny is extremely gratifying. It can also be overwhelming. I think that gratification is what drives me to work harder.
How do you plan to distinguish yourself from the rest?
I don’t try to distinguish myself from others. I always strive to do better than myself. I look at creating cutting-edge designs that I haven’t created in the past, something that differentiates one design from the other.
How would you describe your signature style?
My designs are extremely blingy and wild. I add a lot of crystals, metals, pearls to my soft furnishing designs. Most of my work is hand embroidered with a combination of a lot of tailor techniques. I think when I started off I had the first mover advantage with my designs.I personally meet my clients, look at their personality and style, understand their needs and then customize the designs as per my discretion.
What were your main hurdles in this profession so far?
Business startups can be challenging. It’s not like having higher management that will guide you or tell you what you need to refine. Initially I had to rely on client feedback and new clients to assess my success. Also, the industry that I work in is extremely labor intensive. I have to interact with my tailors and embroiders almost every hour. Sometimes it gets challenging to explain specific designs to them. I am extremely precise about the quality and the finish of the final product. I make sure that I choose the fabrics myself and make sure that the finish is perfect. I think that is the biggest challenge really. Making sure that the tailors do an exceptional job that is close to perfection.
Your biggest achievement till date.
I have designed a 40,000 square foot bungalow. The accolades and praises that I got for that were extremely satisfying. I have also done show flats for some of the largest builders in India. I think my work has been the most effective way of raising awareness about my business. I have never had to advertise or market my business.
Your target customer.
My customers are in the premium category. My work is extremely personalized andinvolves very intricate designs mostly hand embroidered.
Designers you admire the most.
Dolce and Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Balmain, and Manish Arora.
Your dreams going forward
I want to be a global brand eventually with the main focus on Dubai. I have penetrated some great homes in India and wish to penetrate global markets.
Is it difficult to balance home and work
Not really. I think it’s really important to be passionate about what you do. Honestly, I think my business helps me achieve my work life balance.
Two advices you would like to give to Indian women.
● Be independent financially.
● Work hard, do something you love doing. You can achieve success and fulfill your dreams if you have the perseverance, drive, and passion to do it.
Megha can be contacted at ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Written byShayonti Chatterji
Initiator of Our Frontcover, believer in thinking out of the box, living ones dreams and in the power of stories.