Leadership is all about “Together we can do “
Rimjhim Charan – VP – Operations – 100Krafts
Rimjhim Charan started working as City Head – Pune and has been responsible for expanding our operations in Pune and surrounding market. Currently, along with the responsibility of handling strategic decisions for Pune, she is also VP – Operations. The Operations Heads of all geographies report to her and she reports to me. She is responsible for ensuring process implementation, handling escalations as well as ensure smooth planning of overall operations in all sites.
How difficult is it for a woman professional to establish in the real estate sector, it largely being an un-organized sector?
Interiors and design has always been a highly unorganised sector… everyone following their whims and fancies as far as the deliverables, process, execution and standards are concerned.
The word un-organised automatically gives you the single most daunting factor for it to be difficult for anyone and somewhat more for a woman professional. Moreover this is a largely male dominated domain, where dealing with blue collar labour becomes all the more tough for women.
I can remember small instance where when I had started filtering the market for good vendors and execution partners and even designers, the first response I usually got was a lot of attitude, exorbitant pricing and no benchmarks just because they were dealing with a female.
On the execution and client side, I remember a client who used to try and shout and talk in an intimidating manner thinking what I being a woman can do. I being a woman, will get scared and not ask for payment or will get quietly get extra work done.
Timings are not fixed and you can never have a regular schedule. This is quite unsettling for the kids as they never know when I will be available and when not. Taking out quality time for family is not easy. In the last 4 years, any time spent with family even on a vacation has been spent while working.
At every step, the glass ceiling needs to be broken. In interior industry the women are expected to be vocal only as designers or draftsperson or saleswomen but not as managers and organizers.
At 100Krafts, we have all the new varied profiles like Business Development, Process Control, Quality and Audit Check, Client Solutioning etc. Most of these have women managing details which is not just progressive but a completely different approach.
One has to assess and recruit the right kind of people for the very new kind of profiles. For example in 100krafts we have the so called “women Power” in full throttle. 80 to 90% of the team is of young, wonderful ladies and we will prove slowly that women can easily manage both in the organised as well as the unorganised sector…. God made us that way.
The different perspective a female leadership can bring to the realty business?
Leadership is all about “Together we can do “
In the industry where elements like creativity, multitasking, flexibility , time management, sensible decision making, nurturing the customer and vendor relationship, boosting teamspirit, finding new growth avenues and maintaining a positive and hopeful atmosphere is the key to growth, I feel Women leadership can adds all the flavours to this already vibrant and lucid world.
It has long been only Male dominated field and I see a fresh crop of women professionals coming into the management roles in recent years. These require a balancing of the leadership and Women leaders with all their natural abilities to manage and lead the young minds can be a great asset for the industry…
The personal journey of establishing yourself as the top management of the company
I personally knew one of the two founders of 100Krafts. Once I understood the scope of growth of this platform based business model, I was also interested in taking the plunge since I loved this field itself. Both the founders did extensive counselling for me and I was mentored and supported by them to setup a totally new market in Pune. For the first year, I was responsible for the entire Pune operations without a team and this helped a lot in giving me confidence in myself.
Guess the journey was more from being just an admirer of the interior design work to actually getting admired as the Business head of a very good and fast growing 100krafts with a strong team of professionals.
I was given a lot of freehand in taking most of the Pune related decisions and got the support of the founders in case situation became tough for me to handle. This continues to this day. I am now not just looking after the strategic affairs of Pune but am also VP, Operations for the whole 100Krafts business. This has happened due to sheer hard work and consistency.
The reasons for limited numbers of women in top management in Indian real estate
The very first reason I would like to point out is the nature of women limiting themselves. I have found myself struggling and debating on the same many times. whether its all worth….to leave the kids and go for meeting on sundays, to not be present and look after them when they are back from school, to sometimes send them to school without having the time to sit with them to complete the homework, to not be able to cook for them everyday….
