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Secrets revealed: How to be a successful women entrepreneur | Sarah Sham |

Watch & Listen to this podcast Episode.

This week on the Arts to Heart Podcast, we have Sarah Sham as our guest. With her super successful design studio, Sarah is an inspiration to all women who dream of becoming successful business owners.

In this episode, Charuka Arora and Sarah Sham discuss the challenges and obstacles faced by women who dare to dream big. For women, the roles are pretty much set by the patriarchal society they live in, and sometimes, they are put in a position where they must choose between having a successful career and starting a family. From realizing her self-worth to manifesting her creative dreams into reality, Sarah has great insights to offer to female entrepreneurs who are struggling to set their own boundaries and rules.

With a degree in art history and interior design, Sarah has done multiple jobs where she has worked at Vogue as well as an advertising agency. Apart from doing theatre, she has also worked as a news anchor for a while, before realizing that she was meant to be an interior designer. However, belonging to a family with a legacy of its own, Sarah did feel a certain pressure. At the same time, she was determined to build something with nothing but her own hard work and skills. Ten years later, she has accomplished just that with an interior design studio that vows to provide a seamless experience to its clients.

Over the years, Sarah has evolved and grown as a businesswoman and has learned to have more confidence in herself. Now, she wants to expand her business in the Middle East and focus more of her energy on business and marketing as compared to the creative aspect of it. It is a result of these experiences that Sarah advises all women entrepreneurs to work hard and never stop. Even if they are taking baby steps, then it’s enough!

To know more about Sarah and her journey, listen to this week’s full episode which is loaded with wisdom!

TimestampSummary
00:00.00Introduction and welcome to the podcast
00:47.60Introduction to Sarah and her design studio
01:21.29Sarah’s love for fitness, animals, and being a mother
06:02.61Pressure of patriarchy and expectations as a girl in a family business
22:11.54The importance of choosing a supportive partner
28:14.93The shift from being a designer to a businesswoman.
29:55.54Balancing creativity and business as a designer.
30:37.38Transitioning from a solo creative to a business owner.
33:23.58Money as a driving factor in the business.
34:38.90Building and leading a team as a business owner.
36:26.90Managing day-to-day life as a business owner.
39:33.67Sarah discusses the shift in perception after getting married.
40:09.17Sarah recalls a meeting where she had to balance work and taking care of her child.
45:32.32Discussing the importance of ambition
46:09.57Goals for 2024: expanding business overseas, focusing on larger projects
49:32.89Challenges of being a working mom
51:29.79Advice for young women in their early careers
53:17.60Importance of belief, taking tangible steps, and not comparing progress
55:58.17Ending remarks and thanking listeners

00:00.00
charukaarora
Welcome to the Podcast sara.

00:01.22
sarah
Thank you so much I’m so excited to be chatting.

00:06.39
charukaarora
It is truly my privilege I think we’ve had very few guests from India and this year my goal is to bring more and more women and we hope I dearly wish this was in person but I truly am excited because I have you here I have been following your work. Um for so long now and I think it is not. For me when I really look up to someone. It is not only the work they do but a life they live I think as creative people our canvas is just not the work that we do. But how we’re really putting things together. Let’s start with um, anyone who’s listening and people from all over the world listen to the podcast. We are highly. Ah, listen podcasts in the us itself. So for people who may not know you can you introduce yours yourself.

00:47.60
sarah
Hi everyone and I’m so happy that you’re listening to my voice today and I’m so happy to be here on this podcast. My name is Sarahra I ran a design studio called pisachys atelia where an interior design studio that’s based in Bombay but we do work globally. We are 10 years old as a design studio. And currently working in 12 different cities across almost three hundred Thousand Square feet of luxury. Um commercial and residential projects and apart from that I love fitness I love animals I am a mom of 2 very young girls one is three months old and 1 is 3 hree years old.

01:21.29
charukaarora
Yes, and I love because you represent a lot of things that I’ve always um I At least believe in and stand for I Love the way you love your animals and how in spite I Would you know a lot of people would tell me if I have children I Love animals I Love my dogs I have. I’ve rescued dogs all my life and like I had 3 and now one of my past away and we have 2 now and they would tell me like you know if you become a mother. Ah you know that then you’ll understand that you know how often people say that. Okay, you’ll have a child of your own and you’ll Forget. You know, ah you love for dogs or all of that and I look at you I’m like no, that’s never going to happen.

02:00.89
sarah
So I thought so as well like I’m really obsessed with animals and it’s been like my life’s dream to do something with animals and be in some kind of a space where I’m either working with animals or helping animals and i. Got my dog about six years ago I adopted her. She was literally found like in a guter somewhere. Really bad condition and break of deaths type of scenario and um I thought after I had my human kids I would be like okay you know I thought I love my dog but I really love my kids.

02:31.16
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

02:33.67
sarah
And I really love my kids but I continue to love my dog the most in the world and I think you know something but people feel very like shy to say because I think we we are to hear that you’ve given birth to 2 real human beings. But you’re still obsessed with your dog.

02:38.45
charukaarora
Um I Love that? yeah.

02:49.11
sarah
And it it’s just it is where it is I Just want to call a spirit ofpa I Really love my dog and I’m just psychotically obsessed with her and so nothing’s gonna that? yeah.

02:55.90
charukaarora
Oh I love this club already. Okay there Sara you know what? really? Um, would really inspires me like I said you I’ve seen you through social media. Play and stand for a lot of roles. A lot of roles that women specifically feel challenge about having a successful career but then also being a mother being a caretaker mom killed being in the creative field. Um, can you can you start let’s start with

03:14.35
sarah
Um, yeah.

03:26.13
charukaarora
Your own experience of what has been your biggest struggle. Um in this journey so far that you’ve been.

03:31.80
sarah
I honestly feel like all my struggles can just boil down to self-confidence I think it’s something that we all really struggle with and I feel like the only thing that’s changed between me fifteen years ago when I started working and me today is that. My self-confidence and my self-worth and my perception of myself has changed dramatically and I think that’s where the real value add is and that’s where the the real masala has come through every year I love myself more every year I focus on loving myself more. And doing exactly what it is to make myself feel happy every year I try and tear up any cobwebs in my brain I try and align any negative thought patterns I may be having and then every year by that. Um, by that process I’m becoming more powerful and more successful. And not successful in terms of oh I have money or oh I have projects or oh I have like some stupid instagram follower account. It’s that I’m happy and I truly feel comfortable in myself and I have started giving less and less of a shit about what anyone else thinks. And that’s so powerful and that’s that’s I think what I would love love to sum up my journey with.

04:45.27
charukaarora
I Love that and did you always thought that you wanted to start your real own business and you’d be here where you are right now. What was what did you? What were you back then who you did I know you were an artist really.

04:55.38
sarah
No, not. Ah so I did 12 different jobs actually I studied art history I did I said art history at Duke University in the us and I was really lonely there and I found the school to be amazing, but the.

05:04.47
charukaarora
Yes.

05:11.93
sarah
Place in the city to be very rural and coming from a city like Bombay where you know I have a million people surrounding me at any given point of day and then going to like Durham North Carolina which is in the middle of nowhere and super super quiet though now I hear it’s become more happening but anyway.

05:14.31
charukaarora
Bond. Yes.

05:29.77
sarah
The time when I went it was like this really really tiny spot where there was just trees and trees and trees. Um, and so I studied our history I did a whole bunch of jobs including working at Vogue working in an advertising agency I did lots of theater acting I worked as a news.

05:45.59
charukaarora
Um, oh you did.

05:46.90
sarah
did I did I always thought that theater would be something I would love. Um and then I acted in some place abroad and here as well. I really enjoyed it and then I worked as a news anchor in financial news for bloomberg for a year

05:58.72
charukaarora
Oh wow.

