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Work-life Balance to Gender Norms: Women in Luxury Decor Industry Combat Various Challenges

Luxury décor and furniture segment is on a rise in India. In 2020, wealth of HNIs in India has crossed the 2.3 trillion US dollars, which means more opportunities for luxury segment players. Home décor and luxury furniture has been one of the fastest growing industries in retail as well as manufacturing segment.

Just like any other industry, here also we do see imbalance and generalisation in terms of gender conformity. Design and manufacturing is a male dominated business and women need to work harder to get that recognition. Although, in the past few years, the world has seen a surge in the number of women entrepreneurs entering the décor segment and are creating a mark with personalised and intuitive design elements. From celebrity interior designers such as Gauri Khan, whose designs embody modern and chic outlook, to various other women designers who also let their designs reflect their personalities from hand woven rattan work to fabulous lustrous pieces. But we all do have our share of stories to share on various challenges we face not just as women, but as any business person.

First and the most common of all, on the issues that women often face is juggling between personal and professional life- family obligations, dependency, social barriers etc.. Whether you are single, married or a mother, women need to cater to their homes as well, ,by nature- women are nurturers, we cannot ignore that aspect of our lives. Being in the design industry, we often travel either for work or research, we often have late nights at construction sites, we have early mornings when shipments arrive or are to be dispatched, and have endless hours of meeting with clients and colleagues.

And secondly, In my personal experience, I don’t think women face issues in the luxury décor segment when it comes to design and in converting prospective clients to confirmed buyers, we face issues majorly in the manufacturing and resourcing area. Women are blessed with an eye for detail, from colour tone matching to getting the right lights, from blending modern with traditional to creating unique industrial designs. Where we do face an issue is in getting it done.

From sourcing to manufacturing, women in the Luxury décor segment see this as a major challenge. This disparity of gender favouritism in the manufacturing segment, exists not just in India, but even in other countries. I know some women who do sourcing for international luxury decor brands, and we all have similar stories to share. Same goes when we are on the production floor.

But, it all boils down to how we handle the situation, i.e. whether we let it take the best out of us or the worst! For me, it took almost 2 years to get my own manufacturing staff to take me as seriously as my male partner. All it really takes is patience and determination which then gets translated to trust and reliability. It is fascinating to see so many women in leadership positions way more than ever before.

The original article appeared on news18 authored by East lifestyle COO and interior consultant - Ms. Aprajita Bhargava Bhasin


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