Meet the Judges of Masala! Awards 2015: Khurshid Vakil
What inspires the incredible success of Khurshid Vakil, co-founder of Marina Home Interiors and Masala! Awards Judge? He shares his journey with us…
Khurshid Vakil’s personal journey has often mirrored his professional aptitude. Born in the picturesque Kashmir valley, educated in Kashmir and New Delhi, he had a balanced education and sporting value system that inculcated a strong sense of discipline, focus and ethics. Having lived in India, Switzerland, Spain and the UAE, Khurshid perhaps understands cross cultural influences like none other. And it is this understanding that complements his company, Marina Home Interiors’ corporate culture and can be seen in the design harmony of its product mix as well.
Khurshid started his career in a US Fortune 100 company but his desire and interest in the world of interiors led him to give up a successful international career in 1997 and join hands with his two brothers to launch Marina Home Interiors. “Giving up a corporate high flying career was the toughest decision I ever made,” says Khurshid. But surely, there are no regrets as he takes his company to newer heights! Khurshid, one of the esteemed judges at the Masala! Awards this year, chatted with us about his successful journey and his business philosophy…
How do you look at the growth and journey of Marina Home Interiors so far?
Our direction was to provide a lifestyle-driven aspirational shopping experience that crossed all boundaries of imagination and creativity. We wanted to express diversity, quality and uniqueness that evoked emotion and a high sense of out of context thought process. As Marina Home Interiors grew in scale and geography over the years, constant emphasis was given to its consistent evolution of the merchandise mix, service standards and overall look and feel of the stores. From a furniture concept to its present position of perhaps the most desired brand of repute in its category, the journey has been quite educational.
How do you gauge the demands of your customers? What goes into the process?
In a region that has over 200 nationalities residing, you are bound to witness the same diversity in their likes and dislikes, the purchase patterns and income levels etc. The challenge is to find a common denominator in order to cater to all of them. Our investments, strategies, future planning and evaluating our successes and failures are based on our close interaction with the customers and the lessons we have learnt as a result.
You have stores in the Middle East, India, and now Pakistan, are you planning to expand into more countries?
Our position is to first further consolidate our presence in the Middle East & South Asian markets. We would see several opportunities in these markets in the years ahead, given the socio-geo-political changes shaping up. We would also seek the right opportunities to enter select European and North American markets.
Your career has taken you to Switzerland, Spain and now Dubai – how has your career shaped you as a businessman and thought leader?
I strongly believe the biggest asset any successful company can have is the people that run it. As a business owner, I am aware that our strength is our team, the organisational culture, the values we have collectively practised and the passion with which we all work hand in hand. We will continue to strive in order to reach the right work-life balance within our team.
In life and in business, who has been your greatest inspiration?
Inspiration or being inspired is very subjective as one can be awestruck while witnessing other people’s successes or highly motivated by seeing volunteers working selflessly in remote areas. I drive inspiration from basic things that are lead to perfectionism. “If I make a mistake I know I have a passionate team to handle that well”. That is my inspiration.
Are there any current projects that you’re involved in?
There are multiple projects going on in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the UAE. We see exciting times ahead.
Are you looking forward to being a part of the Masala! Awards this year?
I have seen the Masala! Awards growing from strength to strength over the years and am fully enjoying the judging process.