I have tried to ensure that I spend any free time I get with my two daughters. I have seen them appreciate me in front of their friends and that made me feel extra special. I have seen them sit and draw design and render it with crayons and tell me to give it to my clients…. they have learnt to manage on their own and they have seen and told me how they want to be like me when they grow up.
Women have to realise and learn to build support systems just like men and that is where we falter.
Secondly a very big limiting factor is family. The social handcuffs of defining the roles of a mother, woman, wife, daughter…. I am thankful that my husband has been supportive and we manage things smoothly together.
Thirdly the set mindset of everyone not being able to accept women in leadership role. This is a social illness and will take its own sweet time to go away when our daughters are more enabled.
Fourthly, the nature of the work requires us to deal with labor, contractors, raw material vendors, going to projects and sites where work is in progress….. guess the reason :)………. A full fledged community with only men in 99% of roles. Am sure its a limiting factor for many women to try and take up management responsibilities in this sector.
Please comment on the overall real estate sector in India
With increasing incomes, real estate becomes a very lucrative market for people to invest in. There are several positive steps from the government as well in terms of rolling out the Real Estate Bill as well as starting work on new “smart” cities. All these put together are going to be very positive for the real estate market in general across the country.
A worrying factor that we are observing in most of the large metro areas like Bangalore, Mumbai, NCR are the large number of flats which are now being left unsold. This is resulting in less cash flows for builders which is leading to the next projects being left in abeyance. This vicious cycle needs to break and we hope that the Real Estate bill will help in stabilizing things a bit.
With new cities coming up, the opportunity for real estate as well as for an interior platform like 100Krafts are immense and we look upon the future with a lot of excitement.
Brief on the Pune realty market – its distinct features, challenges & potential
Pune is amongst fastest growing young market with its own unique challenges in both real estate and Interiors. People still do not value high services and the house sizes are too small to plan any elaborate, luxurious designs. We have to focus on low budgets and high space management solutions which are different sort of challenges.
A highly planned and strategic approach is needed to manage in this sort of market with equally high supervision for each project to reduce on timeline and get higher efficiency to reduce overheads.
We have ourselves painted the town in all colours n all corners…. These are the societies and areas in Pune we have done our interiors at and these are actually the areas which are growing in terms of real estate as well.
- Amanora park Town
- Nanded city
- Future towers
As you can see, growth is immense.
The growth plans of the company
100Krafts has been focussing on getting the basics right. We have worked hard on improving our processes and are actually using processes for project execution which are used in the IT industry for product development and have no precedent in this industry. Our design process is also completely scientific based on European process for designing.
We are now poised for the next level of growth which includes plans to expand horizontally into at least 5 new cities in the next one year. We are also planning to launch a couple of new brands to focus on B2C customers in our current geographies providing them with solutions in areas where we are currently missing out.
In addition, we are also work on some very exciting solutions for B2B growth within our current geographies. This will happen through some amazing levels of services with builders, architects as well as real estate companies. This is also being planned to be launched phase wise within the next 6 months.
The best part about 100Krafts is that we do not have to answer to any external investors and all growth has been through funds generated through our own hard work.
The personal future plans
Personal future plans for next 5-10 years is with 100krafts as all the efforts of last 4 years will start to give results from now. I want to take Pune to newer heights and get 100Krafts expansion plans to run smoothly.
Message for the budding women real-estate professionals
The most important message I can give to women in this industry is to
- make the decision to not be scared of the unknown and so
- learn to plan everything..,so that there are lesser unknowns.
Those are two mantras that have helped me.
- Build support systems at home front and let the kids not suffer alone or you not be guilty of not doing everything with your own hands…
- Weigh the options and see what’s IMPORTANT not URGENT.
- Set up teams to work smoothly and work ON the business instead of IN the business.(if you have your own.)
- Keep a highly customer centric approach..This is no different than hospitality industry as homes and interiors are both related to the dreams and aspirations and how it the whole experience of the client is from start to end.. Only in interiors its much more time stretched and can get frustrating.
In the end I would like to say that we all learn everyday and with every mistake and with every new person we meet and deal with. Keep learning and choose to be positive in all scenarios.