Gauri Barve Kale: The Master of Design & Execution

Gauri Barve Kale,Founder & Director

Gauri Barve Kale

Founder & Director

Owing to the massive amount of press and fanfare surrounding the world of startups, a majority of aspiring entrepreneurs have developed several misconceptions about the industry. Apart from perceiving it as a glamorous world, many largely focus only on coming-up with an attractive business plan. “In reality, building a successful business is not as much about making an attractive business plan as it is about mastering execution, managing people, staying consistent and going-out there and doing your bit each and everyday without losing focus,” says Gauri Barve Kale, Founder & Director, Therefore Design, a multi-disciplinary design practice. Having learnt this the hard way and gone through the grind of building a successful enterprise from scratch, Gauri’s journey makes for a fascinating entrepreneurial story.

Precursor to Foundation
A gifted designer and an astute businesswoman, Gauri heads the Communication Design practice at her firm that specializes in communication design, experience design, exhibition design and product design. A graduate with a degree in Applied Art from Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai, she met her Co-Founders Dhun, Nitin and Vrishali, while pursuing a post-graduate degree in Graphic Design from National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Inspired by the entrepreneurship and self-initiative friendly atmosphere at NID, the young designers were raring to venture out on their own. But heeding the advice of industry seniors, Gauri took-up a job at Elephant Design in order to get acquainted with the tricks of the trade. Fast-forward two years and she found herself getting too comfortable. “I knew that if I wanted to start something on my own, Now was the time. The feeling resonated with my partners and we all quit our jobs and took a leap of faith,”Gauri adds.

The four young design enthusiasts founded Therefore Design in the winter of 2009. The company has since gone through various ups & downs and has emerged as a thriving studio with team strength of over 30, more than 70
prestigious projects in its kitty and the prestigious Red Dot Award to its name.

Counting Lessons & not Mistakes
Rome, they say, was not built-in a day and neither is any successful business entity. Therefore Design’s story is no different. Traversing persistently through the highs & lows that are inevitable in any entrepreneur’s journey, Gauri powered through the gaffes to come-out having learnt valuable lessons.

During our initial days, as young designers, who were very eager to create, we wanted to go beyond client briefs and challenge our design sensibilities

Recounting one such instance Gauri narrates, “During our initial days, as young designers, who were very eager to create, we wanted to go beyond client briefs and challenge our design sensibilities to create unique products. In the quest we designed and produced sets of playing cards that were inspired by the ancient art of Ganjifa. However, we soon discovered that we had no idea or planning in place as to how we were going to sell the playing cards. After having failed miserably at selling the cards, we realised the importance of market study, pricing and marketing. It also gave us a deeper understanding of the complexities of the marketplace”.

In another instance, Therefore Design was approached by one of its real estate clients who were interested in gaining a majority stake in the firm. Although the move would have meant financial stability to the firm, the team realised that they were too unorganized at that point to be able to monetize the situation. The company has since become a self-sustaining business unit, but is also open to funding for passion projects that are undertaken parallelly.

Vaulting into the Big League
Having imbibed the valuable business lessons, Gauri’s company has progressed from working with medium-sized brands to premier clients such as Godrej and Haldiram’s. Therefore Design was instrumental in launching close to 15 varieties of Haldiram’s products, which gave the firm an immense understanding of the market and users. Gauri and her team actively approached food companies with its
packaging design expertise and received a great response. Consequently, clients such as Vadilal, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Baskin Robbins, Madhu Jayanti and Gadre Marine signed on Therefore Design for their brand architecture and packaging designs.

Additionally, the company also worked with Asian Paints, Philips and Yash Papers on research and product design projects that have received international acclaim. The icing on the cake has been the coveted Red Dot Award that the firm was bestowed upon with for a range of sustainable tableware that was designed for Chuk, a brand by Yash Papers.

A Sum of All Experiences
A forthright person, Gauri’s entrepreneurial journey has been enriched by the various experiences that she has gone through so far.“I think experiences are very important. They make you who you are and determine how you take decisions. For an instance, my maternal grandfather who ran a chain of businesses in a small town in Maharashtra would always grouse about how Maharashtrians play it safe and stick to jobs and never venture into something on their own. Subconsciously that always stayed at the back of my mind and helped me decide to start up on my own,” explains Gauri.

The outdoorsy mother who is a self-proclaimed foodie believes-in updating herself through reading blogs, and taking every opportunity to meet diverse kinds of people. “Designing is all about context and understanding that about every industry we work with,” Gauri says. Meeting people from all walks of life and young designers acts as an excellent source of inspiration and understanding for her. Underway the journey of self-discovery, Gauri has turned every barrier on her entrepreneurial odyssey into a stepping stone.

Key Management:
Gauri Barve Kale, Founder & Director
The talented design enthusiast is not only an expert at crafting impeccable designs, but is also well-versed with the nuances of executing a design from start to end. Leveraging her experience of having worked on critical projects for premier brands, Gauri is leading her company into becoming an industry leader.

Office: Pune
Services: Communication design, Experience design, Exhibition design and Product design