06:02.61
sarah
Had my own Mark shows in the currencies and commodities exchange so I had five shows a day that I used to anchor and write myself as well. Um I did lots of different jobs including working at my family company isagy that she is the name of my greatgrafa and so I that’s it’s from yeah.

06:15.67
charukaarora
Um, yeah, okay so.

06:21.86
sarah
Um, so isagjis abdulka that Isaji shah was his name and I never met him unfortunately but he passed out the business to my grandfather who passed it on to my father and in my generation was only my sister and me. And then there were a lot of these questions that were raised about like over there’s two girls. There’s no boy to take the legacy forward. So What’s going to really help and I think you were mentioning before we started recording the podcast about how there is so much patriarchy in our Society. So as.

06:40.63
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

06:50.29
sarah
Lovely and well-intentioned as everyone may be patriarchy is just so deeply ingrained in our society and I know my mother felt a lot of pressure to want to have a boy she herself wanted to have a boy and me being the younger child when I was born as a girl there was just everyone was just like how like how yeah what has happened.

07:05.70
charukaarora
Um, disappointment. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

07:09.70
sarah
I carried some of that burden with me through my life and I really did feel like maybe I had a point to prove and maybe I really wanted to show that I could make something off myself despite the fact that I’m a girl. Um.

07:15.10
charukaarora
Drove.

07:23.11
charukaarora
I’m a boy.

07:24.12
sarah
And I tried all these different jobs. Nothing really stuck for me I also worked at my dad’s company I didnt enjoy that as well. Um, so they currently sell art antiques and furniture and um, still continue on sorry just give you a buy really a call. Be.

07:41.40
sarah
Maybe um, yeah, some and ni up with right? sorry my daughters with me yeah hiding under the desk here and half asleep and my dad is yeah with me. So I know what we this podcast.

07:43.28
charukaarora
No problem I love that I am going to talk about that. Also. Ah, do they come with you every day I know stefie does I love that I really wish I I really wish to have a life like this I really really want to do that in 1.

07:58.32
sarah
Dog is young kid is here on both I Heard of the other.

08:09.81
sarah
Um, you are the master of your own destin today so you get very much good if you want. Yeah so um, coming back to what I was telling you about So um, um.

08:11.33
charukaarora
Yes, yes, yes you inspired me.

08:21.67
sarah
I Worked with my dad like nothing was really working out for me I essentially felt like a failure and felt like nothing was booing my way I didn’t know what I wanted to do and when I was working with my dad. There was one person ah who approached me who wanted to buy furniture and she and I just have this like karmic connection. It’s like it’s heart to heart connection.

08:34.93
charukaarora
And Nancy. Yeah.

08:40.83
sarah
And instead of buying furniture. She used to just keep calling me and asking me like what should I do in this corner. What should I do here? How should I do this and then she’s the one who told me sara why don’t you design my house and why don’t you be my teacher and designer and I remember telling her you got mad like I’m not an interior I’ve tried many things but a interior design. Ai n’t one of them sure and so but at that point I’d already failed at so many things that I said okay show the alllet I I mean what’s the worst that can happen is that I fail again and then I tried it and I loved it and I think instantly that entire thing just clicked for me where I realized i’m.

09:00.44
charukaarora
Um, isn’t something. Yeah.

09:04.80
charukaarora
1 more? Yeah yeah.

09:18.90
sarah
So good at this and I know exactly what I’m doing and and literally like all the years of trying all kinds of different things and magically absolutely so it gave me so many important skill sets. So whether it was you know learning art history which at the time I thought was quite a useless degree because neither did I want.

09:24.55
charukaarora
It gave you skill sets.

09:36.84
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah.

09:37.69
sarah
Ah, teach art history nor did I want to own ah an art gallery. So why is that art history. No one really knows it’s only because I love art but I never thought about like practically what does this get. But now that I have that art history degree. It seems so convenient. Everyone’s like oh how convenient you know.

09:46.40
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah.

09:55.52
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah, you did.

09:56.19
sarah
You have this art history degree I’m like I mean sure now it seems really good. Um, and then I went back to school for 2 years I studied interior design. Um I did I did I didn’t want to so when I was working with my dad. This is very negative perception towards like um, you know this quota put board housewife perception.

10:14.82
charukaarora
Um, yes, yes, yeah, we you were married by then you are yeah.

10:15.97
sarah
Um, that oh she’s just sitting like a board housewive. So she’s becoming a teacher designer because I realized I was good at it I was like let me not ah no I Was’t I just is therefore want to be perceived like that like is doing this for fun. So I would.

10:32.32
charukaarora
Yeah.

10:33.14
sarah
Women who were so accomplished in their field. But anytime you spoke to them they would say I’m not formally trained but I’ve worked with so I didn’t want that Asteriskx to be there next to my name I wanted to just say I’m an a teacher designer.

10:39.43
charukaarora
Um, yes, yes, um.

10:46.74
sarah
So after studying for 4 years and working for 5 years I went back to school for 2 years I did my teacher design degree and then I started up and it’s been ten years since

10:54.20
charukaarora
10 years since what did you have did you study because this is another because I feel like creative skills again when we’re trying to counter some of our own limiting beliefs or stereotypes. There are a lot of things that we tend to do.

11:10.11
sarah
Yeah.

11:11.90
charukaarora
Like I like you said you wanted um to prove a point. Let’s say being a woman that you could make something and that could be a driving force and I I Really think that was also for myself because I felt like I always felt very passively as a woman as a girl, a baggage or something that like you know, Um, when you look At. When you feel that look on people’s face your parents’ family where okay they have to take care of something and you do not you never nobody wants to feel like that and I feel that feeling has always or how women just passively are treated in in the world in our cultures. In our countries. Um, that became a very big driving force but also in in the similar context I Feel a lot of creative people feel like this limiting belief that they have to come from a certain degree to be able to call themselves professionally something. Did you have that in you at that point.

12:09.23
sarah
So I’m a huge like nerd and I was always really good at school so studying is not something that I ever shied away from so I always studied more than I was supposed to I always did like 20 more courses than what was required of me so I don’t think that that necessarily applies to me.

12:25.30
charukaarora
Um.

12:27.82
sarah
But I’m so happy to see the direction in which education is moving because you can learn by doing you can learn by experience and that’s such a powerful way of learning as well. You’re not limited to now I have to get this many marks or I have to you know, have Xyz ticked off. And I’m glad that educators and education as a whole is evolving so much.

12:49.27
charukaarora
Um, know what was um, what were the initial years for you I remember you also sharedd on Instagram Monday which was very also again I think these reminders are very important like you started by by doing these small bathrooms in rooms.

12:52.25
sarah
How yeah. Yeah, yeah.

13:06.00
charukaarora
And then you are now doing these huge properties all over the world. This is a huge journey but also a lot of times we see the front we see the facade that we’re seeing today but nobody really goes deep down and see okay where someone is coming from and I think another leo to it is if you come from a privileged background.

13:23.65
sarah
Um, yeah.

13:25.53
charukaarora
And I think we’re all privileged here. Um a lot of times people tend to overlook and also I think another layer is women because if you’re a woman they feel oh you might have someone backing you or there would be a father a husband or she doesn’t have she’s just doing you know all of those things.

13:40.52
sarah
What.

13:42.57
charukaarora
Can you can you share about your own experiences through these these feelings and questions and your early years

13:46.51
sarah
So I’ll start with the first part to it which is what the early years were like it was really bad I was only given signal bathrooms to do I used to call I crowned myself the toilet Queen because no one trusts bedroom for a while.

13:56.99
charukaarora
Um, okay.

