Growing up, many of you may’ve felt your biggest struggle was to drive by your fave fast food joint without stopping since there was food at home (oh, the disappointment!). But, we probably haven’t taken a moment to appreciate how we find an international brand like this (and so many others) at arm’s length? Tanaz Pestonjee, Head of Lifestyle Brands at Abans PLC fills us in.
What has your journey in lifestyle brand management been like so far?
TP: When I was 23-years-old, I started off as a junior buyer. It was a great way to really understand the growth opportunities in the existing market. In addition to that, through my overseas travel, I was able to identify and start connecting with various brands I believed had the capacity to fulfill the gaps in the local market. Then, as time passed, the economy started to open up and that’s when things started to materialize. Right now, I’m heading a handful of international brands in Sri Lanka.
Bringing down big brands, like Hugo Boss, to a developing nation and managing them is incredible. How do you do it?
TP: At first it involves a lot of convincing. Before anything starts to materialize, international brands can be in the pipeline for as long as 5 years. Our company started when my grandmother, Aban, saw a gap in the market. Being a young housewife herself, she observed how homemakers did everything manually, like washing clothes by hand. So she started to contact and attract international brands to the country to enhance the Sri Lankan lifestyle. That’s precisely what I seek when I approach brands.
You’re a mom and the boss at work. How do you juggle these two roles?
TP: I don’t really see myself as the boss at work. Especially when you are a growing business, each team member has equal importance. Having said that, I’m definitely the boss at home! Overall, I’ve got the right support system in both areas, which is one major reason I can reach greater heights.
What do you want to say to girls who want to make it in the corporate world?
TP: I believe it all comes down to finding your true purpose and what you believe you can contribute back in your own way. And sometimes, despite what everyone else is saying, you might need to take a leap before you see a bridge.
What’s your vision board looking like?
TP: When it comes to my career, it’s inclined towards always seeking to add more value to our local market, and we’re regularly on the hunt for ways to connect with our customers, even within the digital space. Apart from this, I’m trying to break my everyday routine and focus on spending more time with my family.
Photography by Amitha Thennakoon. Art & Direction by Ricky De Silva. Videography by StoryWorks.