Priyanka Padode, founder of home decor website, DezignGenie, speaks about the growth of digital media, what inspired her to explore this space, her background, personalised features of her website and more
Coming from an entrepreneurial family, it was but obvious for Priyanka Padode to follow suit. The strong desire to do something entrepreneurial and carry her digital media expertise forward led her to dive headfirst into creating DezignGenie. In a tête-à- tête, she shares more…
Tell us something about your background.
I am born and brought up in Mumbai. After finishing my schooling and junior college here in, I went to New York University to complete my graduation in Journalism and Media Studies. After four yearsof education, I worked in NYC at a digital marketing agency for two years. I managed social media strategy for global brands like Pepsi, MasterCard and Lay's. I just moved back to India in August 2014, and have been conjuring up the DezignGenie dream ever since.
Who inspired you to take up this profession?
Both my parents are entrepreneurs and have their own business. They've built a 17-year old successful publication house producing B2B magazines in Construction, Interiors, Infrastructure etc. My aunt and uncle have built incredible businesses as well. MY grandfather too built the ultimate stock market magazine, Dalal Street Journal, along with my father from scratch. As you can see, my family is extremely entrepreneurial in mindset and spirit so how could I not be inspired to take up this profession?
How did you conceive the idea of coming up with a home décor website?
Our family business is into B2B publications on Construction and Interiors. I wanted to do something that leverages the plethora of content and professionals we have built over the years, as well as tap a market that was universal in its appeal and highly scalable. Every person gets their home done five times in their lifetime, while three are minor improvements, two are major ones. If you multiply that by even a fraction of our population, you've got a $4.2 billion home loan industry, of which 13 per cent is spent only on home improvement. The scope is endless.
Tell us something about DezignGenie.
Redefining the way one looks at home decor and inspiration, DezignGenie is a curated online platform of design ideas, inspiration, completed projects and home decor trends. It educates you with everything you need to know about the home decor space, connects you to the right professionals, give you all the product and trend information you need, help you purchase through various mechanisms and make an informed decision based on all the information you have gathered. We also plan to enable idea sharing, and user reviewing to essentially create a community that people can always turn to before making any home decor related decision.
How is this website different from other home décor website?
In addition, no website has created a community in this space yet. There is no one place people would go to, to get home design information. There is no brand whose content they can trust. That is what we will bring to the table. The woman of the house or the homemaker would always love to hand-pick each item to decorate her home.
How do you think does your website help in giving them a personalized experience?
We offer a personalised Idea books feature where people can save their ideas in different boards and share it privately with their family and friends. We're also building out a reviewing mechanism where people can comment on services and products used in order to make DezignGenie an authentic and reliable community.
The name DezignGenie seems very clever and catchy. How did you come up with the name?
The name is actually a product of a lot of family brainstorming. We wanted to do something around design as a whole and not just pertaining to home, and wanted to have a word that indicated that we were the thought leaders in this space. What we said would be authentic and we'd set the trend. Basically we'd bring magic to the world of design and decor and that's how DezignGenie was born.
Tell us something about your family.
We're a nuclear family of four. My parents, my younger brother who is completing his graduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and myself. We've always been a tight knit, openly communicating and extremely performance inclined family. We all love to dance and sing in different measures and from people's feedback, it looks like we can start our own song and dance production. We work hard, we play hard and we are each other's biggest supporters and critics. Both my sets of grandparents are healthy and live in close proximity to us.
Digital media is the future. Do you agree? Please elaborate.
Oh yes! Absolutely. I come from a Digital marketing background so there's nothing I agree with more here. People's attention spans are ridiculously low, the content you can consume on digital is so vast that you cover the most random and widest set of topics possible in a single day. On an average, people spend four hours on the internet. Digital is definitely the future. Everything that has a touch and feel is being moved online – right from apparel stores to newspapers and books. Digital personalities, influencers and media spend is mammoth and will only become bigger. Tech startups are the new wave and digital media is the most common way to consume content. The reach is manifold in the digital world.
Your advice to upcoming young entrepreneurs…
I haven't had all that much experience to advise young entrepreneurs, but I've definitely learned a few things worth sharing. The biggest thing I would say is to vet your idea thorough before going all in. That doesn't mean lose faith if someone doesn't believe in it, but speak to a wide range of people who will help you rip it apart. It's hard to hear but will help you refine your product in to the best possible version it can be. Second, be nimble. Ideas can change. Don't be so married to your idea that altering it is impossible for you. Digital is a constantly evolving platform, your idea has to evolve and grow with it. Lastly, don't take everything too seriously. Stop getting too affected by the highs and lows, start becoming more stoic and less emotional. If your idea, conviction and team is strong and your vision is clear, nothing can stop you.