I was born in Mumbai in 1970 and studied at Queen Mary’s High School. I graduated in 1992 from H.R. College of Commerce and Economics at Church Gate in Mumbai with Business Administration as my core subject.
I was born into a family interested in business and design. Designing is in my blood. I did a diploma in Advertising, Design and Fashion Design in 1989 from the the J.D. Institute of Design. I apprenticed at IKON wedding and greeting cards Mumbai and entered the family business at the age of 17. I also studied the art of screen printing and worked in our printing factory Bombay Binding Works at Fort. Along with a friend I simultaneously started my own export firm Alisains International for leather garments.
Marriage was then on the cards. I found my life partner in Hyderabad, the land of Nizami Culture, and a new life phase began. I shifted to Hyderabad having graduated in 1993 completing and joined the family glass business. I also launched my own outlet of imitation jewellery Ikon Jewels.
I went on to study original stained glass processes in Mumbai and entered the glass industry in 1997. Realising the symbiotic relationship between wall enhancement and interior design, I then went on to study interior design and architectural assistantship at NAC HITEC in Hyderabad.
Armed with the knowledge of interior design it was easy for me to interact with my clients. And I enjoyed my work. Today I am managing both companies. My interest in design did not end there and I have since launched my own company Imperial Collection in 1999 and ventured into designing exclusive photo frames with a Touch of Glass effects and I moved on further in life.
My hobbies are horse riding, athletics and swimming and reading books on management. I thank my loving husband Murtaza and my late father in law who let me climb my ladder of success.
Launched in 1999, Imperial Collection is a professionally managed glass designer and custom framer studio. We design and create exclusive designer glass works and decorative wall painting. We have an in-house exclusive range of photo frames, framed paintings and mouldings for custom framing. We ensure that our frames enhance the beauty of homes and offices and bring empty spaces alive. Our USP is wall management and enhancement at reasonable prices along with assured quality and service. My target markets are interior designers for homes, offices, restaurants and aspiring home makers.
What drove you to become an entrepreneur?
I am passionate about colour and design and have been in the field of designing since 1989. Designing runs in my blood. I love to work as all my female relatives are involved in business and are passionate about their respective fields. My mother, Sagera Merchant, a successful entrepreneur and driving force behind Ikon Wedding and Greeting Cards Mumbai, has been my role model and inspiration.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I have worked with numerous interior designers and homemakers. My greatest achievement was doing paintings for Liquid Hub which was highly appreciated by ex CM, Kiran Kumar Reddy.
I was young and had children at a young age. I nevertheless finished my graduation and started work and studied further and I have fought all odds from home to work with ease and a stable mind, letting no minor or major issues affect me.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mother Sagera Merchant and my aunt Khursheed Merchant are both hard working and dedicated to their work even today. Their love for work has always inspired me to achieve more.
How do you balance your home and work life?
I never made it an issue. My passion made me fight all odds. Every home will have issues for working women but I have always put the. aside and moved ahead. I have never lost hope and am always determined to succeed. I would wake up early, organise the kids, cook, clean and leave for work come what may. If there was be no food cooked I would call for food and be prepared. Your love and passion to work can make you cross all obstacles.
What advice do you have for women starting on their own?
The world outside is not so easy – many scorn and try to bring us down. Just hold your head high, have your dreams secured and charge ahead. Never feel a level below men. Remember remember we are capable enough of managing both home and work.
Can you recommend any organisation or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
BNI INDIA – the world’s largest Business Networking Organisation. Here I have seen my confidence grow to new levels.
If you would ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
I would love to move my studio to upmarket Hyderabad. My dream goal is setting up a one stop interior related studio for individuals – from interior execution to products all under one roof. I am also keen to establish contacts with interior designers; enhancing awareness about the use of glass and its benefits.
About Zahabiya Kanchwala
Zahabiya Kanchwala is a dynamic, self-motivated entrepreneur who is always full of joy. Married at a young age, and armed with several professional qualifications, Zahabiya embarked on an unusual career – the eclectic industries of Jewellery and Glass. Zahabiya adorns women with jewellery and also adorns walls with designer pieces, bringing empty spaces to life; both creative and challenging work.
Phone: +918106129540 and +919533879053
This article was provided by WeAreTheCity Hyderabad Lead, Anju Arora