Eighty percent of us have made plans for our life. While we prepare to take our next major step and cross off the items on our bucket list, it takes a rare few among us to put that aside in favour of an irrefutable surge of passion.  The ‘real’ world does not teach passion to be an important concern on which to build a future. Those who know, however, understand that there is no greater fuel for soulful gain than one that is continually helped by a passionate viewpoint and a close-knit feeling. There is no place quite like home. Anudinee Wimalasundera, the Owner and Director of ZAHAARA Sanctuary (private) Ltd is here to narrate her success story, driven purely through the fervour towards interior design. 

Anudinee needed a break from the corporate arena which has taken her far from her creative self. After acquiring her Bachelors in Commerce with a double major in Marketing and International Business, her next step as a Business Analyst kept her yearning for something more true to her soul. While exploring arenas of possibilities, Anudinees plans and goals settled to be fully led by passion, which was home decor; a subject that was very dear to her heart. Imaginativeness and inventiveness cling to the mind that is rare enough to possess both. In a need to deliver a glimpse of her genius, Anudinee tested the market waters, welcoming a twist of fate and huge leap of faith, changing her career path completely by founding her own home decor business, ZAHAARA Sanctuary in Melbourne.

She began with a line of handcrafted cushion covers created from designer fabrics imported from the United States. Her keen eye, on the other hand, was quick to spot the market niches that needed to be filled. “Seeing many gaps in what the customer needed and what was available in the market, I went on to research the outdoor fabric manufacturing processes and standards available. I made my own fabric patterns and with great help from the outdoor fabric manufacturers, came to life ZAHAARA Sanctuary’s own outdoor fabrics. They came to the market first as outdoor cushion covers., Anudinee explained. Whilst finding her true calling, Anudinee also became a mother to her first born and a collective decision was made to move back into the motherland. This twist of plan came with a twist of her newly started career. When I came to Sri Lanka, every dynamic of ZAHAARA Sanctuary changed. I had to send my home decor to customers overseas and the price point had to be dropped.  Soon, the cushion cover market diluted. Then I had to research the market again to find bean bags as something ZAHAARA Sanctuary could really add value in. After a lot of research and deliberation, a new range of outdoor bean bags were added to ZAHAARA Sanctuary. After seeing the beautiful handloom cotton fabrics of Sri Lanka, soon a handloom cotton ethnic range was also introduced. While initially ZAHAARA Sanctuary solely focused on the overseas market, it took us by surprise to see the enthusiasm in bean bags and home decor within Sri Lanka. Now our market is 60% Australia, UK, USA and 40% Sri Lanka.” Accordingly, Challenges were accepted and adapted for, making ZAHAARA Sanctuary an iconic name among those who look to add high quality eye-candy material to beautify their spaces.

Anudinee states that ZAHAARA Sanctuary is always on the lookout for opportunities that help them satisfy the hunger of the customers for ravishing design material. To ensure this need is being met, the collection may constantly widen while always prioritising that the phenomenal quality standard are met.  Anudinee believes that the customers are increasingly on the lookout for elegant and innovative goods that are made to last. It is a fine balance between cherishing our own unique makings while adapting and relinquishing those beyond the borders. Catering to this tricky market of serving hearts and souls designed as bean bags and other elements, Anudinee is confident that the merge of cultures will last for a long time. “We are never in a rush to reach objectives…. We walk at our own pace while bringing up children and living life. What I cannot do within my lifetime, will surely be fulfilled by others who choose to walk by ZAHAARA Sanctuary”, the heroine added, confidently.

Having started with love and genuine passion, each move ZAHAARA Sanctuary makes represents every bit of that core strength. Almost whimsical and certainly meant to cheer up anyone around, patterns used on these goods are meant to bring in unsolicited sunshine, peace, and good will into people’s lives. These 100% handmade goods are painstakingly crafted by Lankan mothers. Anudinee states that no joy can overcome that of when customers appreciate and put to words the effect ZAHAARA has on their lives. ZAARAH team also are distributing stationery and books to children in need attempting to make as best as they can.

Given that our lives are incredibly fast paced, leaving practically little time to explore creativity, the protagonist refers to interior design as the “shred of art remaining in our day-to-day existence.” As a result, home décor may be a great area to unleash untapped potential.  Anudinee believes that the Interior design profession would evolve to be a much-needed well-being consultant that gives freedom, convenience, flow, and simplicity to the everyday bustling household as an industrial icon of innovation.

“The moment a customer knocks at our door, we are humbled by the notion that they understood our creativity and passion. And that they chose us beyond the number of other options. Their presence is the only reason that we can go on to do what we love, every day. Brutal honesty is another practice we stand by daily. The customer will always know exactly what they are getting. They will never have to live with an item they would not need and love,” added the talented and modest entrepreneur, setting benchmarks of modernising composition, creating art that even a fast-paced world would stop and stare at.