It was in 2000 after a short stint in a multinational advertising agency that Gandhi started her own independent set-up, I Design, in Colaba, Mumbai. Subsequently followed the setting up of I Publish, I Consult, and I Curator, all under the umbrella of Durva Gandhi. The company’s dedicated team of experienced specialists in brand management, design & advertising, aesthetic and consulting strived to provide end-to-end publishing solutions for finished products.
I Design specialises in offering creative design and advertising solutions for a vast spectrum of clientele. It essentially deals with brand management, corporate communication and brand enhancements & endorsements through PR & communication for its clients. The varied clientele includes the numerous art galleries in Mumbai such as Pundole, Chemould and The Fine Art Resource; auction houses like Saffron Art & Bowrings; corporate houses like Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Ducol Dyes and Dispersions, P&O ports, British Council, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Godrej, Mid Day newspaper, India Book House and Garden Silk Mills to name a few. The company has been closely associated with them in their image building, publishing, design and even their day to day activities at various levels.
In line with the aforementioned divisions, I Consult offers aesthetic as well as investment driven consulting in the field of Arts, while it also renders purely aesthetic touches to finished architectural spaces. This requires the art consultant to transcend the aesthetic and financial needs of clients while helping them with their investments in art, build their collections or identifying the gaps in their collections.
I Curate helps acclaimed contemporary Indian artists showcase their works at international galleries in New York, London and other countries across the globe. It aims to create a meaningful content in collaboration with serious and focused artists and artworks that bring critical acclaim and commercial viability to its projects. I Curate has played a vital role in the success of art shows like Atul Dodiya’s ‘The wet sleeves of my paper robe’ for Bodhi, ‘Silent conversation’ for Atmanand Chauhan and ‘Understanding Oneness in Diversity’ — a group show of a cross section of 30 finest contemporary Indian artists.
“We provide seemingly different and yet integrated set of services under arts and design. The journey for most, who work with me, is that of a vertical growth, but I have moved from strength to strength consolidating each skill as we move up. We now plan to scale each one of them, I Design, I Publish, I Consult and I Curate, as unique independent unit that functions in cohesion,” asserted Gandhi.
While talking about how she happened to become an entrepreneur, Gandhi said, “When I started I Design in the year 2000 after a short stint in a multinational advertising agency, I knew for sure that I would either be unemployed or self employed.”
The biggest challenge for any creative person is to get out of its creative domain and consider the larger spectrum which looks into finance, skills, management and technical aspects, quintessential for running an enterprise. “Most creative people are financially constrained and believe it’s their biggest challenge, but the real challenge for me is to crossover from my myopic creative view to the larger growth picture that considers all aspects of a business,” she said. “I think success comes when one is able to easily understand the wider spectrum, and their own strengths & weaknesses,” added Gandhi
From managing the enterprise single-handedly in a small 500 sq ft rented office space, Gandhi & Associates moved to a beautiful 1500 sq ft office of its own with a staff of seven people. This, Gandhi believes, is her biggest achievement as an entrepreneur. Apart from having a network of dealers and distributors in India and abroad, the firm also has design set up in London called Parker & Gandhi, which is operated by a staff of three.
When asked if her company has been recognised for its work, Gandhi promptly replied saying, “All our work is critically acclaimed and very well received. Most of them have been launched by some of the best known people in the industry. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most well-known people on each of the projects. One such project was a coffee table book design for Garden Silk Mills which was co-authored by Ruth Barnes, Rosemary Crill & Stephen Cohen, and published by IBH and launched by Anil and Tina Ambani.”
“My own office space has been featured in at least a dozen papers like Telegraph and The Mint, among others, for aesthetics and design viz, better interiors. I also recently featured in Elle magazine’s 2009 January issue ‘Women to Watch Out For’, which featured young women entrepreneurs,” she boasted.
Gandhi says it’s her vision for her enterprise and the relentless drive for growth that helps her stay buckled on to her rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship. As of now, the firm is coming up with two curated shows in 2010 with some of the best-known international artist and established contemporary Indian names, but there’s going to be a lot more.
Tips for budding entrepreneurs — Running an enterprise is a risk; do it only if you have the passion for it and an unshakable faith in yourself and your abilities.