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‘Apeejay helped me evolve as a multidimensional person’

Founder of Punjab-based startup Damp 2 Decor and alumnus of AIMETC, Rushpinder Singh Chawla, says entrepreneurship is about having a strong futuristic vision

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Born and brought up in Kapurthala, Rushpinder Singh Chawla is an entrepreneur at heart. He owns an interior and furnishing startup, Damp 2 Decor, that he had established in 2011. In the same year, Rushpinder joined Apeejay Institute of Management & Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC) to pursue his MBA. In an interview, the 31-year-old entrepreneur shares how Apeejay polished his entrepreneurial skills, tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and more: Edited excerpts: 

Talk about your entrepreneurial journey?

I completed my graduation in Commerce from DAV College, Chandigarh and soon after that I began my entrepreneurial journey. I had started off with just two products. Gradually it grew and today it’s a one-stop shop for all interior and furnishing requirements. We have a wide range of products including furniture, mattress, wallpapers, carpets, curtains, home decor items, and so on. We have a very strong presence in Punjab. However, we also export our products to Delhi and other nearby cities. Moreover, this year my target is to expand the online presence of Damp 2 Decor across the country. 

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? 

I have had the creative inclination since I was young. And I wanted to channelise it in a better way. And hence, starting a decor and furniture business felt the right way. Interiors, decor, furnishing – these are very creative in nature and an evolving field. Moreover, I was sure I couldn’t limit myself to working in a 9-to-5 system. I am not cut out for that 9-to-5 job life. When I was pursuing my graduation, I picked up on my communication and people management skills. I know I have the ability to take risks. I realised that I am good at these. And so, I decided to use these talents and skills to start my own business. I established Damp 2 Decor two months before I joined AIMETC. 

Why a business in decor?

I had realised the existing market gap in Kapurthala. There was a need for a proper decor and furnishing store in the city. Interior and decor is something people are emotionally attached to. Gone are the days when interior or decor was treated like status symbols. Today, people are understanding the importance of aesthetics – they value it. It’s something people want to relate to and be connected to it. 

How did an MBA programme from Apeejay help you in your entrepreneurial journey?

Firstly, an MBA qualification from a renowned institute brings a lot of advantages. It is really important in an individual’s career. Apeejay provided me with a holistic environment to grow and evolve. I used to participate in several  workshops, events, and extracurricular activities. My teachers encouraged me to give a lot of presentations that further polished my communication skills. The faculty was very supportive. In fact, Dr. Rajesh Bagga had joined the institute that year as the Director. And when the support came from him, there was no way we wouldn’t rise and shine.   

Share fond memories from Apeejay days

I loved participating in the two-day annual fiesta, APEEJAY PINNACLE. The institute provided us with a flexible learning environment and innumerable learning opportunities that helped us to grow. Apeejay helped me in enhancing my soft skills. I certainly evolved as a multidimensional person. All faculty members at AIMETC were very encouraging and supportive. They really helped me to strike a balance between my MBA education and business. 

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs 

When you are an entrepreneur it’s really important to have a strong futuristic vision.  Everyone is talented – you just need to unlock that. You are just required to identify what you are good at. Have a clear mindset before you take up any career. Plus, have the patience and willingness to learn. 

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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