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Challenges are there in every field. However, it is your determination that takes you through. Today, women are breaking all stereotypes.The outburst of the novel Coronavirus has been a game-changer for the majority of industries, including the interior design industry. Starting March 2020 onwards, the lockdown has had a telling impact on the market as several projects were put on hold. While it was indeed a challenging time for the industry, the crisis also presented the designers an opportunity to learn and grow. Here, on the occasion of Women’s Day 2021, we talk to Tanuja Rane, Founder, Tanuja and Associates, and an Interior Designer, on various professional and personal topics.

The year gone by has been a challenging year. What strategies did you adopt to tide over the crisis, and how has the year been for your company?
Though the year 2020 was challenging for most of us, we took it as a great business opportunity. As a matter of fact, we received several interior designing orders, primarily for residences. As people realised the significance of a home, they also understood the need for space and renovation. Homes during lockdown not only served as a place to stay but also as a place to work and study. We had a tough yet interesting time taking care of these expectations.

How has been your professional journey so far, and what delights you the most about your career?
It has been a very fruitful and satisfying journey, though I still have a lot to achieve. I had never imagined myself as an Interior Designer. I had studied Physics Honors, but destiny had some other things planned for me. After my marriage, I joined a Diploma course in Interior Designing. Right from the start, I was focused and determined to make a name for myself, and that is what kept me going. I started small, took tiny steps, and learnt from my mistakes. Now, Tanuja and Associates is synonymous with luxury homes, and I feel proud of this achievement.

What do you think is the general perception of women in real estate?
Though real estate has been majorly a male-dominated industry, women are gradually breaking the stereotypes. We can see more and more women entering the field as developers, builders and agents. While there are some negative perceptions, this inclusion has been unanimously accepted and appreciated by all. Women bring a lot of qualities to the table, which will help the industry grow and prosper.

How do you maintain a work-life balance?
Women are great at multitasking. So, maintaining a work-life balance comes naturally to me. I have always kept my family in equal priority with my work.

What are the challenges you have faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
At the time I joined the industry in the 1990s, things were not the same as now. There were only a few women in the industry. But, I have been fortunate enough to receive the support of my family and friends. I have had to work with both clients and workers who belonged from different strata of society. Fortunately, I did not face anything disrespectful. What I believe is that people tend to sense your feelings. If you are not confident, they take you lightly, which never happened in my case.

However, maintaining both career and family was tough. I am thankful to my family, who supported me through the turbulent times.

Any tips for women venturing into real estate?
Women have the power to do whatever they want. It all depends on determination, hard work and consistency. You have to keep doing what you love. Challenges will always be there, but your determination will take you through. Real estate is similar to any other field, and women are well- respected and looked up to, provided they are good in whatever they do.


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