“Think out of the box and work towards fulfilling a need which can turn into a business opportunity eventually”
Sheetal Phansopkar’s business is one that holds a brilliant streak of hopefulness amid the doom that is unsustainable living conditions. Through her business ‘Elegante Inspired Spaces’, Sheetal has envisioned how to redefine spaces using upcycled shipping containers to build sustainable spaces.
Explaining about ‘Elegante Inspired Spaces’ Sheetal says, “We are into building sustainable architecture such as Farmhouses, weekend cottages/getaway homes, boutique resorts, resort or home/backyard extensions, cafes, restaurants using recycled & refurbished shipping containers.This is a fairly new concept picking up in India, with a huge potential and benefits such as cost effectiveness, speedy construction time, safe and sturdy structure since it is made of Corten steel, easily transportable and can be customised according to clients needs.”
“It all started when I wanted to venture into the hospitality business by taking land on lease and building on it instead of using already available structure in order to construct what suits our taste,” says Sheetal on how she learnt about containers and the possibilities that it holds. “We realised that building anything permanent on a leased land has its drawback and that in the event of lease expiry the asset can’t be claimed.
That is when we came up with the idea of using shipping containers and fabricated them to suit our requirement. The biggest advantage in using these structures is that they can be easily transported as a single module and can be made as a plug & play unit.”
Sheetal started her career in the corporate world and decided to start something of her own after a decade of exploring the corporate industry. “I felt it was time to start something on my own which will benefit the society and create employment and awareness amongst the people on sustainable and eco friendly architecture solutions.”
She was 31 when she started her own business and an advice she would share with her younger self as an entrepreneur is that “Think out of the box and work towards fulfilling a need which can turn into a business opportunity eventually.”
Sharing about the challenges she had to face, Sheetal says “One of the main challenges we faced was to make clients realise that these modular structures are a better and faster option for creating habitable spaces than building conventional brick and mortar structures.”
It’s been a decade in the industry for this young entrepreneur and the biggest learning experience according to her is that “Everyone should keep their minds open to newer concepts in any field & work towards building a better and sustainable society for the future. I have also initiated conversations with a few NGO’s and government authorities since we wish to help support our community as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility and to help build public toilets and classrooms for children based in remote villages,” she concludes.