14:03.34
sarah
So I just did 1 toilet then that guy would tell his friend that she does very good toilets and so I did 1 more toilet that I did 1 more toilet then suddenly like get toilets in my portfolio. But at that point I have literally done a ph d on toilets and plumbing now.

14:13.00
charukaarora
Yeah.

14:19.59
sarah
So I’m so grateful for those experience. It took me so long for someone I think it was 4 years into my career when someone gave me my first full residential project to do so there was a lot of grind and a lot of hustle and a lot of hours and tears and I definitely did not do this.

14:27.78
charukaarora
Okay.

14:38.80
sarah
In any kind of a shortcut so coming to the second part of what you are asking is that because we are all from privilege background and because I come from a family which has a 130 year legacy. The perception is that this girl must have had it so easy every still opened up for her and I want to partially say yes.

14:51.39
charukaarora
Um, you do? Yeah yeah, yes.

14:57.32
sarah
Because when I walked into a room if I say I’m from the eaggs family of course the client is going to respond to that better. You know, but having said that I never took us because I was so keen to prove this point on my own I never I have never taken a single project lead from my father or my family or from eer g’s. Apart from the first client who I met through esag gs after that I was very clear that I wanted to do it on my own. So my poor father um in the sweetest way tried a million times to ask me like beta I have this very big house. They’re dying for an interior designer. Will you take it. And I had so much pride I used to just say no and I used to go back to doing my single toilets because I really wanted to do this all on my own and this again comes back to me wanting to prove a point me prove that I’ve got it going on and I will do this on my own and I own.

15:38.77
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

15:41.39
charukaarora
Yeah. Yeah.

15:49.60
sarah
Come out from the shadow of isaggis which is the path that I think if you’re in a multigenerational business really understand um that while it’s a blessing. It’s also so much pressure more so I have what 30 years of heritage and legacy and I’m supposed to live up to all of that somehow you know.

15:54.20
charukaarora
Um, yeah I So yeah.

16:04.31
charukaarora
Now.

16:07.35
sarah
And that’s so much pressure. So I actually try to run away from it most of my life. Um, instead of embracing it and now I embrace it fully anything that I can use to my advantage I’m like sure if this makes you feel happy to know then I’m very happy to the other thing that I’ve struggled with is because people assume.

16:10.40
charukaarora
Said.

16:25.74
sarah
That I have been brought up with a silver spool because you know we live in South Bomba and always had certain luxuries. Um that I will not be motivated to work hard that I’ll just you know, relaxing wanting to chill in sanra pay somewhere on the beach.

16:34.74
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

16:40.30
sarah
But that’s really not true again like I work really really hard because I really want to build all of this for myself. Um I it doesn’t even matter what my husband does or what my father does like this is like a me myself and I scenario I Want to really build this on my own for me and my kids. Yeah.

16:54.98
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah, and how do you think has you? um, being a woman. Um, and also I think something that’s really really twisted is being an ambitious woman. Um, specifically when you’re married your you let’s say. You have children and I think you’ve you’ve crossed both those milestone you’re not only married you have two young children and a thriving business and you’re continuing to grow and you know I think I can only see you all these years that your voice has gone stronger your perspectives have grown stronger and your work has gotten sharper in the sense of how you putting it out there.

17:14.55
sarah
Um, yeah.

17:32.67
charukaarora
And that ambition always shows. Um, but in a culture like us women and ambitious you know it’s like who’s a good good girl and like you know there’s so much guilt around like if you’re wanting too much doing too much. Um, have you have you had any of those experiences.

17:49.96
sarah
So Many I think before I got married though. So I think before I got married Um, even in relationships with men. Um, they would initially be attracted to the fact that I was this very outspoken and you know badass woman who is always very ambitious. But when they actually realized how ambitious I was it used to scare a lot of people away and they used to feel very overwhelmed which obviously I’ve realized now stems from their own insecurity. Um that I’m going to Shine brighter or something you know stupid like that. But I have married a very very wonderful man who is.

18:20.75
charukaarora
Are.

18:26.13
sarah
But his only goal in life is that he needs to be the best version of himself and he wants me to be the best version of myself and it has been a truly liberating experience and I really think this is how important women are in your life. So for him in his life his grandmother. My husband.

18:40.57
charukaarora
Okay, yeah.

18:43.49
sarah
Sixty years old so you can imagine how old his grandmother. She’s passed but grandmother would be she had five kids and worked a 9 to 5 job in a bank so she dropped her 5 kids off to school and from a conservative muslim hides rabadi family and ah.

18:56.89
charukaarora
Ok.

18:59.78
sarah
But married to my husband’s grandfather. The only condition of the marriage is that she would not only complete her education but also get her masters so that the level of how progressive they are where it is like a man versus woman. It’s like everyone be well educated and everyone needs to chase their career and so.

19:07.65
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

19:18.91
sarah
Was I married into that. Um, for me, my business has grown a lot since I got married and I yeah um I like tapped into this like extremely like psychotically ambitious person and I’m not afraid of showing that side of mine at all because.

19:22.32
charukaarora
I was about to ask that as well.

19:37.31
sarah
I’m in a relationship which encourages me to do that and I love it.

19:41.15
charukaarora
Because a lot of time I think not only like of course a lot of artists but also in general a lot of across industries women have this fear and this is you know I remember um.

19:49.33
sarah
Yeah, yeah.

19:53.74
charukaarora
I I Really do not participate in such conversations anymore. But when I just entered into the arts I’m thirty plus now single and unmarried of course. Um and I remember that when I just I was around the certain group and there was this conversation going and.

20:13.70
charukaarora
Which was around like they wouldn’t get married or they wouldn’t have children because they don’t want to kill their careers and it really took me back because I was like you know and I am someone who’s not even sure about getting married or even having that. But that’s a completely a different reason. Um, but.

20:19.47
sarah
Ah.

20:30.80
charukaarora
Just because the the idea that women if they want to have a career or if they want to get something they really have to hold themselves back of being you know, being in a relationship or having children did you have any of those experiences where you fell like and you’ve been a mother for twice now and it’s.

20:49.62
sarah
So I think it’s an anomaly for me because of the family I married into I see it with so many women in my own family whether it’s you know cousins or relatives where the women are really smart and very driven and even with certain friends I’ve seen it.

20:49.70
charukaarora
I’m sure it must not be easy.

21:06.36
sarah
But because their husbands and their situation does not like again quote unquote allow them First of all the whole concept is very very outdated to allow someone to work. But that’s little works in our society that you have to allow a given permission. So.

21:11.83
charukaarora
Um, and yeah.

21:16.69
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

21:22.87
sarah
My family my mom in law has also worked her entire life. So when I had my first kid I took like a two day maternity break and with my sick. Yeah I delivered on a Friday morning I took Saturday Sunday off. So Thursday I went into labor that was one day off Friday I delivered the baby second day off.

21:29.51
charukaarora
Wow.

21:41.46
sarah
Saturday Sunday I recover at home and Monday I was back on my calls so it was for my mother who comes from a more traditional setup. She found it so weird she was like how can this but for my mother in law because she my husband like their whole family is very progressive.

21:48.91
charukaarora
Yeah, how can you do this.

21:58.81
sarah
For them. They didn’t even hesitate. In fact, my mother was calling my motherlaw being like please can you tell your daughter know something like what is she doing you know and my mother working Sh her shoulders that said, yeah sure it’s her line. Let her do if she’s comfortable I have no problems with anything like genuinely so very rare and.

22:04.84
charukaarora
And.

22:11.54
charukaarora
Yeah.

22:15.90
sarah
The only reason why my husband is so progressive is because of the women in his life. So and everyone always says ah for women who have careers that the most important decision you make in your career is the man you marry it is because there are so many insecure men out there who will make you choose.

22:18.30
charukaarora
Yeah.

22:27.29
charukaarora
Yeah.

