Meet the attractive and super smart country head of the most coveted international shoe brand.
She is charming, friendly but not overtly gushy. That’s what makes Anjali Gaekwar a seasoned professional, who goes about handling her high-end clients with effortless ease. This country head of an uber luxury shoe brand went to the exclusive St Margarets School, in Watford, England, before moving back to India for higher studies. What made Anjali opt to study psychology, economics and English at Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru? “Well, this was because my older sister was sent to boarding school at the age of 14! And she ended up being in England for seven years. My parents wanted to be fair and sent me at the same age. Post which, they moved to Bengaluru and wanted one of their daughters to come back home. Me being the younger one was bullied into coming back,” says the articulate and stylish luxe representative who has made a successful career in the business of brand management by working with Evian, Estee Lauder and now Christian Louboutin. “Until I worked for Estee Lauder, I never wore make up. Same with Christian Louboutin — I never really wore sexy heels, now that’s definitely not the case!” We can’t help but ask in jest whether people expect her to have the best collection of shoes? She laughs heartily “Yes!”
Most luxury buyers tend to shop for their favourite products when they travel abroad so how challenging is it to get them to buy stuff within India? “Honestly things have changed over the years — luxury buyers are happy to buy the brands if they are available here in India because they get the luxury experience/have a dedicated person who will look after their needs. And we are very competitively priced so for a few thousand, the shopper would much rather buy here, and spend their money on brands that are not available in India elsewhere!” asserts Anjali and since she is the expert, we will take her word for it.
Since Anjali has worked with such big names, what are the perks involved and the disadvantages too? You tend to become an influencer — get first choice of the hottest heels! There is opportunity to travel, and who doesn’t love that! You get to attend cool fashion events and parties! But there is a downside too. You’re always broke, buying and buying! You can be working long hours and dealing with dissatisfied customers,” she confesses.
But Anjali knows how to balance her life well. “I unwind by going to the gym and also by playing golf on weekends. My work involves travel, rarely do I get a chance to combine it with pleasure — It’s always about heading back home to the office. I Holiday twice a year — London, NYC are still my favourites (since my school friends are there),” she states.
Given the fact that Anjali is young and attractive, has she ever had to deal with advances (not necessarily at the work place) but perhaps from potential or important clients, who get too close for comfort?
“This has not happened to me thankfully. However, I would deal with it by following this five point strategy. Saying ‘No’ firmly — as long as it feels safe — say No immediately. Get away: Once someone has made you feel nervous, put space between yourself and them. Talk to your manager. Don’t ignore it — an unwanted advance is a form of injustice. Listen to your intuition,” she strongly asserts.
So we ask her, with sexual harassment becoming a norm these days, what measures should be taken to avoid such situations? “Adopt a clear sexual harassment policy. All staff should have a handbook on SH. Train employees. At least once a year, conduct training sessions for employees. These sessions should teach employees what sexual harassment is; explain that employees have a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment. Take all complaints seriously. Monitor the work place! (Talk to employees periodically about the environment),” she points out.
Besides her high profile job, Anjali is currently working on her passion project with her sister. “It’s a luxury retail advisory company that I started at the end of 2017. So post office hours, I am working on that!”
We can’t help ask her, why is such an attractive girl still single? “Because I haven’t met my Prince Charming yet,” she responds with disarming candour.