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Work-home-work-home; if that is what your daily routine looks like, you need to read this – networking is essential for women!
As I wheel my one-year-old in a pram into JW Marriott Bangalore’s plush Uno Bar, I am welcomed by the sights and sounds of a bunch of very nicely dressed women having a lot of fun. They are all members of interior decorator and curator Varsha Ashiya’s inner circle; friends and clients, both old and new.
After a year of post-partum hibernation, I am happy to be up and about, as I park my little one in a corner and follow the emcee’s instructions to hold hands and form a queue – part of a fun team-building game.
“Stepping out of our homes, our roles as mothers and wives is the point,” says Ashiya. “As we get older, bringing up kids and family takes precedence. This is a space for us all to get together and have a good time, while also networking professionally.”
This was the first in a series of events called Varsha’s Tea Party, where the curator plans to invite women from various facets of building, architecture, design, as well as connoisseurs of fine decor together. Ashiya is the Lead Curator at vHome, a line of eclectic home merchandise, and an entrepreneur in her own right, who started her professional journey in her late thirties.
“After my kids were practically grown-up, I really felt the itch to do something,” she says, “I combined my love for travelling with my love for fine decor.” Ashiya picks up stand-out pieces from around the world, most recently the Middle East and Turkey, and finds homes for them.
While starting out in curation as a former stay-at-home mother, Ashiya found that in a world immersed in social media and online networking, the offline, real life face-to-face connections still triumphed.
“That’s how I got my early clients and grew my business,” says Varsha who advises aspiring entrepreneurs to get off their desks and find opportunities to meet prospective clients, partners, investors and others.
If I was hoping to get tips on home decoration at the event, I could forget about it. Women were talking about everything over glasses of white wine sangria but interiors. Ashiya tells me that the first event is meant to be much more intimate and since the following day is her 40th birthday, it’s an early celebration of sorts.
“And it doesn’t matter, every conversation needn’t lead to a sale,” she says with a shrug, and advises women to take a more long-term view of networking. “You never know where connections lead, be open to exploration.”
“It is never too late to launch a business or a second career. Tap into your social network, grow your friend circle if you’re looking at doing something afresh with your life,” said Ashiya before giving the reigning Miss India Classic, Veena Jain, another of the decorator’s close friends, a hug and an air kiss.
Editor’s note: Women’s Web deputed a writer from our ever-growing community to cover this networking event.
Images courtesy the author, Aarthi Gunnupuri