22:34.59
sarah
Between having a kid or having a career and especially when kids pop out then they have this expectation key up to now it was okay, but now it’s right here now you have to be a mother and a mother school and a mother is whatever, whatever, whatever you know so that.

22:43.66
charukaarora
Um, you go? Okay, yeah yeah.

22:52.60
sarah
When the colors really change for most husbands and many many many husbands That’s when they really start bringing out this whole month her topic. Yeah yeah.

23:00.14
charukaarora
1 sec let me just send my dog they they have to go back home later Hanna turned like they his school ki with to pla just pertu it sorry yes.

23:17.26
sarah
No problem.

23:19.28
charukaarora
Um, there’ll be just one sec of noise Kimo i.

23:22.13
sarah
Yeah I made I.

23:31.30
charukaarora
Yeah, and day. Yeah.

23:41.10
charukaarora
That is so true because and I think this is so um, this is still and I think even though we know a lot of this. There’s so many women who um, really do feel that way and they feel like they have to make a choice because they cannot.

23:56.78
sarah
Probably do have to make the choice. That’s why that’s why anything like that because that is the reality that they expected to drop everything they will be expected to compromise on their careers and they will be expected to sit at home. So the only reason why.

23:58.20
charukaarora
Um.

24:02.94
charukaarora
Yeah.

24:11.22
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

24:14.35
sarah
Have the privilege of having such a loud and clear voice is because of my marriage situation. Otherwise even I have to ah be allowed to work or you know be in one of the scenarios which is not uncommon and it doesn’t matter what? ah.

24:20.51
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah.

24:29.20
sarah
Strata Society what City whether you know people feel like or only happens in rural areas. Not at all it much happens in our Urban cities as well or people like it happens only in a specific class I disagree it happens at every class right? from the lowest to the highest class. The expectation remains exactly the same. It’s just about.

24:34.22
charukaarora
Um, you know? yeah.

24:47.62
sarah
How progressive you really are.

24:48.17
charukaarora
And okay, you know there’s another flip side to this when I think the amount of multitasking women. We as women tend to do sometimes it. It does bring the best out of us but also gets a tool I am I’ve seen so many mothers my my my own.

24:57.68
sarah
Ah, yeah.

25:07.85
charukaarora
Cousins sisters where they then they do one I think 1 common struggle I’ve seen where they feel like they’ve subdued one part of them since let’s say they’ve taken the rules of mothers or whatever. Um, so that they leave one part behind and some women who try to do more. They feel like um. They’re trying to juggle so many roles and trying to do everything so perfectly that sometimes they feel like they are carrying this this um huge package on themselves and they really don’t find that time for themselves or just feel over exhausted in all of those things. How what is the doing on it.

25:43.14
sarah
But I think otherhood in a nutshell I don’t think anyone is cruising through it even whether you have a supportive husband or you don’t um I think that’s just life I’m overwhelmed all the time because I’m always juggling a million things whether it’s. You know the kids the dog the work. The husband the family the social commitments the gym my own mental health my own time that I would like to take off It’s always a jungle and a struggle I don’t think anyone ever has it figured out but having said that because women are so superior multitasking just literally.

26:14.38
charukaarora
Yeah.

26:18.10
sarah
Psychologically. Biologically we’re wired to do it our whole lives. That’s another why I think women are so much better equipped in positions of power because we’re really able to switch roles and switch gears and switch our minds so fast and so quickly.

26:21.51
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah.

26:29.79
charukaarora
Last and quick. Yeah.

26:32.96
sarah
Yeah, and I didn’t say this with so many men that I interact with like if they’re on one task. It’s literally just that with laser focus. They’re not even able have a conversation at yeah, they they really can’t do it.

26:39.69
charukaarora
Yes, left and right? yeah I Just love how women like we as women can not only be at our work but while being at work. They know exactly what they’re you know what’s happening at their um house and families the food, the children like.

26:54.93
sarah
Wow. Well the group.

26:57.70
charukaarora
If you care about it. You really women really make sure that they’re looking after it versus.

27:03.27
sarah
So I had a Zoom call I’m mean ah no, not Zoom I had a in-person meeting today with clients for a design presentation. They were in my office for about 3 hours I got like 6 phone calls from different ah nannies that are there in my house because there’s like 8 kids in my house doing a playdate. So I was keeping my eyes on that while I was like in this meeting and in the office like I had explained you with my dog and my younger kid so my brain is always in like you know mill directions and I know even for my husband if he’s on a Zoom call and my daughter walks in.

27:22.43
charukaarora
Um, ah.

27:29.47
charukaarora
Views dear and there.

27:36.79
sarah
He gets so thrown off by it. But for me I have one kid in my hand 1 dog at my leg. My hand is tight and I’m on the call at the same time and I’m fine. So I’m always is up with him like hey like what’s the problem but I really realize that it’s the multitasking aspect that for a lot of men.

27:38.93
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

27:43.38
charukaarora
Well yeah.

27:53.78
sarah
It’s just not biologically and psychologically a brain is just not wired.

27:57.36
charukaarora
Yeah, no I think that’s really true I Really think and I think that is why and I also think this is something to do with also being creative I Really don’t feel like women and women creative women ah women get tend to get more creative with how when they have too much on their plate and.

28:03.77
sarah
Yeah, yeah.

28:14.93
charukaarora
We are good multitaskers but also having I think having a very fluid approach to things I think that also really adds on to things okay tell me something How can you take me through your own experience of building sigs. Um, you started as a small firm.

28:21.80
sarah
Yeah I agree completely.

28:32.39
sarah
Yeah.

28:34.36
charukaarora
And all through these years you’ve you’ve not only you know I think it is easier when you’re doing small projects because again those challenges are smaller but the more bigger you get the bigger ambition and as as you go get closer the challenges get really trickier.

28:42.90
sarah
Yeah.

28:51.83
sarah
Yeah, and the stakes are higher and the pressure is much for sure. Um, so I think for a while I have decided that I don’t want to be the best designer in the world I wanted 1 ethical business. It’s true.

28:53.32
charukaarora
Yes, yes, can you talk about that.

29:06.23
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah.

29:08.23
sarah
Um, I won’t consider myself to be like you know the Picasso of my generation or like you know the really ah earth-shattering interior designer. My goal is to run a successful business which is making me lots and lots of money. Um, which is scalable. And where every single client has walked away super happy with a high quality product. So why I am a creative person I think I have now more ta into the fact that I would like to be a businesswoman and that’s what I have myself as now so is.

29:29.80
charukaarora
Yeah.

29:38.51
charukaarora
Um, yes, yeah yeah.

29:42.28
sarah
A creative person I would think very differently. So if I have a project. Um, you know I would really be pushy about making sure that all of my ideas. Go forward even if the client doesn’t like those ideas I would push those ideas onto them because I creatively want the entires thing to look in a specific right? if I’m a business owner that it would be.

29:48.77
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

29:55.54
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah.

30:01.68
sarah
Yes I have these are my ideas but at the end of the the day I will toe the line to find where the client feels happy and make sure that cross that line so they ah are so different and even if I’m a creative person I’ll only take on like very few projects so that I can fully creatively immerse myself in each.

30:06.74
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah.

30:20.58
sarah
But as a business person I can take on more projects and um, you know find a way to make every project look good and different without using myself in the creative process of each So ah, the approach has been really different. So since I am now a business owner and no longer designer.

30:26.34
charukaarora
Yeah, right.

30:37.38
charukaarora
Um, yeah, yeah, how has that shift been Actually this is a huge learning curve Huge learning curve. Yeah.

30:39.67
sarah
Um, things I I mean yeah, it is It is so I think I always saw myself as a designer earlier and now I don’t even call myself that like I own an interior design practice and I’m a Businesswoman Um, and.

