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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Meet Sangeeta Lala who built Rs 100cr luxury fan business at the age of 50

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Sangeeta Lala launched her business in Bangalore when she was 50 years ofl. The company, called Fanzart, touched a Rs 100 crore turnover in FY 2021-22.

Sangeeta Lala traveled to the United States around 12 years ago to locate a college for her younger son. Her eyes were drawn to a magnificent ceiling fan with unique blades when she was drinking hot coffee at a Mexican restaurant in San Diego, California. It piqued her interest in designer fans, and she went on to co-found Fanzart, a premium fan business, with her husband Anil Lala in 2012.

She was 50 when she founded the firm, and today, at the age of 60, her Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) has a revenue of Rs 100 crore in FY 2021-22.

“Age is only a number,” adds Sangeeta, who continues to collaborate with designers from Spain and the United States to produce new versions.

“The firm, situated in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), has over 100 showrooms across India.”

The fans are manufactured in facilities situated all over the world, including France, Russia, Turkey, and China.

The blades of the fans are constructed of wood, metal, and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene).

Bluetooth-enabled fans, as well as clockwise and anti-clockwise rotating fans, are among the varieties available.

They offer fans with as little as two blades and as many as fourteen blades. The Fanzart 14-blade Venetian chrome fan costs Rs 79,990. Aquajet, a 6.6 ft outdoor misting fan that costs over Rs 1.30 lakh, is their most costly fan. Every year, Sangeeta collaborates with a team of leading international designers to create new fan models.

“Aquajet is the greatest mist fan in its class available in the globe, with a 94-litre tank capacity to run with mist flow for up to 15 hours,” explains Sangeeta, who opened her first store in Bengaluru’s Krishnanagar Industrial Area in 2012.

“Our in-house design team simply brainstorms and comes up with needs of models to suit the Indian market, but the real designing is done overseas,” Sangeeta explains.

She claims that, in addition to their practical value, fans are increasingly viewed as beautiful elements.” A fan is the only method to ensure enough air circulation.

The company flourished through word-of-mouth referrals, and they soon began selling their fans to individuals all throughout the country. Visitors to the city would stop by their store to purchase a fan.

That is when she decided to sell franchises to build stores with service centers in other locations.

“We have service centers all throughout India,” Sangeeta explains, before going on to explain the difficulties she confronts.

“Running a business in India is challenging. Finding the perfect brand partner, surviving in the midst of giant sharks doing conventional fans, and dealing with design copyright concerns are just a few of the severe obstacles I face on a regular basis.”

Fanzart, being a premium brand, appeals to the upper middle class and affluent segments of society. Cricketers, actresses, and other celebrities are among her clientele.

Her admirers may be found in airports, bars, and business establishments. Fanzart fans are also sold in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, and other areas of Europe.

Sangeeta feels that women may be better entrepreneurs because she started her business at the age of 50 while also being a responsible mother of two adult boys. “Women entrepreneurs need to realize that we’re a lot better than our male colleagues at multitasking, dealing with job stress calmly, and being more inventive at work,” she adds.

Sangeeta was born into the Sindhi community and grew up in Mumbai with her only elder brother. Both her father (late) Indur Keswani and mother Nirmala Keswani had previously worked as academics.

They were both organic chemistry gold medalists who taught at Mumbai’s Jai Hind College. Her father eventually worked in the circulation department of The Times of India.

He then established his own plastic unit and printing company. Sangeeta enrolled in a three-year (1979-82) Hotel Management, Catering Technology, and Applied Nutrition programme at Dadar Catering College after finishing her Class 12 at Jai Hind College.

She also worked part-time at her father’s plastic and printing businesses during this time. She graduated from Dadar Catering College in 1982 and began working for the Taj Group of Hotels.

Her father, however, was dissatisfied with her excessive work hours. “After a year in the hotel industry, I went full-time into my father’s business,” Sangeeta explains.

“We also used to print books for the Maharashtra State Board and produce Economic and Political Weekly magazine.”

After dating him for two years, she married Anil Lala, a mechanical and industrial engineer, in 1986. Anil worked in the garment industry, and the pair relocated to Bengaluru in 1993. When her children were little, Sangeeta worked as a consultant for restaurants in Bengaluru before transitioning into event management.

She later opened a computer training facility. Though she was successful in everything she attempted, her major break came in 2012 with Fanzart, which she founded with a Rs 5 crore investment.

Sangeeta and her husband Anil, as well as their sons Karan and Tarun, have been very supportive.

Karan, her elder son, is a software engineer, and Tarun, her younger son, is an electrical engineer.

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