Anagha (Scion Of Camlin Group): Soaring and Reaching New Heights Since 2002
Just when they say, “it can’t get more impressive than being the heiress to one of the largest business groups in India and in the world”, it was exactly when she proved them wrong and founded one of the most sought after international luxury hardware and fitting brands.
Meet Anagha Dandekar, Founder and Creative Director of Hardware Renaissance
Based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hardware Renaissance is the brainchild of Anagha, who has for sure taken the luxury hardware market by the storm. It is as delectable as inspiring a sight to watch gritty women like Anagha. She spearheads a company manufacturing products that wouldn’t be perceived as one of the particularly “women-centric” choices of business, to many.
Fueled by the passion of bringing together the best of craft, technology as well as panache in its products, the company, just like its founder Anagha, has been soaring and reaching new heights of success ever since its inception in 2002.
Chirpy Birdy got the opportunity to interact with this inspiring figure.
Chirpy Birdy: What made you choose to start something different than joining your own Camlin Group?
Anagha Dandekar: I always knew that I would be in business, because growing up in the Camlin family with both parents heading the company, we lived and breathed business. I didn’t know I would be in door hardware, though. I had come to the USA to get an MBA and was planning to go back and work in Camlin. But I decided to stay on here instead. Getting started in luxury door hardware was through a chance meeting with someone who I co-founded the company with, as the idea of creating something new intrigued me.
Chirpy Birdy: Is there a Psychological benefit of being from a big business house while running your own startup?
Anagha Dandekar: Yes certainly. Even if the business is separate, you have the support and knowledgebase from the larger business, and from the family. I have been very lucky in that respect, as I can avail of the expertise and contacts. You don’t feel like you are going it alone, even if the responsibility for your own business is all yours.
Chirpy Birdy: How your family reacted after knowing about your business plan?
Anagha Dandekar: My parents were initially disappointed that I did not return to join Camlin, but then they were fully supportive of my business plans, as they have been of everything in my life. And I have received so much moral support and advice from them along the way.
Chirpy Birdy: What are your product ranges for different categories of customers?
Anagha Dandekar: We offer only a premium product range catering to the high-end segment of customers. Because we use the highest quality bronze alloy, and everything is hand crafted to order, it is difficult to cater to different market segments.
Chirpy Birdy: What are the Challenges that you faced in US pertaining to your business?
Anagha Dandekar: We had some key challenges in the early stages, as is to be expected. The biggest one was to create a range that was up to our exacting expectations. We started with hand forged iron, and NOBODY had done what we were setting out to do. The craftsmanship had to be authentic, according to real blacksmithing techniques and traditions. That means each piece has to be made from scratch by hand, by a blacksmith. Cheaper techniques such as fabrication and welding are not okay. Then it also had to work perfectly – combining a completely hand crafted product with modern engineering, so it can work perfectly with modern locking systems was a real challenge.
The USA is the most demanding market in the world, and there are two larger companies in our high end segment who were established long before HR. So competition is intense. We have developed a niche for a more hand crafted product with unique finishes.
Chirpy Birdy: What is keeping you motivated to continue the same line of business?
Anagha Dandekar: There is so much more to be done in this field, and that keeps me motivated. I love the process of creation – new designs, new finishes, and pushing the envelope on unique details. In creating and designing my hardware, I am continually inspired by nature. And new markets bring their own unique challenges which keep it interesting!
Chirpy Birdy: We would love to know about your expansion plans for next 3 years.
Anagha Dandekar: Growing a company focusing on hand crafted and high quality products is not the same as growing a mass produced line. I have to keep in mind the supply of expert artisans and craftsmen as comprising the quality or the way we make the hardware is not an option. So I plan to grow with a measured approach. We plan to expand our distribution nationally and also into the middle east from the India base. And I am also keen to tie up with creative designers or architects in India to develop distinctive designs. I also plan to grow our hospitality portfolio – working on high end boutique hotels with a strong design element.
Chirpy Birdy: What motivated you to start a business that is thought to be male dominated?
Anagha Dandekar: It certainly is a challenge, but I was brought up to believe I could do anything regardless of my gender. So it does not bother me, rather I thrive on destroying stereotypes in people’s minds. I am particular to be as knowledgeable about the technical side of hardware as the design side, so I can handle any situation with a customer. I can recall some interesting meetings where upon being introduced as the owner of Hardware Renaissance, men have not-so- subtly tried to probe my technical knowledge, to see if I really know my products, or whether I am just “the face” of the company!
Such is the confidence and modesty of this incredible lady, that she never lets anybody take control of her potentials and capabilities. Even after being the scion of one of the most reputable business houses, she did not let herself incarcerated and went on to make her own impact in the business world. Candidly speaking, very few in that position have what it takes to forge a fortune for themselves, by virtue of their own grit and mettle.
We congratulate Anagha and wish her all the very best in all her endeavors!