30:52.94
charukaarora
He added.

30:56.17
sarah
I think for a lot of people. They still haven’t understood the difference between the 2 Um, and so yeah, there’s a you. There’s a huge. It’s a mindset shift I focus a lot of energies on business development on my marketing on setting up systems and processes on accountability in my office.

30:57.51
charukaarora
Yeah, but this huge minds mid shift.

31:14.63
sarah
On making sure we have things like good Hr policies in Place. We have good employee policies in Place. We have everything very structured my involvement has to start decreasing as time goes on so that I can focus my energies on more big picture things. And so yeah, just looked at it like a business and a business model and seen where the holes are and where I need to plant them.

31:38.10
charukaarora
And tell me something What is your personal. You’ve spoken about really um, the outcomes of this. Let’s also talk about the emotional turmoil that goes behind this. It’s like um, you know how metaphors this is like how a butterfly out of a cocoon because.

31:55.42
charukaarora
When I think when we’re as young designers young creatives. It is so much about me who I am who I want to be versus once you start to take it as a business and you understand that you are just not a creative but you are also ah in the business of creativity. Let’s say.

32:12.51
sarah
Yeah.

32:14.34
charukaarora
And I I love this because I also use it on my Instagram which is in the business of art and art of business because I feel like it is both ways when you are in the business of art or something like that. It’s you have to understand that you how do you extend yourself beyond yourself. Um.

32:28.59
sarah
Yeah.

32:31.49
charukaarora
I Remember when I was young in the sense of when I started I felt like I had if it wasn’t done by me wouldn’t be the best or.

32:39.26
sarah
I agree completely. So like the first four or five years of my career when I was that toilet queen ah part of it was also I used to not let any other designers either meet the client or do anything creatively.

32:45.95
charukaarora
Um.

32:51.49
sarah
I Used to only give them the grant to work to do so like you know they can make some very basic drawings or do some really like ah bad amount of work that will be anyone can do it any kind of Junior designer can do it I So possessive because I’m like it’s mine I’m the creative I’m the headed. You know if I don’t.

33:04.99
charukaarora
Yes, yes, Yes, yeah, yeah, and also like yes this because it is about you from now it is about your own company. It is just not you.

33:11.80
sarah
And it’s gonna turn out so bad. It’s all about me and then when I.

33:23.34
sarah
I agree. Um yeah I completely agree and I think now like for me money is honestly a really big driver I would like to be able to um, have a certain amount of money. Um, and that’s just become the goal for me. Really.

33:23.58
charukaarora
It’s welcome that to this.

33:40.71
sarah
And again I think for a lot of people. They may feel shy about saying that or talking about that. But for me, it’s okay I recognize that that’s a really big driver for me and if happy clients means more money for me then that’s exactly what I’m going to focus my energies on that I would like to keep all my clients. Super super happy.

33:45.81
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

33:59.55
sarah
And of course there’s a lot of job satisfaction. Also I want to have a legacy I Want to build a brand that actually has some values and ethics and morals I Definitely want to do all of that as well. But yeah I like.

34:10.52
charukaarora
And what about um, how about building a from being a solo creative to now being a business owner that runs a team I Think that’s also a huge learning curve that a lot of creative people. Um, and also as stated like a lot of people feel like oh women are not good. Um, let’s say team Leaders. You can’t build good teams and like you know all of those things have you had what what were your own limiting beliefs when did you have any actually.

34:38.90
sarah
No I think I’m I’ve always been good in leadership positions even from my school days. You know I was always in leadership positions whether it was in like my high school or my college I think that as I do have very strong leadership capacities because I. I Listen to the human aspect of what it is so like. For example, when I’m hiring people. It is not the portfolio that Matters. It’s whether that’s a nice person or no so a very killer about just making sure that everyone also emotionally feels happy when they’re in a workspace and.

35:05.48
charukaarora
Okay.

35:11.98
charukaarora
Yeah.

35:14.67
sarah
Never had any of those limiting Beliefs I Think my limiting belief was more about not will I be a good leader. It was more like um should I Really do it I don’t know if I want it? Um I always felt a bit shy about owning it and saying yes I really want it. Yes I Really want to do it.

35:25.21
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

35:32.98
sarah
And now I’ve let go of that now I openly say it and as as every year I was saying I try and evolve and be more vocal and more clear about what I want and I don’t want. It’s just been that So now because I’m more in touch with what I really want I Really want all those things and I think with every year.

35:47.44
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

35:50.72
sarah
As we’ve grown as a company as we’ve grown as a firm as we get more opportunities and we will continue to grow and get even more opportunities. That’s the part that I love like I’m actually seeing the fruits of all of my hard work and it just feels incredible. It makes me so motivated to want to do more.

36:06.53
charukaarora
Now let’s talk about something that I’m always curious how you you manage your day to day life like you know, um how I love the fact that you know I have I I have you so like I’ve always I remember when I was in the early years I always thought I never wanted to do a.

36:09.43
sarah
Um, yeah, um.

36:26.90
charukaarora
Ah, regular 9 to 5 job where I had to um, go to an office and something and I remember when I was even getting plays and you know I just hated the fact because I felt like I when even work from home wasn’t a trend I really always enjoyed that and i. I love the liberty of working as by my own moods and I always thought that I wanted to if as a woman because that I think as women we were raised with this idea. Okay, um I never wanted to let’s say leave something behind and go to work and just be. Not there I have always envisioned myself in a place where I’d rather work twice harder but try to you know, have a life that is not about choosing 1 or 2 you for yourself. Have really created this life. Are you? Also you’re a mother but it’s not like um you be I think. We’re forced to compartmentalize our lives. You know you go to office and your whole day behind there and then your children are back and oh I I have huge separation anxiety when it comes to my dogs let alone children I feel so guilty when I feel like if I’m not around or if I leave them behind.

37:30.60
sarah
I can click in. Yeah.

37:39.90
charukaarora
Ah, you know things like that can you talk about a little bit about and also how you know because the thing is that I think if a man was doing this. It would feel like oh oh,, That’s so nice. But as a woman if you do it every mark every move that you make it feels like oh this is this. She’s not as serious about it. Oh. Um, she’s not able to um, tap on leave her children behind so she’s you know there’s so many things there’s never a right way to do it.

38:04.17
sarah
Yeah, so that’s what the key learning is is that I have always learned that there is never a right way initially because I am a people pleaser by nature. Okay, that’s just why I’m at my core I want everyone to like me.

38:18.75
charukaarora
Um, open.

38:21.50
sarah
But I have also started to let go of that because if you are having a negative reaction to me or something I’m doing That’s your problem. That’s not my I’m doing what I can do and I can control what I am doing but if you are unhappy that that’s something That’s a you problem. That’s not a me problem.

38:25.24
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah.

38:38.63
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

38:38.91
sarah
So I have felt very very judged very often for a lot of my choices then at the same time those same people will turn around and be like oh my god you’re amazing I don’t know how you did it. So since you are not married I would share this with you I was older when I got married so I was 30 plus when I got married and um.

38:54.73
charukaarora
Saving it.

38:57.58
sarah
When we’re in I’m from a community of muslims called Boris which is a very conservative community where if you’re 25 you’re considered like a dinosaur here for marriage so at 30 the fact that I was not married like people were like oh know. Yeah, so.

38:59.98
charukaarora
Um, look more ok more I’m still there I’m with you with you? Yeah, um.

39:13.70
sarah
But like this chick is like lost cause and you know like really written off as this leg reject. So at that point I was working super hard. Okay, because I got 2026 I started my teacher design company and like I told you the first four years 26 to 30 I was really really like doing the grind and at that point I got.

39:20.33
charukaarora
Okay.

