Her positivity is contagious. Her passion for style and everything unique – beautifully conveyed through her designs. She is a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and synonymous with the word ‘ideal woman.’ She has carved an identity of her own and rise beyond the ‘star wife’ tag. In an exclusive interview with Urban Vaastu, Mana Shetty talks about her passion for styling, her compassion for the underprivileged children, through her fund raising Araaish and of course her family. Excerpts:
By KOMAL RAO AND TILLANA DESAI
Journey from Fashion Designing to R House – The Store
I was a fashion designer for more than two decades. Being a creative person I often felt the need to do something new and different. The beauty of being in a creative field like fashion or design is that you can transcend into anything that is creative. I felt I was stagnating and needed something more challenging to do. That is how R House happened.
The store is spread over two floors with outdoor space.
We have a range of gifts, artefacts, designer furniture in various styles. Customers can also shop online. Each piece has been handpicked by me. I travel a lot, source products and give them my sensibility. Basically, my store is my styling, my sensibility.
I can also proudly say that most of my furniture is Indian because I myself am very Indian at heart.
I did up our holiday home in Khandala and got a lot of appreciation for my sense of style.
I do not have an educational background in design but I feel I am what I am because I have grown up in an environment that developed my style sense. My father IM Kadri is a renowned architect has created landmark projects in Mumbai and all over India. My siblings are into architecture and design too.
I travel a lot and that helps me gain a lot of perspective into proportions and colours and what can go where! I change table tops, I change colours, I am not into selling anything that is common or mainstream. And that is what makes it more interesting for me.
I also think every home reflects the identity of the resident. For a person who is not going to understand art, you cannot buy a Hussain or a Raza…they are not going to relate to it. If they do not relate to it, how does it become their home? I don’t design houses, I design ‘homes’.
I feel your taste is a reflection of your creativity and style.
We also have another project called the S2 which is comprises of 21 designer villas developed as part of a gated community of luxury holiday homes.
It has been conceptualised by Suniel and his sister Sujata Hegde. The architecture is by Alan Abraham and the interiors of the villas are designed by me.
Mana the Multitasker
I have a great team that I give credit to for outstanding support. Suniel has always been very very encouraging and supportive for whatever I do.
I am early riser. I love to work out. I eat healthy.
MANA SHETTY: WOMEN POWER
I think it’s the era where women are coming making an identity of their own right now. Everybody is discovering themselves even if they are home makers.Even after your kids have grown up and you ask yourself ‘Now what?’. Ladies, just go out there and find yourselves! There is always something for you to do! Whether it is social work or starting a small venture. There is so much available now on social media – reach out and conquer the world!
I look after my store, my NGO and Events.Evenings are mostly family time. I cook for my husband and my children. My family is very close to my heart. I meet my friends for lunch, I shop. I enjoy life!
I feel one has to be organized and plan things to be able to do better work.
What you are counts
Everyone things ‘Oh she is a star wife’! I personally do not agree. There are certain attributes associated with ‘stars’ – they are not accessible, they are not down to earth – I feel this isn’t true! Why must anything change? It is my upbringing and character to be down to earth and simple. We are all God’s special children. Some people are blessed with more. I am not overwhelmed with the tags associated with me, I feel it is more important to be a grateful and gracious person. Consciously or sub consciously I try to do at least one good deed a day.
Charity begins at home
Save the Children is an NGO founded by my mother. It’s a 25-year old, non-profit organisation.
Two days of my week are dedicated to Save the Children.
I am glad that I am in a position to bring light into someone’s life.
This was my mother’s dream and we have made it our passion.
Araaish is a fundraising exhibition for Save The Children India.
Whatever we make, goes straight to Save The Children India. It feels amazing!
My home is my favourite project. It reflects the personality of my family.
My Khandala home is called ‘Jahan’. Everyone feels the warmth without any inhibitions. What is important is to make everyone comfortable.Friends come over and feel absolutely at home, they help with the kitchen, serving and do everything they would do in their own home.
A home reflects the personality of the owner and that’s what makes each home different.
My home is very simple. For me it is more about simplicity and drama pieces in the form of art.
Current design trends
I don’t work with trends. I like to keep things neutral because I feel a chair, or art or artifacts add to a space
My father belongs to Ahmedabad. We have a beautiful family home which has now been converted into a heritage hotel. My dad has started a school for Muslim girls which is great. We have visited it a couple of times.
I just take one day at a time. I am very grateful.. I am not overly ambitious. I just go with the flow. I am content.
I don’t believe in Vaastu personally but I respect people who do, because I work with people who do. I believe in positivity and negativity.
I not only take care of all aspects in the premises of the school but am also trying to build on the legacy of blending philanthropy with glamour. I am on the board of trustees for Save The Children India.