Konkana Bakshi Founder, Savoir Faire Academie & Tres Chic
I am a national etiquette expert, and the owner of business, social and personal enhancement etiquette schools Savoir Faire Academia and Tres Chic. My clients range from students and brides to Fortune 500 companies and my workshops cover topics that focus on the finer things in life.
As I travelled to several countries for International beauty pageants from a young age, I realised the value of an elegant, confident image. These beauty pageants gave me an opportunity to learn about different cultures as I was interacting with 76 contestants from different cultural backgrounds. The knowledge was invaluable and I wanted to take it a step further.
I enrolled myself in New York Film Academie where the faculty taught me body language, expressing my thoughts through emotion and voice modulation for stage performances. Then I went to an international finishing school in Switzerland and London image institution. I was clear in my mind that being socially polished was a necessity equivalent to a strong academic degree.
My mother was in the diamond industry and I often interacted with diamond merchants and their families. On such occasions, I would get requests to host important dinners and meet International clientele. That is when I realised there could be a place for a platform that offers training in corporate and social etiquette. I gave wings to my vision and hosted my first workshop in Mumbai with Sabira Merchant, Dilip Cherian and Chris Gethen.
Savoir Faire académie started with training for business and corporate etiquette; we are expanding our offerings to include social etiquette, art appreciation and training luxury professionals about the finer things in life to facilitate quality interaction with clients. At Tres Chic, where I am the principle consultant, we offer personal image consultancy, consult bridal clients and social skills. We have private consultancy for clients who require a tailored programme. My vision is to continue providing excellence at the académie and our workshops. I get inspired by clients’ real transformation. It makes me happy and I feel worthy of contributing to someone’s life. We have trained around 700 professionals through workshops and 36 individual private clients through bespoke training on image transformation and international etiquette
There is no secret to success for the self-employed. The only thing that works is a good combination of planning and hard work. Whatever you do, do not give up.
I started Savoir Faire three years back without a clue that one day I would be known as founder and chairperson of the finest finishing school in India!! I didn’t have any expectations. I just did one workshop to gauge its potential and I got a great response! I was and still am very concerned about this field as India is a very price sensitive market. China in fact shows a lot of enthusiasm about finishing schools and that is why some of the finest European finishing school has extended their services to China. I hope, with time, India realises the value of investing in social skills and self-image enhancement as much as formal education.
A business can experience highs and lows. Just do not let them discourage you into quitting. A woman has the best chances of success as an entrepreneur if she knows how to create the right balance. It is necessary to plan well and involve people who will be honest and supportive throughout the ups and downs of your new business.
In my opinion, in today’s world technology prowess is the key for building a brand. Earlier probably it used to be more daily tabloids and magazines. But today, most of us read important information through our device, which says a lot.
In the business world you need to be a business man. Being a woman you may not have any added advantage but certainly, the attention to detail and a woman’s touch and personalisation goes a long way. About being taken seriously, I was too soft but with time I learned to be kind yet stern when needed, especially during negotiations.
Certainly, every woman should start something of her own. It creates individuality and encases a lot more confidence. The feeling of achievement cannot be compared. As a young entrepreneur I look forward to the continuous quest of understanding, a better meaning of doing business and building a brand.