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The inspiring story of Hemal Kapadia

Hemal Kapadia is an experienced design professional with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry for 15+ years and the founder of Olive Design Studios. Read her inspiring story exclusively here on Famehall.

Hemal Kapadia - Olive Design Studio
Hemal Kapadia

Formal education and career -

Hemal Kapadia grew up in Kolkata. She studied in Loreto House and spent most of her childhood in India before doing her post-graduation in Advertising at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), New Zealand.

Growing up, she was greatly influenced by the advertisements, shows and magazines from Australia which she got access to via her aunt who lives in Sydney. Nature is her other inspiration - she was exposed to the simple life of villages courtesy her grandmother who lived in Suri, near Shantiniketan. Spending time with her grandmother, who was originally from Africa, she learnt how to be both traditional and modern at the same time. Her creativity was fueled from having access to a myriad of crafts, illustrations, creative thinking, artworks and writing at a very young age. It helped shape her ideas and who she grew up to be as a person in all areas of life.

Brief on the start-up-

When Hemal Kapadia came back from New Zealand after finishing her course in advertising, she attempted to work at a well-known agency but it was restrictive in certain aspects. They cut down her ideas most of the time, as they expected everything to be more traditional and obvious. But what she wanted to do was to try new things, to explore her creativity post her experiences abroad. It pushed her to set up her own company, Olive Design. It was one of the very few design studios at the time that primarily offered original artworks and illustration.

Over the years, Olive Design has worked with over 150 clients/brands regularly juggling different industries while learning a lot in the process. She got to work with several amazing clients which helped her get a glimpse into the inner workings of how different businesses work on a day-to-day basis.

It helped her understand how to approach different strategies and design for brands, to better understand their mission and vision, (sometimes help them understand it too) because she took a personal interest in all her clients. It allowed her to learn and grow alongside them.

After a few years, in 2011, she set up East India Dezign Co. A lot many ideas would emerge through the creative process and she wanted to make a "make in India" brand of products way before the term became a brand in itself. EIDC, is a luxury and lifestyle brand with a khazaana of products that are original, opulent and handcrafted in India. Based on the theme, products are designed and produced in varied mediums.

How they stand-out and future plans -

Their uniqueness lies in the experience and personal touch that the company brings to the brands and services they cater to. Although they have several competitors doing similar jobs, they stand-out because their clients experience working with the agency as if it were a part of their own company. Being so deeply passionate about design, people and creativity, that is an obvious expectation.

She is moving to the US soon to be with her fiancé who lives there. Her next dream is taking the company across the global market and to showcase products and services that are proudly made in India. A dream she had since childhood.

Source of inspiration -

Her biggest source of inspiration is God and everything He has made her experience. The good, and the bad that sum up her life experiences thus far - have all helped shape her as a person and professional. She is deeply inspired by her Guru, her mother and her grandmother.

When it comes to her profession, her biggest inspiration is Ratan Tata. Not only is he an industrialist, but he is also a philanthropist. He doesn't simply dream of a better life for himself but also for others and she believes nothing could be higher than that. He showed her that dreams can come true by living by his own principles and that inspires her very much.

Recently, she partook in an event with Indra Nooyi, (former CEO of PepsiCo), where she heard Nooyi speak about her life and the lessons she learnt over the years. Being on one's journey, achieving great success, being down-to-earth and approachable are qualities that reflect Nooyi and that attracted Hemal Kapadia as qualities she would like to develop in herself.

Advice to young entrepreneurs -

“First and foremost, get a mentor, if possible,” is the advice Hemal Kapadia gives to entrepreneurs that are just starting out. When she first started, she had to learn a lot from making mistakes. Which is also a great teacher but having a guide and support system truly makes the journey easier and also more promising.

The second advice she would give them is to not only work hard, but also smart. One should not only have clarity and a vision regarding their work but to also have an understanding of who they want to be. That acts as a guide through every trial and triumph.

Above all, it is important to think of the welfare of others, whoever we are working with - our family, our team, our staff/help and also oneself. “Balance (in work and personal life) is the most important thing, especially when you’re first starting out because you can get carried away,” she concludes.

Achievements -

She does not consider herself an achiever as she feels she is still a student in this race of life. She is still young and she wants to grow so much more. But, she is very proud of the work she has done along with her team and the efforts put into the company till date.

She has been a guest lecturer and Jury in design schools including NID and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). As well as being invited as speaker in design seminars in Mumbai and Kolkata.

While she does showcase her work regularly to students of design, she considers sharing her life journey as foremost - "talking about my experiences and lessons learnt throws light on how to be as a person and what kind of principles one should inculcate in their lives". She believes they are very important lessons to teach the next generation.

She was also the Founder Mentor of Kolkata Design Week which was a festival on design held in 2019 and Head of Europe based organization, IxDA (Interaction Design Association), Kolkata. Recently she was conferred with the title of East India's Woman Leader at the Leadership Awards by Times Ascent & CMO Asia.

But, her biggest achievement is having the privilege of working with very talented and creative people in her life.

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