Interview with Manali Shenoy Kamat, Founder, Keya Lifestyle Concepts




Tell us something about yourself?

I’ve done my Masters in Business Management from Mumbai. Post which I worked into advertising. I’ve also done a short stint in an NGO where I was handling the communications and research part. I quit my job to form my own brand Indian Concepts-Corporate Kurtas for Women in 2011.


Tell us something about your venture. 

 “Indian Concepts” is a Brand that promises to offer an exquisite range corporate kurtas for women. 

Western formals like trousers and tops with blazers have been universally famous and regularly used in corporate world, but they have not been very comfortable for Indian women. The fabric used by these western formals is produced by modern textile processes using harmful chemicals; this renders them non skin-friendly causing irritation, rashes, sweating and discomfort. The fits of these garments restrict free body movement and cause a further discomfort when used during longer working hours. Lack of choice has led Indian corporate women to use regular ethnic wear adorned with gaudy embroidery and flashy prints, though it does not go in sync with the corporate dress code. 

“Indian Concepts” addresses these drawbacks by offering exclusive Ethnic Corporate Wear made from renowned traditional fabrics sourced from artisans across India. The fabric properties make it ideal for corporate wear providing the necessary comfort for longer working hours in any season. Some of these fabrics are hand-woven with characteristics that are difficult to replicate even by new age machines. Undoubtedly, these fabrics possess a unique charm and elegance of their own. “Indian Concepts” has crafted these fabrics for contemporary look to address the long-time unattended need of Indian women – an Ethnic Corporate Wear.

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What is your philosophy towards work?

Regardless of whatever comes your way, always maintain a positive mental attitude!


Whom do you admire as your role model? And why?

My Husband. He has been a source of inspiration right from our courtship days! He is a self-made man and I admire him for that. An extremely supportive spouse, today he is the strong pillar behind Indian Concepts. I think he has made me a much better person and taught me to be more vigilant and also tougher.

Well, I admire people who

I admire people who talk less and work more. Your work should speak for yourself!



“Management is core to every individual, organization & society.” Give your views on it.

Management is a key element in every organization irrespective at what stage of development the business is at. Time management plays a very important role not only to a business but also to an individual. Managing personal and professional time aptly is important. Similarly, Customer Relationship Management on the business front is of prime importance. Management and core values should go hand in hand. Core values are traits or qualities that you consider not just worthwhile, they represent an individual’s or organization’s highest priorities.



Name 3 qualities of prime importance that a women entrepreneur should possess.

          A woman

          – Should be ‘Queen of Multitasking’.

          – Self-motivated

          – Should Create Balance between her work and family life.



According to you, what are the challenges for Women Entrepreneurship today?

Gender Bias

In India when a female starts a business, sometimes family, friends, and others in the business community can view it as a hobby or a side project to family duties, rather than a serious business. Women need to realize that this is a true gender bias and however small it may seem setting up any business is a commendable job and so it does not matter if you are a man or woman.


Speaking Out

Learning to say “No” is one big challenge. Just don’t try to do everything even if it gets beyond your capacity. Females are often taught to “be nice” and “people pleasers”, which can take toll on themselves. One has to be able to do justice to both work and personal commitments but, both can’t be achieved at the same time. Setting priorities is important.



Can Entrepreneurship be taught in B-Schools/Management Institutes/Colleges?

B-School lessons can teach vital tools like analysis, branding.etc that can come handy during the entrepreneurial journey. One might learn from B-school case studies of other Entrepreneurs and get inspired to do something of own. However the key learning takes place during the start-up phase as you evolve as an entrepreneur. When you are in the field you learn things practically.



Is the Name of the Institute from where a student pursues his/her Graduation/Post Graduation or other courses important while setting up your business?

While setting up a business it’s the passion, knowledge of the entrepreneur and robustness of the business plan that matters the most. I can say, what you have studied becomes more important than where you have studied. Finally the client is not going to pay based on the name of the institute where the owner has pursued his/her graduation but will buy the product/service for the unique value proposition on offer.


Do you think today’s economy is conducive for a new venture to start upon?

Yes, very much. Today, internet penetration has increased in India.Thus, theres a lot of exposure that your business can get. Your products can get exposed outside India in minutes.Logistics network has become efficient thus making transfer of goods and communication extremely convenient.

If you have a storng idea to set up your own venture there are loads of funding options available.VCs,private equity, bank loans etc can help you scale up.

On the other hand with increase in salaries, people have increasing disposal income. So the buying capacity of the consumer has increased and customers are willing to pay for products and service that ads value and are unique.


“Earning more & more is the motive behind any business.” Is it justifiable?

Opinions could differ. In the initial phase of the start-up, it’s the brand recognition and recall in the minds of the customer that is of utmost importance to the business. Once established, perhaps other elements then matter .Money is needed for sustainability! Beyond that it’s just the passion, value, and customer satisfaction that is of high significance.


Share with us the most enjoyable moment you had experienced on work.

When you are on your own, every little step you take is a big achievement. All milestones are of chief importance as it’s like a small baby you nurture. The best part I enjoy is that I am my own boss today! As an employee I hated the ‘reporting to boss’ format and the limitations I faced. When you take charge of your own work then every single day brings joy to you unlike when you are employed where you look for weekends to party!

To be precise one of the happiest moments was when we were called last year in October to IIM Ahmedabad for Entre Fair 2012.



Your message to the aspiring entrepreneurs?

Do what you like doing! You are young, hopeful and have plenty of time on this planet. Don’t wait for the right time to come! If you think you can do it, just jump into it!



History-We formed Keya Lifestyle Concepts in 2011.


To double the turnover every year for the next 5 years


–          Offer original indigenous products

–          Maintain high standards of Quality

–          Customer responsiveness

–          Create value for our stakeholders

–          High standards of Ethics

Products & Service-Corporate Kurtas for Women

Marketing Strategy-

Value Proposition : India’s First Corporate Kurtas for Women

Targeting middle aged corporate women in middle and senior management and located in Metro and A-class cities of India

Existing Market Presence- online store

Future Plans-Silk Corporate Kurtas

Corporate Bags

Corporate Foot wear

Corporate Jewellery


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Ankita Dalvi

I am kinda person who lives a simple life. Manages to be happy in every situation and enjoys every bit of life


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