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Women’s Day Special: Tête-à-Tête with Karyna & Kresha Bajaj

(Last Updated On: June 14, 2019)

KARYNA BAJAJ

You run a roster of successful restaurants in the city. How do you select which ones to bring on board?
“While all our restaurants are very different in concept and style, what’s common among all of them is the entire experience our guests have there. The industry’s expansion is a signal for restaurateurs to develop concepts with individual personalities. All our restaurants, from Hakkasan, which is extremely luxurious, to Yauatcha, our dim sum chatter house, have a place in our guests’ heart. The more recent ones, Nara and CinCin, have a more relaxed and fun vibe where the food is the hero. They place emphasis on exploring Thai and Italian cultures in an approachable manner.”

How do you manage to run so many effectively?
“It’s all about teamwork! If there’s anything the industry teaches you, it’s that empowering your team, learning from them, and ultimately working together to reach your goal are your biggest strengths.”

What’s next on your plate?
“Our goal over the next few years is to always craft and deliver a better experience. We want to ensure that the personality and culture of all our restaurants are being showcased in a fun manner through which we get to explore Chinese, Thai and Italian cuisines.”

You are both successful entrepreneurs in your own right. What made you decide to become that? 
“Our parents started their own journeys by being entrepreneurs in many fields. From a very young age, they instilled that same determination and inspiration in us, encouraged us to think differently, and to follow our interests rather than do something we were expected to. For Kresha, it has been fashion from a very young age as she used to sit in our father’s tailor shop fascinated. She’d learn how the karigars sewed with such beauty and precision by hand. For me, food has always been a passion – and more so as I grew up in a family where hospitality was given a lot of importance. That’s also something I want to excel at through KA Hospitality.”

Do you use Scootsy? Which are the restaurants you order from on Scootsy? Any favourite dishes you order often on Scootsy?
“We love Scootsy – we order everything from a delicious salad from Kitchen Garden to our childhood favourite biryani from Kakori House.”

KRESHA BAJAJ

When and how did you start your fashion journey?
“Ever since I was young, I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to do. The first outfit I sketched – a clown wearing a ball gown – was at the age of 4. I would prefer sitting by myself and sketching instead of being in the playground with my friends. [When I grew up], I decided to study fashion. I spent eight years in London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles, before coming back to start my fashion label Koëcsh (now rebranded to Krésha Bajaj) in 2013.”

What inspires you?
“For the last three years, my biggest inspiration has been the underwater world. Ever since I started diving, it’s opened up a whole new world and takes my imagination to whole new places I didn’t know existed. The patterns, textures and colours I see underwater are translated to fabrics and embroidery – and if you look closely in any of my pieces, you’ll see hints of the different places I have dived in.”

Is it difficult/different being an entrepreneur who’s a woman? In what way?
“It’s difficult being an entrepreneur in general. Most days are filled with challenges that you have to tackle, and it’s a difficult journey as you have to always question yourself and ensure you are making the right decision. However, it’s important to realise that your mistakes will be your biggest learnings, and to keep reminding yourself of your dream and vision. Also remember that eventually you will get there, and it will be amazing, however hard it might seem at the time.”

Any advice you’d like to give budding women entrepreneurs?
“Trust your gut and intuition. Even if you make some mistakes, you will learn from them and they will make you stronger and more confident over time.”

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