INTRODUCING A NEW POST SERIES TODAY, titled, “Behind The Mastermind” which takes an inside look at individuals that fascinate me, and how they operate professionally and personally. Am ecstatic about unveiling this concept as I have found that the quality and character of our lives are built upon foundations of tried and true habits, and pulling upon resources that magnify our minds. Having worked as a marketing and communications professional for more than five years, and having recently diving in to the market as a creative entrepreneur, it has become clear to me how my profession requires my approach and execution to ideas to be a perfect concoction of creativity and technicality.
Today’s introductory person, Supal Desai, is a woman whose life successfully integrates ambition and wander. In addition to being editor of lifestyle blog Chevrons & Éclairs, and founder of business strategy firm, C&É Consultancy, she continues to support Art Feeds, a nonprofit organization aimed to help children express themselves creatively. As you all may be familiar, philanthropy is deep to my heart and in a recent interaction with Supal, she uttered these perfect words, “The best thing we can do is reroute our despair and focus on volunteering, showing kindness, opening dialogue, etc. I really hope people realize that we are stronger together.
How do you typically like to organize your work day?
I’m a morning person, which means I like to concentrate some of my most challenging daily tasks for the early morning right after I’ve had my cup of coffee. I feel energized, inspired and ready to conquer whatever is put in front of me at that time. No two days are the same for me, so it’s hard to give a proper run down as to what happens morning, noon and night!
What are your favorite tools for organizing projects?
How do you incorporate “balance” in your work life and how has it benefitted you?
That’s a good question! I struggle with this actually. I’m still trying to find a way to switch off. I run a consultancy full-time and run a blog full-time, so any free time is often placed towards working towards one over the other. Recently, I’ve started shutting off my computer at 10:30pm and forcing myself to get back into reading for pleasure. And I spend the 30 minutes while drinking my coffee in the morning going through the latest issue of British Vogue. If I have a very heavy morning, then I try to take 30 minutes out of my afternoon to go on a walk away from my work space.
I don’t think I can pinpoint one project, but I help established brands build loyalty in emerging markets. The team and I get to be creative every day in how we approach each brand and each product and how to appeal to the consumer of their interest. The globalized world is constantly evolving with new digital platforms, political and social forces, and the rise of youth—it’s all very exciting!
Where are the top 3 places you like to source inspiration from for work?
My parents are exceptionally hard working and that can be confirmed by anyone that knows them. I’ve never heard them complain about anything professionally and they always view challenges as opportunities. I find inspiration in so many ways either through a painting, a European weekend getaway or even a blogger’s behind-the-scenes coverage of a blog shoot. I just try to keep my eyes and mind open.
What are you working on right now?
During a 3-week trip to India for the consultancy and the blog this winter, I’m looking forward to seeing how the market is accepting luxury brands and where they are in terms of marketing techniques and the role of technology in sales. Additionally, I feel I have refrained from sharing my beautiful background and culture on the blog and am excited to collaborate with brands that share the same traditional values that I do.
What would you like your legacy to be?
After graduating with my MA, I wanted to work for the oil/gas industry in corporate security. This was already a difficult task as I was brought up in a culture that is so engrained in prospering in the sciences rather than what I studied, politics. I found it difficult to properly break into the industry because of bureaucracy and other variables. As I tried to piece together what I wanted to do, I realized political risk/corporate security/business development is something I was good at in emerging markets and the fashion industry was a place that I felt most comfortable thanks to my blog. Ultimately, I combined my education and hobby and paved a way that worked for me. So I want to be known for being innovative and following my passion.
“Creative discovery and expression is something that is sometimes looked down upon in certain societies, like my very own community where science is promoted. I was lucky enough to have parents who both supported the arts and believe that people can develop vital tools when given the freedom to use their imagination.”
What do you like to do on your “days off”?
Surprisingly, I’m actually an athletic person! I like to go rowing or have a long work out. Sometimes I go on long walks around London because there is still so much to explore. If I can, I’ll take a weekend trip somewhere! Recently, I went to Paris on a weekend away from all things work and blog and it was my favorite trip of the year. I have been to Paris quite a few times, so it was nice to just walk around without a plan.
Where are the top 3 places you get inspiration from for your personal life?
Definitely magazines. I read British Vogue religiously, so anything they suggest from theatre to books to restaurant openings, I will be the first to experience them.
What is your morning routine like?
What is your before bedtime routine like?
Mobile is on silent and computer is put away at 10:30pm. I have a book in hand, retainer in and a clean, makeup-free face. I start dozing off naturally as I’m reading. Quite simple.
What is one of your favorite quote or mantra you live by?
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde
All photos courtesy of Supal Desai