Stepping Out of Real Estate, and How Art Tempts

On Frankaffe, Sushrut Munje shares how it feels to start another entrepreneurial venture again - post experiences at Hammer and Mop, SILA and Eské.
PDA (courtesy: Shulabh Gupta)

Early this year, I stepped out of the real estate sector after 7 years. From dropping out of my engineering course as a 20 year old in 2010, to starting up and building Hammer and Mop for 4 years and then working with SILA group of companies for 18 months – it has been a journey that means everything to me. While my kiddo had grown up to be a front runner and a distinguished brand in the sector, the organisation it went home to has been in an interesting state of flux over the last couple of years. It was a privilege to work closely with two of the best real estate services entrepreneurs India has, and thrive in the culture they had sown. From a college kid with naive expectations to a fairly seasoned professional with a realistic understanding of how the world works – I am grateful to my customers, colleagues, mentors, bosses and friends in the network.

While my startup was an experience akin to one’s first attempt at pottery, my consequent work stint taught me how the lessons learned earlier could be applied at a larger scale. In addition to developing teams around one’s personal preference of tangible outputs, it was a crucial lesson in structure, project management and financial discipline. After 18 months, it was the right time to step out and work further on my strengths – people, brand communication and how it all ties down to overall business growth.

From Real Estate to Luxury Retail

At Eské, the work is everything I could have asked for. A luxury leather brand which completes 5 years of existence soon, we borrow from the rich legacy of manufacturing for world’s leading luxury brands and being one of India’s largest export houses. Our Creative Director has been at the pinnacle of the finest international brands, and is a fashion designer of great repute. Yet, the beauty of a blank slate and an opportunity to build the brand, the retail experience and the eCommerce business from scratch. The freedom to set my own tone of communication, the freedom to choose my own team. Driving a consensus with my existing team members, aiming for a win win and building a formidable brand of the future has been a fulfilling experience. The CEO leads with enthusiasm and sincerity, and welcomes perspectives with definite humility. I am fortunate to be on board, and experience this work atmosphere.

My work here focuses on building teams up from scratch – not unlike my projects at SILA. In addition to setting up Human Resources, Marketing and eCommerce processes, there is an extensive task of balancing our deliverables with hard sales – since an army marches on its stomach. Understanding the need to focus on technical aspects and the bigger picture, it was proper for me to step back and to allow folks better than me to take over the creative aspects. This led to my team expanding and budgets being allocated in a matter of months, and the necessary broadening of horizons. Surrounded by brilliance here, we continue to forge ahead.

Following a Dream – StoryVise

I have always wanted to lead a publication. Writing away into the night, on my wooden desk with a steaming espresso close by – it has been a stuff of dreams since college. People fascinate me, and I long for conversations, listening to them talk, understanding how they push their own boundaries, on what drives them ahead, their version of their own story. When a person talks, I notice how their eyes sparkle when they laugh, notice how the tone of their voice carries like a wave while describing their favourite memories, the motion of their hands attempting to depict what they feel.

When opportunity knocked, I grabbed it without a second thought. It all fit in, the journey of self actualisation, a constant pursuit of being better at things I do best.

At StoryVise, we currently have two publications. While FitBroo is still a work in progress, Art Should Tempt has launched and we would be having our first print version out this year. Offering a briefing on culture and design, we feature amazing individuals and places from across the globe. These are stories of courage, experimentation and creative success – a rare fulfilment that most only strive for. We underline the purpose and the individual inspiration behind the ever evolving facade of their work output. We share stories, for everyone to read on a Sunday morning.

I am content, and have jumped into the ocean again. There is a distinct chill that goes down the spine, yet the love and lessons of my past work life stay with me and give me warmth. The waves to be conquered are larger than ever before, and they tempt.

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