Meet the father-daughter duo who are bringing conceptual products that would help make life easier, subsequently more ‘evolved’

Himanshu Shah and Krishika Shah

It’s Father’s day today and social media is full of emotional tributes! The transition from daddy’s little girl to Co-Founder is rarely an easy one. Whereas succession from father to son is not just accepted, but expected in the family business realm. Thankfully, times seem to be finally changing as the father-daughter bond is now maturing into successful business alliances. Hence, on the occasion of Father’s day, we got to know about this father-daughter duo- Himanshu Shah and Krishika Shah, who co-founded Evolve Interiors and Exteriors Solutions in the year 2014. Evolve Interiors and Exteriors Solutions is a new-age surface décor finishes company that combines technology with design to manufacture novel surface finishes applicable across interiors, exteriors, furniture, and artifacts.

They both come from very different worlds and that is what helps them personally and professionally. Mr. Shah’s prior entrepreneurial experience and network come in handy to areas like manufacturing setups, recruitment of senior positions, and cashflow management. While Krishika’s experience with digital communication, and understanding the functioning of the current world and needs of people, plays a pivotal role in the distribution network

Here are a few excerpts from the interview where  Krishika talks about the bond with her father as a co-founder:

1.    Tell us something about your relationship with your father as a co-founder?

We have a very dynamic professional relationship, where both of us bring an entirely different skill set to the table. Often we do have different world views on a matter, and it does involve a lot of discussions to get to a point of agreement.  After 7 years of working together, we now understand each other’s working styles better and know intuitively who will be taking the lead on what.

2.    What made you both start Evolve Interiors and Exteriors Solutions?

As a family, we are passionate travelers and have had the luxury of experiencing some really innovative lifestyle products across our travels. 

As a part of my BBA course, the last trimester required me to submit a business plan. Drawing from this exposure, I charted out a plan that involved introducing unique functional lifestyle products to the Indian market. Inspired by the plan, my father proposed if I’d like to start up in this space, and then there was no looking back. Since then we have pivoted our product offerings multiple times at Evolve, to adapt to market demand. 

My father’s strong technical background combined with my business development skills makes our skills very complimentary.

3.    When did you realize that your relationship with your father was going to change? Did you start seeing him in a different way when you started to work for him?

The very first week of working together.  It’s true what they say, everyone has a work personality and a home personality. His work personality was obviously different. But as someone who was new to the work-life, it seemed a little unusual and took a while getting used to. 

I definitely did start seeing him in a different way.  As a father at home, he has always been indulgent, jovial, and easy-going. But as a business partner, he was extremely particular, strict, and almost unforgiving about carelessness. 

He demanded a professional demeanor and aggressiveness, which in all honesty I now know I wasn’t prepared for then. But I now see that this was his attempt at inculcating entrepreneurial values in me. As a young adult working with a parent who is now supposedly your employer can be a tough experience. One that you can only completely comprehend in the longer run.  And trust me, I doubt that I completely understand it just yet. 

4.    How did your employees view the dynamic between you and your dad?

Well, I guess I must ask them this. But I assume they see it for what it is.  While my father is a seasoned entrepreneur, I bring the much needed young energy to the table. With his vast knowledge of all things business and love for innovation, he is the binding factor in the company. On the flip side, I bring the drive. With an experimental mindset and singular focus on consumer needs, I am the visionary of the business. So I  would believe our employees view our dynamic as an accelerant to success.

5.    What are the main concerns that women express when it comes to building a professional relationship with their fathers? What are the most common challenges?

While I cannot answer for all women, I can for myself. My main concern was never of gender, but more so of age. My father is extremely open-minded but believed maturity comes with age. And this was a cause of concern, as it does impact the timeline of activities as well as can be a potential hindrance to growth. 

One of the most common challenges that exist, in my opinion, is the need for validation. Working with a successful parent you tend to believe that the right answers lie within them. But over time you come to realize how untrue that can be. Another common challenge that I have seen is the need to adapt to their working styles. For example verbal interactions over written communication,  paper filing over digital storage, and labor reliance overuse of technology. 

6.    What were the initial challenges that you have faced in your journey?

One initial challenge that I faced in my journey was to find my own footing. Having no prior work experience in other firms, I neither know what my calling was nor did I know my strengths or weaknesses. Having started out right after college, I would say my self-awareness and understanding was limited, which did result in some poor decision making. However, the lessons I learned are something that helps me even today. 

7. What are your future plans?

I truly believe digital is the future. Today we get our news, our food, and even our education via technology.  And this is here to stay. We intend to digitize our product portfolio, which can be viewed using virtual reality. We are working on developing mixed reality experiences to make it easier for audiences to visualize our product. We constantly innovate on our offerings and are soon launching with user-friendly material kits that can be used across interiors and exteriors. 

8.    Anything else that you would like to add?

My father is my role model. His work etiquette has shaped my style of working. Inspired by his experiences, I am able to make assertive decisions. This journey although having a lot of ups and downs has taught me a lot in a very short time.  All said and done, I am what I am today because of him.