39:33.67
sarah
So Many negative comments from relatives being like what is she going to do. She’s just going to keep working working. There’s no Point. Nobody even knows what she’s doing. She’s just ah if she works like this no man is ever going to toidate her and it’s just totally. But then I met my husband I got married those same relatives turned around and they were like. Wow Amazing How she manages working so hard hat manages her husband and then like what the hell guys like the same person now just because I’ve done this like society accept the thing of getting this husband now everyone amazing me like so I got so worked out by that.

39:51.21
charukaarora
Um, still like.

40:02.66
charukaarora
Um, yeah, because this was like this this like a mile go on.

40:09.17
sarah
Yeah, because now look up like this. Yeah like this good girl who’s also gotten married and like ticks this big box. So everyone is like wow look at her you know. So after that experience now I’m just unbothered and also um I literally do whatever I feel like so I had 1 very interesting experience in my office.

40:25.89
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah.

40:29.16
sarah
Were pitching to do so we don’t do a lot of offices though. We’ve done some beautiful ones and I would love to do more office projects because we’re really good at them. Um, there was 1 corporate client that came in ah a man like a hardcore corporate guy from a wealth management firm. So like corporate money. Okay.

40:42.81
charukaarora
Okay, yes.

40:46.88
sarah
Ah, like finance you can imagine like the most hardcore corporate person and he wanted to get his office done and like super largely or six and a half seven Thousand Square foot office. He comes to my office I have 1 kid that’s like shrieking crying shouting playing with toys in my office and I have my dog who’s running.

40:52.41
charukaarora
Okay, so.

41:03.32
charukaarora
Ah.

41:06.80
sarah
Absolutely wild and this guy has come at that time and I ended up having to sit on the floor during the meeting and play a puzzle with my daughter while I was talking to him. Okay, and I remember thinking in the meeting I really wanted to get this project being like I have not got this project for you know because you know.

41:14.12
charukaarora
Okay.

41:22.51
charukaarora
Um, yes, yes, yes.

41:25.71
sarah
Arthur had a perception of him being this very hardcore corporate guy and I’m sitting on the floor literally cross leg with no shoes on in my office with the door going psycho and this daughter forcing me to sit with her and do the puzzle and he walks out from that meeting having signed the project with me and so. That also shifted my perceptions like maybe I am only projecting what’s normal and what’s not normal. He’s not judging me I have only judged myself so again like you know it’s a me problem like I have already negative energy being like oh god like this guy is going to think that this girl is so unprofessional.

41:47.31
charukaarora
Um, predicting. Yeah yeah, me that myself? yeah.

42:01.32
sarah
So again, professional is whatever you want it to be um what he later told me that he loved Ah how cary I was with my daughter and that I was able to bring my daughter to work and he wishes that he could do that and he also told me that his wife had to choose between her career and her daughter.

42:04.30
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

42:14.94
charukaarora
With me.

42:18.69
sarah
And he’s so grateful to see women who are bringing their kids into work and working with them. So it’s so different. You know so like again like it’s whatever you make of it. It’s not about the other person’s judgment. And yeah, you it can be whatever you want it to be so I’ve just started setting my own rules my own parameters for what works for me and what does it.

42:25.85
charukaarora
I Love that? yeah.

42:37.62
sarah
And basically just been like I Really don’t care about the rest.

42:41.35
charukaarora
Yeah, and it does get messy and you have to get craft you a lot of times but tell me something you know and that’s cut that comes me, you know, um a lot of my own team is remotely working and we’re all women. Um we have a very like not intentionally but also intentionally.

42:51.57
sarah
That.

42:58.20
charukaarora
Because we’re a women focused community but also I think I just love the synergy and all of them are mothers I think we’re 90% mothers and I want ah our our designer right now. She’s pregnant and she’s expecting her second child and I really look at and I genuinely wanted to always see because I know that.

43:02.77
sarah
Okay, nice.

43:18.10
charukaarora
I have seen it in my own family I have seen it in my like let’s my own mothers I think where we’ve seen them that they had to choose 1 over the other and I’ve also been in this corporate world and I continue to be on the parallel having another company being there and I see that it is so I think just the. Noji is so different when we’re sitting in a meeting whether they’re all and men and they’re so like you said they’re just always so hyper focused on 1 thing and I see this see this team of mind with their mother. They they have a family and you know it’s so and I you know when I was speaking to 1 of my friend and he happened to.

43:38.21
sarah
Yeah.

43:55.90
charukaarora
Crossover one of our meetings and he was like so you know 1 my associate editor and my designer you all have they all have children and you know we’re in middle of this meeting and 1 child comes in and he’s like oh I want this and she’s like okay so like they’ve never seen for them. It just did it felt so abrupt. Because having a meeting where children are around and they’re talking and they’re trying to multitask and we’re like okay, why don’t you go back home or you know why don’t you cook food and come back in the meanwhile I will you know I will focus on this and and I feel like it is such a different way of working with However I’ve worked so far and it.

44:22.17
sarah
Um, yeah.

44:31.68
charukaarora
It it does get hard sometimes because we are all juggling and also taking taking over each other’s load. But also it just gives me so much inspiration. The fact that when I look at my designer today and like how she’s managing being having an child but also working through having being alone um, having a small kid.

44:51.73
charukaarora
Someday it’s not I think that’s just the own projection when I see them I’m like if we can make this happen for one we can make this happen for all and it’s we no longer have to choose 1 or the other.

44:59.10
sarah
Um, let yes I agree with that completely and and I think that’s what it is right is that we all want to have it all. Um, and that’s exactly the way that you have to do it. No one is going to give it to you. You just have to take it and you have to claim it. And you have to own it and then that’s how it’s going to come to you because the kind of world that we live In. We do have to fight so much prejudice. So many different people’s perceptions and unless you are going to take it into your own hands. It’s literally no one is going to do this for you.

45:32.32
charukaarora
I love that. I love that okay 1 last question since you’re this ambitious I love this enrity I think I love the ambition when the mission of specifically for at least I again like I’m saying I’ve said this since the beginning for me ambition is only not how much.

45:36.44
sarah
Yeah.

45:52.00
charukaarora
We ah at a cost of what I think I think I keep keep asking myself this at a cost of what I do there are days where we would like to work more but at some point um you want to? ah you want to know what is the wholesome life that you’re ah you want.

45:53.32
sarah
Yeah.

46:07.38
sarah
Yeah, yeah.

46:09.57
charukaarora
Now what is that you looking at for 2024 what are your own um goals and ambitionsions.

46:17.79
sarah
That’s such a good question. So for 2024 I want to focus on growing my business overseas from I’ll start with all of the business goals I really want to start focusing energies on the Middle East and Saudi Arabia and getting a lot of high businesses solidified there. As well as obviously catering to my indian clientele that is already there I would also like to focus on doing much larger projects. So currently, our largest project is like twenty Thousand Square foot house I would want at least a couple of more thirty Thousand Square foot spaces that we’re doing.

46:51.24
charukaarora
Yeah.

46:53.22
sarah
Um, a lot more commercial spaces as well I would have to do that for 2024 um on the personal front I think I would want to take out a lot of time for myself with the two kids I find it very difficult to be alone. Not I not want to. It’s that I don’t get a chance to.

47:08.61
charukaarora
Um, yeah, and i’ still yeah oh she’s yeah oh.

47:13.20
sarah
I Just last thing you should do it for you. You your baby? Um, yeah, so yeah.

47:25.58
charukaarora
I’m not going to get this cut none of this. Ah, it’s going to be just as this is.

47:32.80
sarah
Um, so personal fred I want to be alone. So for this year’s birthday. They want to take an alone trip I just want to be alone. That’s like my dream for this year is to spend more time alone. Um and focus a lot on my fitness which is my real affection and life. Um.

