She created the brand, she remains its best ambassador and now run its as a successful business. Few women embrace electronics but Devita Saraf is one young woman entrepreneur who took this route at 24. Less than a decade later, her company is worth a 100 crore rupees. Saraf is the daughter of Rajkumar Saraf, Chairman and owner of Zenith Computers- a company where she worked as the Director of Marketing before branching out to start her own venture. And she hasn’t looked back since.
An ambitious young businesswoman, Saraf is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country today and is the dynamic and effective leader we all aspire to be. In an interview with Shubhangini Arora for SheThePeople.TV, Devita Saraf talks about her work, women and leadership. Here is an excerpt from the conversation:
Your father, Mr. Rajkumar Saraf, is the chairman and CEO of Zenith Computers. With an already established organization in the family, (where you were appointed as the Director of marketing), what made you take up a new and potentially risky endeavour?
Entrepreneurship is in my blood and it enables me to identify opportunities before many others. While the entire TV industry was moving towards cheaper goods, we aimed to launch Vu as a luxury television brand which appeals to the young Indian consumer who is tech-savvy and world-class. Today we are the most successful TV brand in the large size category after Sony, Samsung and LG and are the only company with an average team age two decades younger than competition, headed by a woman CEO and churning out innovations that industry stalwarts follow and try to copy. Risk is there is every venture, but the bigger risk is not being a visionary and adapting quickly to change.
Being a successful woman leader today, when you look back, what were the biggest hurdles in your way as an entrepreneur, and how did you get past them to reach where you are today?
The biggest challenge was handling our product distribution because we were dealing with old-fashioned, and often conservative people who wouldn’t take a risk selling products made by young Indians. Fortunately, we found our match in the e-commerce industry and Vu is now one of the largest selling and best rated TVs online. Of course, even in retail now we have distributors who have updated themselves with the trends and seen value in partnering with us. Interestingly, our distributors and dealers in smaller towns are now encouraging their daughters, daughters-in-law, wives, sisters, friends etc to enter the business after working with a woman CEO.
According to you, what does it take to be a successful woman entrepreneur in India today?
Forget you are a woman.
The SEBI women director deadline is about a week away and around 400 companies are still without one, despite a 6 month extension. Why do you think that is? As a woman,what do you think the females bring to the table that men probably don’t?
Women definitely bring a new perspective, and if your consumers are women it is important to have a board member who can represent your target audience and share insights into the ever-evolving Indian woman.
You are a young, self-made successful businesswoman. As a female, what challenges do you think women entrepreneurs, such as yourself, face in India today? Are things getting better now or do we still have a long way to go?
Different cities in India have a different attitude towards working women. It is best to choose a company where the work environment is progressive, cooperative and safe.
Our country today has some bright and successful women entrepreneurs. Still, we clearly have a long way to go. How do you think more women can be initiated into the corporate workforce?
More women in family business should ask for work participation or an opportunity to intern/work part-time. It is a safe and trusted environment that would earn the respect of their family, friends and community.
You have been honoured with numerous awards and accolades, you’ve written for the Wall Street Journal and you’ve been the national co-chair of FICCI. With all of this already achieved, what do you plan to accomplish in the next ten years?
I humbly wish to be a role model for Indian women who fight stereotypes and get leadership positions in their work. One day, I wish to be Prime Minister of our country.
Featured Picture Courtesy: Devita Saraf.com