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Entrepreneur/Professional Expert of the Week

Appreciating Indian Art through’Banyan Shade’-Divya Bidani

“Life is about overcoming challenges.”If somebody keeps going ahead in life with this attitude and aims one’s goals wholeheartedly then success definitely falls in her path in unexpected hours. Divya Bidani’s journey is a very good example who is fulfilling her dreams of appreciating Indian Art through her retail shop Banyan Shade in Singapore. 
Banyan Shade is a home to a wide variety of traditional & contemporary Indian Art. Based in Singapore, Banyan Shade wishes to disseminate Indian art, keep traditions alive, preserve the rich legacy and enhance trade by bringing awareness & appreciation.True to its name, Banyan Shade a visual treat of soothing art expressions and a soulful experience of sheer delight.
Womenlines is proud to present Divya’s journey in her own words-
1.Please share with our readers a little bit about yourself?
I belong to Meerut, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, India. It’s been nearly 5 years that I shifted to Singapore with my husband. Having a commerce background, I have previously worked in the finance and banking sector in Mumbai and for a couple of months in a headhunting firm in Singapore. The passion to start my own venture and a strong inclination towards Art is what made me enter into this field. My venture is called “Banyan Shade”  which promotes  Indian art. We have a retail outlet cum gallery at Tanglin Mall. The journey has been great so far with the kind of response and appreciation people have given and that keeps me going.
2. So when did you venture into this business and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?
It’s been close to 2 years that I started this business. I started in September 2011 with an exhibition at VivoCity and thereafter opened a  retail outlet in December same year at Suntec City which has now moved to Tanglin Mall in March 2013. The love of Art, desire to bring Indian Art to Singapore and the fact that this venture will keep me close to India, were few reasons which inspired me to enter into this. Last but not the least, it wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement of my family and friends.
3. Can you share with us, some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?
It seemed a mammoth task sourcing products from India, dealing with artisans and manufacturers, getting the products shipped, renovation of the store and finally set up. But patience and perseverance are what one needs always. Another continuous challenge is to hire and retain the right kind of salespersons and training them so they could do justice to your products. And of course who can forget the finances 😉
4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
When I started, working Seven days a week with a two-year-old, was a big challenge. With handling the daily operations of the store and frequent travels to India it did become tough. But thanks to my family and my son Raghav who is 4 years old now that I have been able to come a long way. And what I have come to realize, the less time you have for your children/family the more quality time you give to them. It is stressful, but I guess one just learns to overcome it.
5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?
A lot of hard work and time goes into starting one’s own venture. Direction, lots of research and focus are important. There’ll be ups and downs in the business but you will learn from mistakes and move on. I would say if you have the passion then take the plunge.
6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?
My biggest support and my mentors have been my husband and my dad. It wouldn’t have been possible without them. Also, there is so much one learns from so many people you work with whether it’s from the hard-working artisans or it’s a great feedback from your customers.
7. What do you have in the pipeline for your company’s/business future development?
Another Banyan Shade store, bringing a wider collection of unique pieces of Indian Art.This is a real woman of substance’s dream.
Seeing is Believing”, visit Banyan Shade for a rendezvous with the rich Indian heritage! Visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/banyanshade for details.
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