47:37.16
charukaarora
Okay I Love more.

47:44.90
charukaarora
Okay, you are of oh my God I have seen your journey all through this pregnancy God I would like.

47:51.70
sarah
Yeah, yeah, Um, so I’m not a religious person I’m agnostic I don’t believe that there’s just one religion that gets you you know to closer to your spiritual um attainment or whatever that is um. But for me working out is my religion. It is my truest way of getting that So every day for 1 hour. All I do when I’m working out is I think of all the amazing things I have in my life. Everything I’m grateful for and then I imagine everything that’s coming for me.

48:11.64
charukaarora
Villama.

48:25.12
sarah
And that’s why I think like manifestation is something that’s very powerful for me because of workout and every day for 1 hour that’s all I do like I’m just my mind is worrying and I’m imagining everything like it’s already there in my hands. So yeah I would love to continue doing that and I would love to travel but not too much I think I have a lot of.

48:26.33
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah.

48:39.00
charukaarora
Um, um, you already travel I Think what we um tend to miss out is when we say travel you already do travel I think travel for your own self traveling where we.

48:43.62
sarah
Um, yeah.

48:50.69
sarah
Um, yeah, yeah.

48:54.20
charukaarora
Yeah I think in the world like today traveling has become like we have this conscious or if I’m going here. Let me see if I making I can make a meeting or do some work or do some research and it feels like this we have to be productive all the time.

49:02.70
sarah
You have? yeah.

49:09.72
sarah
I agree I agree and I think also for me because like we’ve discussed already how much multitasking happens. My brain is always very switched off which is why I feel like alone time you know then I can I Just don’t feel like I’m truly switching off. Ah, even if I’m at home.

49:17.40
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

49:23.49
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

49:25.11
sarah
Home is more stressful than office for me genuinely like I’d rather be in the office when I’m at home. It’s so overwhelming because like it’s emotionally trading being with two kids and for people who are stay at home Moms I Just don’t know how they do it. It’s so tired difficult.

49:26.28
charukaarora
Yeah.

49:32.89
charukaarora
Um, and yeah.

49:40.23
charukaarora
Um, yeah.

49:41.93
sarah
I find making a working mom easier because I get to leave the house and come here and have my own space and you know do something else and to be twenty four seven with your kids as beautiful and amazing as that is. It’s also very overwhelming and very frustrating and very which I think people don’t get enough credit for.

49:45.62
charukaarora
Um, house. Yeah yeah.

49:55.71
charukaarora
Yeah, yeah, that’s true. Yeah, you yeah yeah, and I think also it’s just not the act of being at home I think.

50:01.77
sarah
They just Dismiss is like as she still just sitting at home. What does she do? It’s for tough. It’s so so so yeah.

50:14.97
charukaarora
I think when a woman is taking that load off so that someone else can go out of that house and do something and not not putting or you know taking a hold on her own dreams and some people are doing it. Um, this is my dream if I ever have children I want to take a year off I really want to do that.

50:18.84
sarah
Us.

50:32.73
charukaarora
But and I think we all have because I’ve been working when I was I started when I was 18 and ever since then. Yeah, it’s been so long that I feel like ah 1 point in my and I have always you know I lost my mom and I’ve had a very dysfunctional family in that situation I always felt like this I want to have this like I’ve had this career and i’m.

50:34.65
sarah
Okay, so that.

50:44.31
sarah
Happens to say.

50:52.13
charukaarora
Very grateful for it. But once in a life I would always want that I can have that one dedicated time to experience that part of life and I think we all have our own ways of um, dealing with things and I think we will as I like you know it said to each its own. We.

50:57.69
sarah
Okay, right.

51:10.41
charukaarora
There are so many stereotypes that we can keep fighting and keep thinking about but also how can we create New Narratives new Visions New parts. Yeah, okay one again I said last but I have one more there are a lot of there are a lot of young women who listen to the podcast.

51:18.40
sarah
Totally Absolutely Yeah, Absolutely okay.

51:29.79
charukaarora
Most of them are creative in their own a lot of artists designers all parts I think um, a lot of the calm I think a lot of the problems remain still the same. Um, it does not matter. You’re ah artists if you’re looking for collectors or a gallery or you’re an interior designer. You’re looking for clients were at the end of the day. Um, I think the problem the root causes remain the same How do we get over these limiting beliefs and how do women specifically in the early years of the career. How do they break that shell. What advice do you have for them.

52:03.65
sarah
Um, it’s been such a long process for me. But I think um as women were also taught to be more quiet and not outspoken. There are very few truly loud and outspoken women and it’s also considered to be like very crass.

52:08.28
charukaarora
Yes.

52:18.32
sarah
To be. You know as a woman to say certain things or do certain things but I would say that that’s where you have to start and just speak your truth um have a voice. Don’t take shit from anybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s day one on your career or day ten or day 1000 um, you need to start believing in yourself and I think it’s really just about belief systems if you truly at your heart believe that you can do it. You will do it if you have doubts and you feel like oh I don’t know if I can do this then it’s not going to happen for you. So whatever it is that you want. Truly truly have that belief and faith that it’s going to happen for you ah work on trying to tap and open that you know bottle for you which allows you to really really feel. It’s going to happen and then now continue to work hard and take everyday steps to make it happen. It’s not just enough to. In your head say oh I’m gonna be a trillion and then like sit on your ass and do nothing right? like it has to be accompanied by real tangible steps that you continue to take in that right direction and finally especially when you’re starting out. Um, just start with small steps but continue to take 1 step every day. Don’t try it.

53:17.60
charukaarora
Now.

53:31.50
charukaarora
Yeah.

53:34.23
sarah
The entire mountain in one day. No one gets there like that you have to pace yourself out and it’s not a race. It’s a marathon so you have to yeah it It really is you know so like you you have to really pace yourself and I really do not compare your progress.

53:44.30
charukaarora
Ah, there.

53:46.44
charukaarora
Man.

53:51.98
sarah
To what you perceive is someone else’s progress. Yeah, especially in this day and age of social media. Um, so even for me like I have peers who have started out their careers with me and they feel come.

53:52.11
charukaarora
My answer. Yeah.

54:05.22
sarah
Completely like blindsided because they feel like oh Sara’s career is taken off because she has all these Instagram followers and mine is still stuck where it is but that should not limit you like you should still need to focus on you ah, just put your blinkers on. Don’t look left or right and who’s doing what.

54:14.38
charukaarora
Now.

54:23.86
sarah
Focus your energies on you and how you can get better and improve and keep learning. Ah.

54:25.87
charukaarora
Yeah, no, that is really a great conversation and excellent advices that we’ve had not only now but I think as in more more and more people offer you and thank you so much for being I know you know whenever I see people sharing. Um, online I’ve got this really sympathetic lens in the sense of because I know how exhausting it is to put ourselves out there like it. It is but also when people do it’s adding so much impact and value to other people because.

54:51.82
sarah
Yeah, it is.

55:00.47
charukaarora
You know when you look at other people’s life and very transparently I think having that honesty in that sense really adds that layer to people. Okay, you know I can learn from this person but also um, it is a hard process. So thank you so much for always um, being putting your word putting your voice um taking that effort and um.

55:19.43
sarah
Consider id.

55:20.43
charukaarora
Told So thank you so much and where can people who are listening to this epic episode where can they find you? Ah how can we support you? How can they connect with you.

55:31.67
sarah
Instagram is a great spot for me I am quite responsive on most days but that’s always a good place to find me so I have my personal page which is Sara am shall and then I have my work page which is eag g is atelier. That’s ESSAJEES.

55:39.97
charukaarora
Perfect. Can you? yeah.

55:50.98
sarah
Attalia a T E L I er.

55:51.28
charukaarora
I will link everything in the show notes of the episode. But thank you so much Sara I really hope you have a good day. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you I’ll just pause I just need a.

