Lavina Rodrigues

Tough Times Don't Last, Tough People Do

Interior designer, Lavina Rodrigues has crossed the male bastion working on the interiors of naval ships and naval units. Her firm, Pyra quickly developed a reputation for exceptional customer service. Her story is an inspiration to every woman.

After interior designer Lavina Rodrigues designed her own home, her neighbours and friends, who were impressed by her style, suggested projects for her to take up. It was this word of mouth publicity that set her on her entrepreneurial journey. She pursued a two-year part-time course at LS Raheja College to bring in professionalism to her innate style.
She has crossed the male bastion working on the interiors of naval ships and naval units. Lavina’s is a story that is an inspiration to every woman. A go-getter, she tells what exactly it takes for a woman entrepreneur to succeed.

To cater to a client like the Indian Navy, a business with credibility and proven track record is expected, which her new firm Pyra did not have. So initially, Lavina bid for and won smaller contracts to modify and upgrade the interiors of naval ships. The big challenge was the design which would be constrained by the limited space inside a naval ship. “We worked with the limitations and were able to provide excellent work” says Lavina. Also Pyra quickly developed a reputation for exceptional customer service, quality finishes with timely execution and was able to build lasting relationships with clients and suppliers alike.

During the initial months, there was always a cash crunch, as the Indian Navy works on a credit system and the payment is done only after the completion of the project. During this critical period, Lavina faced a lot of struggle to keep hanging on. She sold all her jewellery and encashed fixed deposits to fund her projects. Some friends pooled in funds to get her started. Her learning from such experiences has been that tough times don’t last, tough people do! “My biggest strength is the fire in my belly that goads me to aim higher and higher. Another thing is my go-getter attitude and perseverance that hasn’t allowed me to give up”.
Pyra currently has a team of 15 members and claims to chart an annual growth of 30- 35 percent. So far, the company has completed interiors for over 10 naval ships and many naval units.

Interior contracting is a totally male dominated sector. Lavina has started inspiring and encouraging women entrepreneurs to stand on their own by taking on painting jobs, upholstery, wall papering, flooring installations, blinds and curtains making and installation. She has started regular training classes to give more options to women entrepreneurs who are as determined to aim for the skies.

A single parent with two young sons, Lavina says, “I am blessed to have very understanding and responsible sons. When it comes to work-life balance, I do take each day as it comes and spend quality time with them whenever possible. Believing in oneself and valuing one’s business fundamentals is the only way to embark on your entrepreneurial journey.”


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