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Five Mins With.. The Founder of Urban Yogi

Five Mins With.. The Founder of Urban Yogi

Nisha Varman Shetty is the managing director of Urban Yogi, a pop-up sustainable home furniture store, founded in Dubai last year.

What is your company focusing on this year?
Our main focus for 2013 is to push our sustainable home décor brand out in the market and make it accessible to our target market in the form of pop-up stores in major malls in the UAE. We are also tapping into the potential of e-commerce.

Are you concerned that the current volatile global economic climate will affect your strategy?
Being a start-up we’re affected by everything! We try to focus on adding value to our customers in hard times like this and our philosophy is to grow slow and steady.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?
I feel that the the Middle East market, especially the UAE, has grown a little weary of mass produced and soulless merchandise. We are focusing on sourcing exquisite one-of-a-kind handcrafted home décor items from all over the world, which are different but functional.

What new products will your company launch this year?

We’re working on our new furniture range made from reclaimed wood and vintage fabrics. Also in the pipeline is our exquisite ceramic range which we’re very excited about.

Will you be expanding into new territory?
We’re definitely eyeing Abu Dhabi, Qatar and KSA and we’re already catering to these territories via our e-commerce channels.

What are the biggest challenges for UAE businesses in your sector?
Retail real estate and recruitment.

Will you be hiring this year?
Of course. The only way we can grow and progress is when we find the right mix of talent.

What’s your leadership style?
I lead by example, walk the talk and I do have high expectations from my team. I believe inspiration can bring out the best in people and I strive to do that in my own way for my team.

What makes the perfect employee?
A mix of tenacity, consistency, resilience and the willingness to evolve.

Define success in five words…

Happiness + constant improvement + contribution = success

Three tips for becoming the boss…

a) Learn how to follow first
b) Work really really hard
c) Lead by example

When I’m not at work I like to…

Spend time with my family and friends and indulge in a good book.

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