11 Apr 2017, 09:07 — 6 min read
Love can form some of the most fruitful partnerships for people - helping them overcome challenges and assisting them in achieving something truly noteworthy. Catherine Nieddu from Canada, met Roberto Nieddu, in Rajasthan while the two were sourcing furniture for export for their respective businesses. They fell in love, with each other, and with Rajasthan and decided to settle there. It has been over twenty since then and they still live and work in Jodhpur.
They have created a successful business involving interior design and architecture - CRN Estates & Designs Pvt. Ltd. Their passion lies in designing and creating spaces that combine atmosphere and aesthetics with practicality and functionality. Catherine, additionally, runs a clothing and accessories store called ‘Via Jodhpur’. They cherish an abiding love for India and are strong proponents of the art and culture of the region of Rajasthan.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) Catherine Nieddu (CN) shares their unique business journey.
GL: Tell us about your business.
CN: Roberto Nieddu, an Italian, started living in Jodhpur in 1993 when he paired up with Laji Handicrafts to help them design and produce decorative rod iron for homes. He had spent many years visiting Jodhpur on buying trips for his company in the US Virgin Islands where he supplied his own shops with goods from India, Thailand and Indonesia. At this time, Jodhpur was predominantly a centre for antique furniture and wooden tribal art, not much was being produced, only sourced, from various parts of India. He met me, his Canadian wife, Cathy Nieddu, in Jodhpur sourcing the same type of things. We never left! Now we both work in our design company, CRN Estates and Designs, on many interesting architectural projects in India and around the globe. CRN Estates and Designs specialises in architectural and interior design, both on heritage properties and for hotel and restaurant projects as well as designing and building private homes. While Roberto spends most of his time and energy on architectural projects, I run a clothing and accessories shop in the heart of the blue city called ‘Via Jodhpur’.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
CN: As we have lived in Rajasthan for over 20 years we have had to overcome many challenges and do many things for ourselves, and for this reason have many businesses. We have been exporting handmade and beautifully finished wooden furniture, stone pieces and decorative ironware to Europe and America, and many other countries since 1993. Although we still export our designs around the world, most of our business today is with the Indian market. Some of the more difficult challenges are in the area of human resources. In smaller cities, it is still very difficult to find well trained people that are able to perform on a professional level that our foreign customers are used to. We got Mr. Naresh Chauhan and his wife Maya from Delhi, and they have been by our side for twenty years. Having them facilitate communication with labour has been critical in making our business successful. The concept of time has also been challenging - one part of the world never has enough - and the other part seems to have too much!
GL: What is the USP of your business?
CN: Definitely the combination as a couple of being Italian and Canadian and living in a Rajasthani environment gives us a unique outlook on life. Our love for this country, for old architecture, colour and modern living allows us to create spaces that are a good blend of beauty, comfort and good living. We feel that it is important for India to keep her identity going into the future, and as a unique blend of people and cultures keep some of the characteristics that have always made this country so special. We all need to recognise our uniqueness to make us stand out from the crowd.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
CN: About 10 years ago when businesses in the west were not performing very well we made the decision to work more closely with the Indian market. There was potential here in India as the middle class was emerging and the younger generation was demanding new things in all sectors but particularly in lifestyle. It was a good opportunity for any export companies in India to turn around and start servicing their own much larger market. From building furniture to building homes, we feel this has been our biggest achievement. Creating a happy place, a safe place and a comfortable environment for people is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting and assisting SMEs?
CN: GlobalLinker plays a big role in creating a platform for SMEs to meet and exchange ideas with one another. Allowing smaller companies to interact brings on new ideas and a broader way of thinking. GlobalLinker is creating an atmosphere where people can learn from each other.
GL: What is your big business dream?
CN: Our business is our lifestyle, it can be difficult to separate the two. The nature of our business demands that we work hard but with technology making everything so much easier to stay connected, we can take the time to visit family and friends and still be working. For us it is not how big we can grow our companies but the time we have to live balanced and fulfilled lives.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
CN: For aspiring entrepreneurs it is important that they keep their objective in focus and follow their instincts. There are plenty of people that innocently try and steer you in what they feel is the correct way, but it might not be your way. Stay true to your inner strengths and listen to those around you but act on your own will.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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