Womenspiring Wednesdays…

Be The Change You Want To See !

Charvi Mehta – Living a life of multiple being: Interior Designer, Entrepreneur & Social Activist!

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I still remember my father saying “I want you to build your career and be self dependent, till then I won’t let you marry”. At the age of 12, I’m sure I had no clue what he meant but psychologically it surely worked on me.

There was nothing in particular that motivated me to be an interior designer, and I always thought that that’s my only expression. This is one profession that called me and it was my dream to be an interior designer since the age of 14, I followed my dreams.

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I’m a Mumbai based interior designer with around 8 years of experience. As an interior designer I have worked on majorly residential and retail spaces. I have worked on some Bollywood celebrity house to a house of a common man and some national and international retail chains pan India. (Ninewest, pepe jeans, aldo, NineWest, la senza, pumpkin patch, guess jeans, bebe, queue up, Karmik) etc. After association with a couple of architects for half a decade 2 years back I started my own practice. And along with retail and residential projects I explored a new world of hospitality. (Falafels, simply potatoes). I want to do Multiple spaces but in the next two years I dream to design a 5 star hotel and use my creativity and technical knowhow to the fullest.

I always thought that i want to focus on interior designing as since the age of 18 I have only been doing that and I cannot do anything else, I always told myself that interior designing is my only dream and only passion.

Until one day in May 2014  when my maid came up to me and my mother and said that her children are not getting admission in BMC schools and she wants our help . As for me education has always been the basic need of any child, I immediately said I’ll help and went to all the BMC schools, municipal office in our locality and also the slum that she lived in. After multiple visits we got to know that she dint have appropriate documents of her children and so was denied. I and my mom helped her in all possible way but after the visit to municipal school and slums and meeting the children there I realized that due to RTE being implemented since 2010 and free and compulsory being promoted government all the children from these slums go to school but a 10 year old would also not know the basics. The scenario was quite disturbing and after I came back home it bothered me with multiple questions. But one question that shifted my world was “what am I doing as an educated citizen?” I spoke to my friends and relatives who were ready to volunteer and with everyone’s support ” eklavya-you belong” was born in August 2014.

We started with educating 75 kids and by the end of six months we had 120 children. The love and response of the children and support of the parents that we got, motivated us to continue and we went ahead and formed a core team and registered eklavya into a non profitable organization. This academic year we have 180 children. And we plan to open multiple learning centers catering 1000 children by 2016.

While eklavya – you belong’s journey was a roller coaster ride which is worth living, it also enhanced my personality as an individual, it just boosted my confidence and I started believing in myself that I can really contribute in other areas too apart from Interior designing.  And I can venture into unknown too.

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In my professional journey of providing designs and service to my clients once thought I should get into interiors accessories designing and manufacturing this was in Dec 2013. But never had any courage to even move a step and it was dead. But once after a tiresome shopping day of accessories with a residential client somewhere around dec 2013 I just realized that I had buried my ideas of getting into venture of accessories .  And I was clear this time “If I can do eklavya I will start this as well ”  I had no second thoughts and while doing the research and learning about these paraphernalia a complete new world opened up for me . It’s a world where I can use my creativity without any restriction with the technical knowhow. And the name of this new world which got created in feb 2015 is “Thingamajigs ” The products that are included in Thingamajigs are utility home decor products and concept products as of now . The products include: trays, coasters, place mats, trivets, candle stands, tissue boxes and holders, photo frames, mirror frames, magazine holder, dustbins etc and the concept products that I have are: shooter trays , starter trays, wine and cheese tray, bedside organizer, mukhwas /dry fruit platter etc. Also I am using multiple materials in creating these products such as wood, cloth, glass, metal, fiber etc. Thingamajigs is a start – up and I’m looking at various ways to promote the brand.

I’m living a life of multiple being –

Being a creative interior designer

Being a creative entrepreneur

And being a social activist!

Multiple ventures is giving me multiple opportunities beautify the surroundings, spread smiles and to uplift the lives of the needy, Whether it’s those deserving children or the skilled labour .

Behind the rosy picture there off-course a lot of challenges to deal with when it comes to eklavya it’s dealing with government and bmc officials for permissions and finding places for centers to enrolling the parents to send their children .

Also finding a balance between all the three and social life is sometimes challenging.

But in this beautiful journey I’m ready fall, fail and faultier but don’t want to stop.

And the most important element I feel that keeps me going the student in me who is ready to learn everything that comes my way.

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