Designing spectacular spaces, instilling comfort and sophistication to one’s home or workplace, Kishani Kaluarachchi; Managing Director of Wall Art (Pvt) Ltd, steadily knows how to bring in personality and life to the interiors of spaces.
Kishani began as a Financial Analyst upon completion of her studies. By the age of 25, she was working long hours at a wonderful company, and while she did enjoy her position there, she mentions the lack of time for a personal life as it was a highly stressful workplace. This made her realize that she wouldn’t be able to find a career that she would enjoy as well as one that would challenge her, so she began looking into starting her own business, which she did, and so Wall Art was established.
She recalls her grandfather, a prosperous entrepreneur, and philanthropist, as she delves more into the narrative of Wall Art. Kishani was encouraged to follow in his footsteps at a young age, and she knew she would one day institute her own brand. She read a lot of business literature, including biographies of great business individuals, and desired to learn about different management methods and keep herself current, as she was interested in anything and everything to do with entrepreneurship and business.
Kishani’s primary purpose was to deliver a product and service to Sri Lankan consumers that were not available on the market. Wallpaper was a commodity that was widely available and used in other countries, but there were no enterprises in Sri Lanka that sold it on a retail basis. When she realized there was a gap in the market, she set out to find a good European source who could provide a high-quality product. The brand imports high-end wallpaper from all over the world, and Kishani carefully selects her suppliers considering wallpaper is designed to endure a long time. She goes on to say that she desired to create her in-house installation crew rather than hire outside contractors as wallpaper installation is an art and a skill of its own. She boldly proclaims that Wall Art is Sri Lanka’s only wallpaper company with its full-time installation team, who are the finest in the country with years of quality experience.
When asked about the challenges she had at Wall Art and how she overcame them, Kishani says that the company’s main product is wallpaper, which few Sri Lankans were familiar with or had used when they first initiated in 2012. Their main dispute in the first five years was establishing a market by explaining the benefits of wallpaper and persuading potential customers to try it out. Fast forward to now, Wall Art’s products are widely utilized around the island, and they consist of a large network of architects and interior designers with whom they collaborate systematically.
Kishani believes that having an adequate, stimulated team that is pertinent to a company’s culture is one of the most crucial parts of a successful business, noting that it took her many years to establish a significant team that works well together and is focused on the company’s growth. It’s also crucial to her to provide the finest quality of customer service possible, with no delays throughout the process, so that consumers have a positive experience and are more likely to promote the products to others, as she receives a lot of her business through recommendations. Lastly, it is critical to be involved in every part of the organization until one has developed a solid team to whom one can delegate.
When it came to running a business amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, Kishani reports the brand was fortunate in that its imports were unaffected because they were importing all year save during the lockdown periods. The majority of their hotel and commercial projects came to a halt last year, but the construction industry and their customer base were less affected by the crisis, and most of their projects have since resumed and business has recovered.
Kishani’s ambitions for Wall Art in 2021 and beyond include expanding their product selection with more premium décor products and furnishings that are not broadly available in Sri Lanka, as well as opening more branches in major cities around the country. To conclude, she speaks on a galvanizing quote, “If your intention in life and business is not solely personal gain but to uplift your staff and provide great value and service to customers, everything will fall into place for you to be successful.”