55:58.17
sarah
Thank you! Thanks everyone for listening Bye. Thank.


About the Guest(s):
Sarah is the founder and owner of Essajees Atelier, an interior design studio based in Bombay. With over 10 years of experience, Sarah has worked on luxury commercial and residential projects in 12 different cities across the globe. She is also a mother of two young girls and is passionate about animals and fitness.


Episode Summary:
In this episode, Sarah shares her journey as an interior designer and businesswoman. She discusses the struggles she faced in building her career and the importance of self-confidence. Sarah also talks about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry and how she balances her role as a mother and a creative professional. She emphasizes the need to break free from societal expectations and embrace one’s true ambitions. Sarah also highlights the importance of belief systems, taking tangible steps towards goals, and not comparing one’s progress to others.


Key Takeaways:

Self-confidence is key to success and personal growth.
Women can be ambitious and successful in their careers while also being mothers and caretakers.
It is important to believe in oneself and take tangible steps towards goals.
Comparing one’s progress to others can be limiting and discouraging.
Breaking free from societal expectations is essential for personal fulfillment.

Notable Quotes:

“The only thing that’s changed between me fifteen years ago and me today is that my self-confidence and my self-worth and my perception of myself has changed dramatically.”
“You need to start believing in yourself and just speak your truth. Have a voice. Don’t take shit from anybody.”
“It’s not just enough to in your head say, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a trillionaire’ and then sit on your ass and do nothing. It has to be accompanied by real tangible steps.”
“Focus your energies on you and how you can get better and improve and keep learning.”
“Comparing yourself to others should not limit you. Put your blinkers on and focus on your own progress.”

Charuka Arora is the founder of the Arts to Hearts Project and Host of the Arts to Hearts Podcast. She is also an acclaimed Indian artist known for her contemporary embellished paintings. Her unique blend of gouache, collage, embroidery, painting, and drawing explores the intersection of art, culture, heritage, and womanhood. Through her work, she tells stories of female strength and encapsulates them in pieces that can be treasured for generations.

 Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Charuka’s work draws inspiration from Hindu mythology, recognizing women as vessels of Shakti, the cosmic energy. She beautifully portrays powerful goddesses like Durga Maa riding a tiger or lion, symbolizing their unlimited power to protect virtue and combat evil.

Through her art, Charuka invites us into the world of women, showcasing their beauty, strength, and resilience. Her creations not only exhibit exceptional talent but also serve as an inspiration and a symbol of hope for those challenging societal norms.

About Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Arts to Hearts Podcast is a show delving into the lives and passions of renowned artists. From running creative businesses and studio art practices to cultivating a successful mindset, Charuka Arora engages in heartfelt conversations with her guests. Experience your personal happy hour with your favorite artists, right in your studio.

Through candid discussions, Charuka and her guests reveal the joys and challenges of a vibrant creative life, both within and beyond our studios. Get ready to be inspired and uplifted as you tune in.

Sarah Sham

sarah sham

Sarah Sham found Essajees Atelier in 2014 as an extension of her family’s 130-year-old antique dealership. Essajees Atelier is her endeavour to bring this legacy into the 21st century in a manner that marries the functional with the beautiful.

In doing so, she has been careful not to develop a ‘signature style’. This means that every project is a blank canvas, waiting for new ideas to populate it. Today, Essajees Atelier is 80 projects, 30 team members, and closing in on 500,000 Instagram followers strong. They are present in 12 cities domestically and internationally and working on close to 250,000 sqft of commercial and residential spaces.

Sarah hold degrees in Art History from Duke and Oxford University, as well as diplomas in Business Administration from NYU Stern and Interior Design from Rachna Sansad Mumbai.

With her design studio based in Bombay, Sarah has been in the creative field for almost 10 years. Starting her own business has not been a bed of roses, and as a mother of two beautiful girls, Sarah has had multiple roles to juggle. Her time is divided between setting future goals for her company and giving all her love to her family.

Sarah has never been scared of wanting too much, even though her ambitious nature has scared away many men in her life. Before she got married to her husband, she had to face the harsh realities of how strong-willed women are treated and perceived in our society. However, Sarah feels grateful to have found a man who does not get intimidated or overwhelmed by her passions. 

The most important decision you make in your career is the man you marry.

Sarah Sham  – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e05
Image taken from Architect and Interiors India

Building something of her own

Sarah’s realization of her talents as a designer came to light when she was pursued by a client who wanted Sarah to be her interior designer. This client, who came to buy furniture, asked her if she would be her interior designer. At that point, she had tried so many things that she did not feel anxious about trying something new and failing at it. But soon she realized how much she enjoyed the process, and so she went back to school and did her interior design degree.

When we go back to the beginning of Sarah’s career, it was far from a fairy tale as all she did was design bath toilets. It was after 4 years that she got her first residential project, and a lot of tears and hustle went into that initial phase of setting up her brand. With her family’s established business, she had the edge of having clients listen to her, but she took all her projects on her own instead of taking any advantage, which shows integrity and passion. She wanted to come out of the shadow of her family business and prove that she could do it all on her own, and she did!

Being an ambitious woman in a male-dominated society

It did not take Sarah long to figure out that while her outspoken nature proved to be a strength in the business world, it would also repel the men whom she was in a relationship with. It was her husband, who belonged to a family of strong progressive women, who became the ying to her yang and gave her the space she needed to grow unapologetically. 

Sarah is not the only woman who has had to experience this, as this is what every ambitious, career-oriented woman has had to face. Women have to hold themselves back in their relationships so as not to come off as ‘too strong’, something that is still not normalized in the society we live in. However, For Sarah, navigating this path was easier because she comes from a family where so many of the women are smart and driven, and that has given her a strength of its own kind.

Dealing with judgmental people

Sarah believes, that as a woman, there is never a right way to do it. She used to be a people pleaser, but with time she has learned to let that go as it does nothing but drain your energy. And honestly, letting go of such toxic habits should be on everyone’s bingo card this year, not just women!

With this new energy, Sarah does not care about being judged for her choices, something that is the collective experience of every working woman. Being a Muslim, Sarah received judgmental comments from her relatives, and once she got married, the same people turned around in awe of her multitasking abilities and how she could manage it all. This opened her eyes to the fact that she could set her own rules and parameters, and not be bothered by the external noise of how things should or shouldn’t be.

How to be a successful female creative

Women in their early careers are still bound by their limiting beliefs, and they need to break that shell. Sarah thinks that women were always taught to be quiet, and so it’s considered crass for women to say certain things. The only way to get over those limiting beliefs is by staying true to yourself and to not ‘take shit from anyone’.

For Sarah, manifestation is a major part of her daily routine, where she imagines everything good that’s coming for her. Female creatives who ae starting out also need to start believing in themselves, and it will happen for them. Taping into that portal, working hard, and taking everyday tangible steps is the way to go!

It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.

Do not compare your progress.

Sarah Sham  – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e05
Images taken from Essajees Atelier’s website

Everyone has their own struggles, and that’s how life is. But for women, it comes down to them being multitaskers, where both psychologically and biologically they are wired that way. They are able to switch roles and gears, which makes them have a fluid approach to things. This does not mean that women should be held to a higher standard, in fact, they should be provided support at every step of the way instead of being offered unnecessary judgment.

For Sarah, her family gave her that space where she could be whatever she wanted in her own way, and she was able to thrive in that environment! We need more women running businesses, and for that, we need to normalize uplifting women for whatever choices they make! For Sarah, the year 2024 is about spending some ‘me time’ with herself and growing her business oversees, and we love that! You can check out Sarah’s work on her Instagram as well as her official website.

To read up more about Arts to Hearts Podcast and its episodes, click here.


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