#PowerWomen: Don't Rely on Instagram or Pinterest; Bring in Your Own Thought - Mareesha Parikh
by Komal Parmar Industry Watch | March 3, 2021 | Interview
Mareesha Parikh PowerWomen Swaaha Weddings
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to a virtual forum on International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Mareesha Parikh, Creative Director, SwaahaExperience Management Company, about her journey.
Parikh’s exposure to varied global cultures, international trends and style, adds a new dimension while designing functions for families who like to opt for a path less trodden.
Here, she shares insights on her entry into the event industry, challenges she faced, position of women in the industry, priorities and some advice for young women entering the events space.
HOW I CAME TO BE IN THE EVENT INDUSTRY
This year, I completed 20 years in the events and entertainment space. I started my career as an anchor. I had participated in the Femina Miss India contest and I was one of the 26 finalists. I had dabbled in modelling earlier. I think my career really kicked off the minute I started taking on work as a corporate emcee. In fact, back then, there was a major dominance of male anchors and females were only called in when you had one of those glamorous events. Even when it came to talking serious issues, people always thought that a man is more knowledgeable. I was pretty young - probably 20-21 years old, and faced a bit of a challenge there. In fact, that pushed me to do more - I started reading up the Economic Times, not just the Times of India. To gain knowledge. I had a successful run as a master of ceremonies. Most of the network that I have built over 20 years is because of my work as an anchor. I started my wedding planning company and partnered with Hemant Kale exactly 10 years back, and it's been a great 10 years of making dreams come true - actually creating and cultivating dreams when a bride and groom do not exactly know what they want to do.
ON POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
I genuinely have not experienced anything unpleasant so far; I think a woman is treated according to the way she carries herself. We're very much responsible for the kind of response that we generate out of anyone, be it a woman across the table or somebody from the opposite sex. It is largely dependent on how patient you are to reach where you want to reach. It’s a game to get there, improving and working on your own craft. If that's the route you take, I don't think anyone in the events space can be exploited. I've been running wedding schools for the last three years, and I do end up interacting with a lot of young girls who want to get into this space -some coming from smaller cities, with lesser opportunities, who crave to come to a big city, because they know people will not judge them and think they will get an equal opportunity, which still doesn’t exist. We have a long way to go to do away with the typical mindset of most Indian families, who expect girls to live their lives till 23-24 and then get married and work in weddings only if their husbands allow. It is such a big shocker - I deal with it on a daily basis and there is only so much that I can do. I motivate them, I try to talk to their parents, and I try to change their mindset towards treating their child as an individual, and not a before-marriage and after-marriage kind of approach.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THE EVENT INDUSTRY
Go slow, learn a lot. Don't rely on Instagram all the time. Don't be obsessed with Pinterest. Bring in your own thought because a successful career really depends on what new you are going to bring on board and not what is already trending.
TALKING POINTS AT SWAAHA
I'm so passionate about weddings!Mera bass chaletoh me sab kishaadivapaskarvau!I just love the space that we are in. We've been able to create a great buzz for our company through the lockdown. I'm proud to say that none of my team members, including me and my partner, have even had a Sunday off through 2020. When everyone had time to relax, we were out there, working every single day because of some out-of-the-box new ventures that we got into. For example, one of the longest pre-wedding celebrations that the country has seen in 2020 was created by our team. We have done this beautiful mapping work and content and concept creation for a recent wedding. For me, creativity was, is and shall remain the USP of Swaaha. A great idea and your conviction and knowledge can push any client to invest in 10 to 15 minutes of glorified glamour. We're good at creating that kind of an aura and it has led to more and more people believing in the fact that content and creativity are going to last. That's what I think makes Swaaha what Swaaha is!
TRENDS IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY
An overtly involved bride is trending - a bride who assumes she knows it all because it's there on Instagram. So what you see is what you believe in. We are also challenged by other planners who want to underquote and vendors who want to directly approach clients. Besides that, what is trending is the fact that you've got to be able to amalgamate, you can't work in isolation, or in a space where you don't know what the bride is wearing. The make-up artistes cannot work in isolation without knowing what on earth is the plan or what is going on in the tech part. We all have had to come together to customize every single wedding and that is really trending. That's why you will see these unique weddings, which get covered by online portals all day long. What will keep trending is everyone's signature style. It's going to be difficult to pick on any one thing.
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to a virtual forum on International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Mareesha Parikh of Swaaha EMC, about her journey.