Hello readers, Welcome to another edition of Startup Interviews. Today we are publishing an interview with Anita Khatri, CEO & Founder, AKLC.
Let’s get into it!
At a glance
- Startup name: AKLC(Anita Khatri Luxury Consulting)
- Sector: Media & Communications
- Launch Date: 10th May 2013
- Location: Mumbai
- Funding: No
- Team size: 8
Hello Anita, how would you define your brand, and who is it aimed at?
AKLC is one-of-a-kind consultancy firm which helps luxury brands create a footprint in the Indian Market through strategic marketing and communication.
The firm is aimed at facilitating an existing luxury brand in its development as well as any luxury brand which is entering the Indian market.
What was your prime motivation for starting? What were the factors that led you to start the venture?
For more than two decades, luxury brands have been investing in the complex Indian market to establish themselves. I saw a gap (opportunity) for a specialized consultancy and a PR company that luxury brands could work with to help them establish in India. Thus AKLC was born.
After spending 23 years at The Times Group building their luxury division, I was ready to expand my career horizons beyond just serving one company. I also had a strong desire to work on the other side of the business—the client side. My secret wish was to work with one of the top prestigious Swiss watch brands that I admired and so when I found the opportunity to work with Audemars Piguet, I grabbed it.
I was quite clear in my mind that I wanted to work independently and no longer as an employee, so I set up AKLC. Audemars Piguet was AKLC’s first client and that’s how my entrepreneurial journey began.
Soon, other luxury brands started knocking the door, seeking various kinds of marketing and communications services. We were happy to expand our services which now include PR, events management, social media marketing, and any other solutions that luxury brands are looking for, to establish themselves in India.
Could you briefly tell us about the Founders?
I am the Founder & CEO of Anita Khatri Luxury Consultancy Services (AKLC) and I am a Mumbai-based luxury expert. Driven by my passion for luxury, I founded AKLC in 2013. I am also FHH (Fondation De Haute Horlogerie) Mission Delegate, India and Trainer for the watch training program.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in launching your brand?
Entrepreneurship is nothing if not challenging. I, too, have encountered many hiccups and challenges in the four years since I began AKLC. Giving up the security of a well-paying job needs tremendous courage and resilience. One has to fight the temptation to take the easy way out when the boat starts rocking. But I held on my ground and did whatever I could to ensure that AKLC stays afloat.
- Finding the right people is, perhaps, the single most onerous challenge an entrepreneur faces, and I was no different. You want people who are competent, trustworthy, possess integrity and don’t cost a bomb! It takes patience and effort…and some luck too. Fortunately for me, I did find a couple of key personnel early on who helped me keep moving in the right direction.
- It gets lonely at the top and I miss someone senior, a partner who shares my dream. A solo entrepreneur has no one to share the burden of tough times—it gets quite stressful at times.
Who is your Targeted audience?
The CEOs, General Managers and Marketing/Business Heads of Luxury and Premium Brands.
How do you market your startup, and which tactics have been most successful?
Ours is a small boutique consultancy firm. Most of the brands approach us through our network i.e. word of mouth. We haven’t invested in advertising and marketing our services.
Did you experience failures? If so, any key learning’s from them?
So far there isn’t really a failure but what we are still learning is to scale up the business.
Who inspires you?
Life and nature in itself inspire me. If I had to point out an entrepreneur who I admire is Mr.Ratan Tata in India. Internationally, it is Mr.Mark Zuckerberg.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
Each day I make it a practice to learn one thing better than what I already know. It means if I know my weak area is IT or if there is any other knowledge I need to acquire, I make sure I learn something about it before I close for the day. This is to ensure that I am up to date because the markets are changing at a speed that one cannot imagine. With technology growing, what is discovered today may become outdated tomorrow. The life-span of the knowledge itself is short-lived. The ability to learn and unlearn is the key for any successful entrepreneur.
What is something about having a life as a women entrepreneur that most people wouldn’t expect?
Luckily, I have entered the entrepreneurial world when a woman is encouraged and well-received in our society. I don’t see any challenge specifically as a woman entrepreneur.
What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
To stay connected with your people and spend time with them because they are the main touch points for your customer and they will also teach you a lot.