'Hard work and a great attitude go a long way': Manisha Kumar Chhabra

Hard work and a great attitude go a long way: Manisha Kumar Chhabra

The CEO/ Founder, Numaish Lifestyle Exhibitions, WOW Marketing, offers us a peek into her life

How do you typically start your workday?
I am a morning person and an early riser. I usually wake up around 6.30am. I start my day with a few moments of self-reflection and a cup of butter coffee while working on the daily crossword. After that I go for my walk. I always use the morning to call my parents before my day begins. This gives me a fresh perspective and focus to start my workday. I get to work around 9am. We have an open plan office and the first thing I do is have a team meeting. That's where we discuss all the activities for the week and status of things to do for the day. This can vary from marketing activations to deliberating on new design talent and conceptualising new ways to build our customer base. 
I tend to spend a lot of my morning after that with maintaining and building new relationships with suppliers, customers and scouting for new designers.
Describe your work in a sentence
Fast paced, exciting and innovating in terms of new marketing and sales strategies.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
Numaish is much more than an exhibition; it's a launchpad for new designers on the block. We scout for talent across the region, including Lakme Fashion Week and Amazon India Fashion Week, to uncover different textiles, patterns and ways to revive heritage in the most unexpected way.
For instance, in 2015, when sustainable fashion was just picking up globally, Gaurang, one of the most prominent names in the industry, was an integral part of my first show in Dubai. He is someone who championed handlooms and weaves, and I fell in love with his use of rich textiles that represent such a big part of Indian culture.
It takes immense time, effort and research to find the right mix for UAE shoppers. However, I am proud to say that almost 50 per cent of my show is always new talent and I hope to continue empowering fashion startups.
What has been your most challenging experience to date and how did you resolve it?
Over the last five years, I have invested time to understand and observe customer behaviour. Earlier this year, I gauged a very cautious attitude towards spending. I took that as a challenge to innovate and conceptualised a new segment for Numaish - Designer Deals - which was to collate some of the best brands in the business at an affordable and discounted price point for all.
Not only was it a challenge to persuade exhibitors, we had to inform and convince customers that it would be possible to get great value at a sensible price point. We managed to bring 17 crème de la de crème designers for that February show - and it was a fabulous hit. Our Designer Deal show was by far our best. It stood out from the crowd of exhibitors that season and had customers awaiting the next edition. As you can see, I am always looking for new innovative marketing strategies and Numaish is always about staying relevant.
What advice would you give your younger self, if you could?
It would be to learn the art of work-life balance. Moreover, I would tell myself to learn to my heart's delight, and spend more time playing sports and listening to music.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
I confess that I am a workaholic, and it's tough for me to switch off. But I do try to check out on Friday and spend that time with my loved ones.
Any advice for youngsters just getting into the professional arena?
There are two keys to successfully start off in any career: hard work and a great attitude. They go a long way.
A fictional character you think would make for a good role model - and why?
Sherlock Holmes is one of my favourite fictional characters. He is intuitive, persistent and comes up with creative solutions that make him a great role model for marketers!
What is your greatest dream, professionally?
I dream of one day producing a travel and food show that takes people to offbeat and remote locations, and showcases their culture with a culinary journey. Hopefully soon, when I have enough time and bandwidth.
- Staff Reporter

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