Women in Business Q&A: Deepa Lakhani, Co-Creator, Deepa Gurnani

Deepa Lakhani

Deepa Lakhani is a co-creator of the luxury accessories brand Deepa Gurnani, which launched back in 2006. Early on in her career, Deepa worked with prestigious designers such as Alexander McQueen, Ungaro and Fendi while studying at the renowned Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Deepa then used the profound understanding of couture and quality she learned combined with her distinct style to create her own line of hand-embroidered and beaded accessories, each handcrafted in India.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
By making many mistakes! Each day is a new day to learn new things. The fact that I can say I made a mistake, is what makes me stronger and determined to learn form my mistakes and take my company to the next level.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Deepa Gurnani?
My previous employment experiences have actually given me the courage to start my own business. Working for large and small companies gave me the opportunity to experience challenges and the wisdom on how to tackle them.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Deepa Gurnani?
Our brand is carried in the best stores around the world and we have worked with great people all over to make this happen. The company is not just about me. There would be no company if I did not have a great team that has really helped me reach where I am today. The challenge has always been to keep the momentum going. There are days where one feels it is too much to handle, but then you sit back, take a deep breath and reassure yourself that this too shall pass! (My daily mantra!)

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
The industry is large enough for everyone to make it. Hard work does pay off. Keep that passion alive and there is no stopping you.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
Never burn any bridges! You never know who may come in handy. People need to realize this earlier on in their lives.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Yoga & Meditation are a big part of my life. The practice brings balance to my daily routine.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Personally, I feel women try hard to bring other women down in the workplace due to their own insecurities. We need to stand by each other and help one another to accomplish more in life.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have been blessed to have such great mentors in my life. The guidance that I have received in all aspects of my life has helped me get to where I am today. Everyone needs some guiding force in their lives to direct them to get on the right path. Life is all about making mistakes and learning from them. Taking risks are what I do best now!

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
In the industry, I am a huge fan of Anna Wintour. She has taken fashion to many "next levels" and is a pioneer for us all in the industry. Outside of the the industry, I truly admire Malala Yousafzai as this young girl is an inspiration to us all. She teaches us to keep moving ahead and fight for the right thing!

What do you want Deepa Gurnani to accomplish in the next year?
To employ more Artisans, so we can preserve this craft of hand embroidery and to give back to more charities around the world.