Woman on top

BRAND VALUE

Woman on top

Anjani Kasliwal believes hard work and common sense will take her places. DH pic by Janardhan B K

“I don’t have a surname in the office,” Anjani Kasliwal says, emphatically, when you ask her whether hailing from an influential family helps when you enter a business.

It’s easy to understand why the question is received with such complete poise. At the age of 24, Anjani has probably been asked this question a million times already; she hails from the Kasliwal family which runs S Kumar Nationwide Limited, and is probably one of the company’s youngest directors. Total credit for this, she says, goes to her hard work, and not — as people would like to believe — due to the fact that she is the daughter of Nitin and Jyoti Kasliwal. She has worked her way from the lowest rungs, and is all set to reach the very top.

“I’ve started from scratch,” she says, talking about how she began working part-time right from when she finished school. “I’ve grown from there. If I’ve been offered further opportunities or designations, it’s because I’ve worked on it,” she emphasises. So when she began working, no quarter was asked for, and none given.

“The people I worked with were skeptical in the beginning. A few of my colleagues thought I would have it easy because I am from the Kasliwal family. But I worked hard and proved myself. I didn’t let anyone do my work for me,” she adds.

After her graduation in Mass Media from Mumbai University, Anjani first entered the Advertising and PR department of SKNL. “I knew I wanted to be in advertising, and I think I’m sociable. Advertising is an integral part of any business, as important as sales or finance,” she says. It was during her stint there that she learnt to deal with different kinds of people and situations, and this has kept her in good stead.

“This is a sensitive business, and I can be very frank. Being in advertising has taught me to deal with different kinds of people,” she admits. She then interned with several luxury brands abroad, and learnt about global demand and supply management, sales and promotion.

She has worked her way up since, and is today the Director of the Luxury Brands division of SKNL.

“The expectations worked as both an advantage and disadvantage. Sometimes, expectations are really high, but this has always pushed me to work harder. Sometimes, I may think it’s unreasonable, but it’s also a way of learning for me, so I keep pushing myself,” she says.

Learning begins at home

Though she admits that being from the Kasliwal family can sometimes work against her, Anjani says that her father is her guru, and greatest influence.

“I see his ambition, and how hard he works. That pushes me. It amazes me that however difficult the situation is, he’s always smiling. He has taught me never to keep a cluttered mind, and never to get overstressed about something.”

So whatever the situation at work, she ensures she keeps the environment calm. She believes in talking to her team to find a solution, rather than panic. “After all, if you think about it with a calm, clear mind, then it’s easier to get a solution,” she says.

Big dreams

Anjani Kasliwal has set herself the task of taking the business to a ‘whole new level’; with everything having been set up, she believes that her contribution to the business is more about the value she can add. This could be either in adapting new ways of working, or ensuring that the business quickly adjusts to the consumer’s needs.

She is also working towards tie-ups with high-end brands from Italy and Europe. Right now, though, she is working on bringing mid-premium fashion to the malls.

“There is this gap in the market right now. For instance, where would an executive buy reasonably priced office wear? Or where would a young girl be able to buy fashionable clothes without emptying her wallet? So we’re bringing the brand OVS here; it will be Italian design at Indian pricing," she explains.

And she’s set some goals for herself too: “In the next three years, I hope to be CEO of one of my companies. It will take hard work and a lot of common sense, but I will take it goal by goal. I hope that after that, I will have a family of my own, and we’ll see where it takes me…”

Work can be stressful, and Anjani unwinds by spending time with her family and pets.
“I have two labradors, and the minute I see them, all the stress vanishes,” she laughs. “I love to drive. I also love watching movies, particularly films like Udaan, Taare Zameen Par and Black,” she says. Other stress-busters include spending quality time with her family and friends.

She has her sights set on her ultimate goal: “If I can be half of what my dad is today within the next few years, I’d have achieved a lot,” she says with a smile.

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