27 May 2024, 13:47
By Furniture News May 12, 2016

Sheetal Sachdev, Treniq

Sheetal Sachdev is the CEO and founder of Treniq, an online platform for interior designers and architects to discover luxury furniture, lighting and home accessories to buy at trade prices. The site facilitates the discovery, engagement and trade between professional buyers and global sellers.

How did you enter the trade?
As an interior enthusiast, I used to visit a lot of trade shows and events to find exclusive products. It proved to be a challenging process not only to connect with brands but also to keep track of new and emerging brands that I had met and products that I loved.

Many interior designers I met also faced the same difficulties. This got me thinking and the idea for Treniq was born. I wanted a central place where industry professionals could connect and do business, so I set about researching the market and began developing the idea from scratch.

Who is your inspiration?
My greatest inspiration would have to be my parents. They always believed in me and my creative flair and encouraged me to pursue my ambition. My love of interior design and bespoke furniture was instigated by them.

I remember back in India, every time my parents bought something new for the house it was mostly customised – everyone would admire the furniture and it created a real focal point. I was amazed at how a room could be transformed by a striking piece of furniture. These memories serve as a real driving force for me even now.

What has been your career high point so far?
Even though I was happy in my previous career and job choice, there is nothing better than pursuing your true ambition. With the support of my husband Nitesh, who is also my business partner, I have been fortunate enough to pursue a career that I am passionate about. It’s very motivating to receive a positive response when we engage with our customers and industry professionals about our services and products.

… and low point?
I remember trying to start my own business in 2011 but funds were very limited and it was very hard to get any backers and support. However, undeterred, I persevered and tried to start my own company, manufacturing linen, during weekends while also holding down a full time job.

It proved to be too difficult to do both simultaneously and earning a living was the priority at that point in my life, so I sold the company. At the time I felt like I had failed but in hindsight, I had actually learned a lot about the industry and started building my network.

… and the turning point?
I was at a point in my life and career where I had achieved success on both a personal and professional level, but I wanted to progress further and the next natural step for me was to become my own boss. I took a bold step in leaving a very successful job which I was happy doing, to develop a business which I was passionate about.

Describe a typical working day
The great thing about this job is no two days are the same, and as CEO I am involved in all aspects of the business. Since we operate on a global level the hours are never 9-5.

On a day-to-day level – I would attend to email enquiries first thing and interact closely with my international brands to ensure they are happy with their engagement through the site. Meetings with customers and potential clients take up the majority of the day. Treniq also takes part in trade shows and so I work very closely with the brand and my PR and marketing teams to ensure everything is managed properly.

If you had to start over, you’d probably pursue which career?
If I ever had to start over again, I would choose to do exactly what I am doing now. Following your dreams and loving what you do makes it easier and it’s a real driving force. I have been really fortunate to be able to leave a successful career and take up this challenge, with full support of my family and friends. I also have an incredibly supportive and hardworking team who contribute so much to the success of Treniq.

What date on the business calendar do you most look forward to?
I really look forward to trade shows whether we are exhibiting or not. I personally make it a point to visit as many shows as possible. It is a platform where we get to meet potential brands and get the opportunity to understand the different challenges faced by the industry. Importantly, the trade shows bring the industry together under one roof and allow crucial networking opportunities with like-minded professionals.

What is the most important issue affecting your business right now?
One particular issue faced by so many businesses is limited resources, and Treniq is no exception. We have been very fortunate in getting significant traction from brands and customers and the challenge now is to keep up with the demand. We are now in the process of rapid expansion and recruitment to keep up with the demands of the business. It is a very exciting time for us right now.

What company do you most look up to?
Although from a completely different industry, I really admire Apple, particularly for its ability to deliver incredible cutting-edge and innovative technology. Apple has changed the way in which the world communicates and has been at the forefront of the technological revolution and its products have had a huge impact.  Although we operate in a separate industry, I would love to see Treniq as the industry’s cornerstone in a position of pride and prominence and as the go-to place for interior professionals. 

What would you most like to change about yourself?
From time to time I would love to be able to spend more quality time with my family. Managing a start-up company, I end up working round the clock to respond to global clients and to develop the business. Since my business partner is also my husband, our mealtime conversations tend to revolve around work! Although we both thoroughly enjoy what we do, we are always ideating about how we could do business better.

What do you enjoy most about working in the trade?
The luxury-furnishing sector is incredibly challenging as we are working with brands who are industry leaders. They have been around for years. While they have the product expertise, we support them with newer ways to do business online.

It’s not always easy to introduce new ways to companies who have had a set pattern for years. But the world is changing and consumers are absorbing information in different ways. While they understand the need to go digital, some brands are more reticent in changing their ways. For me, bringing established brands on board with Treniq is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.

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