Tell us about yourself and your background
I am a dancer and choreographer by passion has been involved in the dance arts for over 2 decades now. I was not only a diligent student but also had a driving force towards pursuing my dance as a profession. I began dancing at the age of 4 years and initiated my dance journey by training in the Indian classical dance form – Bharatnatyam, from her Guru Late Shri. Kalyanaraman Pillai. I have learnt the Tanjore style of Bharatnatyam. Dancing was not only a part of my life but was also my medium of release ever since. I began training in Indian Folk Dance from her Guruji Smt. Ila Dalal, simultaneously. At the age of 16 years, I received a full paid scholarship from one of the most reputed dance institutions of the country that enabled me to add finesse to my current training. I always believed that Arts especially performing in our country would take years to receive the status of a serious profession and therefore decided to swing in favour of the same by not only changing the perception of many around me but also each day challenging myself to offer newer, better and more creative learning options to several. House Of Wow stemmed from this very motive & thought.
Tell us about the company you have set up
House Of Wow, a creative and performing arts space in Bandra is actually my brainchild that has come to life after years of planning. I always wanted a space for artists in the city that makes them never want to leave once they enter and that’s exactly what HOW is. It is a French inspired space, taking vintage very seriously. The space has everything from a vintage fireplace to French doors and vintage typewriters and a birdcage to add to the touch. We have kept the colours very cool, mostly white and pastels along with floral vintage wallpapers that would literally help you time travel back into ancient France. From chandeliers to Victorian couches, the space exudes elegance. We have different verticals of art dance fitness and wellness. W for wellness to W for workshops, we ensure the Wow factor is a constant. We have open mic nights, to social tango Milongas and Kizomba evenings to theatre festivals and improv nights to play screenings as one off events at the studio. Our regular workshops include dance, yoga, body movement music therapy workouts and martial arts. Each month we keep adding new things to our schedule to offer as many options of dance, fitness and wellness to our customers.
Why did you set up the company? / What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?
Dance has been a passion that has stuck on all these years. However learning and training was never enough. It was always about sharing; sharing not just what is learnt but also the passion and the fire for the art. I often travelled in my years of training and realized we had very spaces in the city that were welcoming in a way to even building a community. There were very few spaces where people could simply come, sit and watch a class going on in the studio while waiting outside. There is a great deal of learning in that too and therefore I found it necessary or rather the next best step to take to create an art movement in Mumbai that will House artists, students, mentors and housemates altogether and bring them together for the love of art. I still believe however I am entrepreneur in the making, since the sky is the limit.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
To be honest I wouldn’t say it’s easy, it’s probably been the longest it’s ever taken my husband (who has been an integral part of the brand- House Of Wow) and I to design this space. We were very sure on how we wanted it to turn out and keeping the feasibility and consistency in all kinds of communication – from the way it looks to the language we speak in, has been a though learning process. We choose French vintage which by and large is pastels and white however the detailing took most long from the fireplace to the moldings and pillars to the old school telephone and type writer. It’s also important to carry the theme throughout the space. The beauty has always for us been in the detail & the brand and both for us was not only a challenge but was also of utmost importance. Another great challenge for a space like ours it the maintenance. To ensure the space looks as impeccable as it did on its first day is certainly hard but very necessary.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I think the greatest is yet to come. However, so far the most special has been the feeling of being loved, respected and appreciated for what I am trying to create here.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Life, my parents and my husband. Life because it throws things at you and also teaches you how to fight those hurdles. It teaches how to be a tougher stronger you. My parents, because they always smiled like the proudest parents in the world each time I was on stage performing. My husband, because he helped me give birth to our first child; House Of Wow. He taught me how being a bigger person is more important than being successful – big at heart & spirit.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
My family is extremely supportive and thus they help me balance it out very well. I have the greatest set of in laws one could ever ask for, period.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
Be fierce and be fearless. Anger and fear lead you to the dark side of the force. I believe that if one fears one is shaken and focus is lost. Keep accepting the loss as well as the victory. No gain without pain and lastly follow your heart and your gut. They are always right.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
The right education for people to understand various art forms. Even though there has been a great deal of acceptance and love for the performing arts, there is yet a huge population of people who are unaware of its potential to grow and scale.
What does the future hold for you?
Expansion geographically so more and more people can experience the uniqueness of House Of Wow.
Contacting Riddhi –
This article was provided by WeAreTheCity Contributor Rachna Raichandani.