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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Sammeer Pakvasa: The college dropout who turned his dad’s interior business into a Rs 240 crore firm

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Sammeer Pakvasa’s life changed in 2001. He studied design at Rachana Sansad’s Academy of Architecture College, Mumbai, as a young student.

However, fate brought him to a crucial decision. It changed Sammeer’s life and his father’s business, Eleganz Interiors.

His mother, Sonal, has stage three breast cancer. Sammeer had to choose with his father, Akshay Pakvasa, needed by her.

A heartbreaking time for the family. “My mother had cancer, and my father had won a big project in Bangalore, a golden opportunity for our business,” Sammeer recalls.

The project was worth Rs 6-7 crore, so he decided to step up. He quit college and started a business, a turning point.

Despite personal hardship, Sammeer has persevered and grown.

Managing a one-lakh-square-foot project for General Electric’s India Technology Centre in three months and navigating the Covid issue have shown great leadership.

At 44, Sammeer leads a Rs 240 crore business with 350 employees, turning his father’s goal into a legacy.

His story celebrates family, resilience, and the power of taking charge when life demands it.

The COVID-19 pandemic hurt the civil interiors and allied services company, which includes furniture, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work.

“Our turnover, which was Rs 350 crore before the pandemic, dropped to Rs 150 crore,” Sammeer recalls. The company recovered swiftly and had Rs 240 crore in turnover last year.

Sammeer joined Eleganz Interiors at a crucial time when business had 30 employees. “My focus was on the business, but I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time with my mother,” Sammeer says.

The doctor’s diagnosis that his mother had two years to live exacerbated his dilemma. “I visited her on weekends and whenever I could,” he recalls.

The loss of hair and nails and her physical metamorphosis was a difficult emotional test for him. Despite personal upheaval, Sammeer maintained his professional devotion.

Eleganz Interiors began receiving more South Indian contracts after completing GE’s India Technology Centre project.

“By 2003, we were a major South Indian player. “The GE project helped us establish ourselves in the region,” adds Sammeer.

He recalls Eleganz Interiors’ humble beginnings, “My father led and my mother supported. One weekend account manager was also present.

Beginning as a proprietorship, the company became a private limited in 1996.

His father signed the first HDFC contract for a Trivandrum office in 1988, launching the company.

“My father’s solid relationship with HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh helped him get this deal. My father received an advance payment of Rs 1 lakh for the Rs 4 lakh project, his first investment “Recalls Sammeer.

His father won more business from ICICI and other HDFC offices after the HDFC deal.

Sammeer switched schools throughout his childhood. He attended Hebron School in Ooty until Class two.

Later, he attended Bombay Scottish School in Mumbai, New Era High School in Panchgani, and St. Andrew’s High School in Mumbai for Class 10.

MMK College, Mumbai, was his junior college, which he completed in 1999. That year, he enrolled at Rachana Sansad’s Mumbai Academy of Architecture College’s interior design program.

In addition, he joined his father’s business. “My morning routine was college, and in the afternoons, I would accompany my father on site visits to learn more about the business,” Sammeer says.

But his mother’s untimely sickness forced Sammeer to quit his studies and work full-time in the business, which increased the company’s revenue quickly.

“I introduced the General Contractor model, extending our services to electrical, AC, carpentry, and interior design,” adds Sammeer. “We managed design to completion as a one-stop solution.”

Sammeer used machinery to improve quality and streamline operations, overcoming unorganized labor issues.

Their clientele grew from Asian Paints to Hindustan Unilever Limited. Sammeer’s father’s one-man operation has developed into a successful corporation.

Last year, we started operations in Singapore and expanded abroad. We also want to build corporate buildings “Sammeer emphasizes the desire to build corporate structures in addition to interiors.

Sammeer openly describes his normal week: “I work on Mondays and fly for meetings and deals. I spend weekends with family.”

From their 12,000 sq ft Mumbai headquarters, the organization operates in major cities. Mumbai (105), Pune (40), Hyderabad (25), Bangalore (80), Ahmedabad (30), NCR (10), and Chennai (10 employees).

Sammeer Pakvasa’s touching tribute to his mother “Doctors gave her two years to live. Her cancer-free survival after 20 years defies all chances.”

Sunil Pandey
Sunil Pandey
The business professional who loves penning down his thoughts/ insights on business, entrepreneurship, & startups. His ability to break down complex business concepts into easy & concise write-ups makes him a wonderful author. He believes that writing is a powerful tool for communication and education.

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