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‘Women tend to face huge obstacles in their businesses’

As a young college student, Rebecca Fernandes was not sure what she wanted to do. After completing 12th she got into the hotel industry, but soon realised that it was not her line. Fernandes later discovered her passion for interior designing while working as a visual merchandiser at Acron Arcade. Today, in partnership with her husband, Fernandes’ firm Interiorlicious provides services relating to interiors, including design analysis, space management, aesthetics, inspection of work on site and more

Why did you opt to get into business? 

After college I worked in a couple of firms in interior design. One day I woke up and told my husband ‘why am I working for someone when I’m educated and experienced enough to start on my own?’ Hence we made the bold decision to start our company called Interiorlicious.

 

Your toughest task in setting it up.

The biggest and toughest task was financials – finding a store, paying the rent, getting catalogues from vendors, making sample pieces to show to clients, transportation of goods, tailors salaries, etc. These  are just some of the crazy expenses that we had to make and still continue. As an interior designer I strongly believe in the quality of product and so we had to hunt for vendors providing quality fabrics. Initially we started a store because it’s one of the biggest ways to get noticed. But most of our time was out of the store making cold calls for clients and hence we decided to close the store and operate from home, thus making ours a home-based company, but I intend to restart my store again.

 

Have you achieved all your goals? If not what remains to be done? 

Interior designing is a profession where the goal can never be complete. There is always something to achieve every day. Taste in styles change daily and hence we have to keep pace with the changing world.

 

Your best business moment.

Every smile on our clients’ face after seeing our complete product, be it a cushion cover or a fully designed house, is a great moment. We strive hard to satisfy our clients’ requirements, taste and budget.

 

Does gender matter in business?

Gender in business has its pros and cons. A woman is generally respected more when she has her own business. While the number of women operating their own businesses is increasing, we continue to face huge obstacles that stunt the growth of our businesses, such as lack of capital, strict social constraints and limited time and skill.

 

What would be your advice to youngsters entering into business?

Honesty is the best policy. Be honest in your dealings and it will take you a long way in business. It may be a slow method but the right one. This is a very competitive business and if someone is hesitant to start, my advice would be to start small. Provide quality products to your clients and they will be the ones to will promote your business by referring you to others. It will give you free publicity and help your business grow. Time is an important aspect in this business. Clients always like to know when you are going to finish the project. Try and finish the job before the due date as it gives a positive boost to your business.

 

State one aspect of Goa which has changed for better or worse.

Tourism has affected all sectors especially interiors. But hotels are not getting frequent quality tourists and their revenues have dropped. Hence hotels are compromising on interiors and businesses like ours are being affected

 

Are you happy with the changes you see in Goa? Why? 

Development is resulting in huge demand for interiors and soft furnishings but in the process the greenery is lost. We should create more parks and garden areas to balance green spaces with concrete development.

 

If not in business what would you have chosen as a profession? Why? 

I would not choose any other profession. I am extremely passionate about interior design. My vision is to become a world famous interior designer some day.

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