Vivek Khemani

1 Jun

“Never keep an ego— it’s of no good; it will only take you one way in life – downwards!” – Vivek Khemani

India is booming and the youth play an integral part in facilitating the “boom” as the country moves closer towards becoming a world class economical hub. Vivek Khemani, is one of those very young entrepreneurs who realizes the importance of his contribution to the nation. Savvy, smart and successful the London return, Masters and MBA Degree in-hand, has joined the family business in hopes to take the Khemani Empire to greater heights. Roshni Magazine speaks to the up and coming entrepreneur about all things business and beyond.

RM: Tell us about your business.
VK: Well, my family business, the Khemani Group, predominantly deals with keeping people happy and clean!  We are into manufacturing and distribution of alcohol in India and overseas for 25 years now. More recently, we have branched out into Personal Care products, known as PerfuNOVA. Technically, it works well for everyone – smelling terrific while drinking. It’s a winning formula!

RM: Did you always want to join the family business? If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?
VK: It’s a good business to be in. When people are sad they drink; when people are merry, they drink more— people look for reasons to drink. So joining the family business made the most “business sense” to me.

(Thinks) Hmmm…if I was not in the alcohol business, I would probably be in the Education field. I would try to offer India all kinds of Business Schools from Junior High to Higher Education; from general business courses to medical, fashion and media courses. I believe if you enjoy a particular field and possess good knowledge about a subject; it can turn out to be a good business prospective.

So essentially I would make a business of making others into good businessmen or women (laughs).

RM: In your opinion, what makes a company successful?
VK: Honesty, unity and dedication. You have to have love for your business for it to be successful. Additionally, you need to have faith and belief in your trade. A very important and a key factor to a company’s success is to retain a professional yet friendly relationship with your employees every company depends upon them. It is also important to constantly hone your craft.  Successful entrepreneurs never give up; they take their failures in the best of stride and as clichéd as it sounds, turns their failures around making it the company’s strength.

RM: What qualities should a successful businessperson have?
VK: Honestly, it’s too soon for me to speak, but I personally feel, to be triumphant in business, the most important qualities once must posses are a clear vision and dynamic leadership. Successful business people set high goals and work even harder to achieve them.

RM: Who are your heroes?
VK: Dr.Vijay Mallya and Shah Rukh Khan. Both are my inspirational business heroes. Interestingly, one is a business empire in himself and the other a superstar actor who has ventured in the most dynamic fashion, into the business world.

RM: What inspires you?
VK: The family business is run by my father and his younger brother; each ones contribution being as vital as the others. They work as the perfect team, and ideally, it just so happens that ones shortcoming is the others strength. Their combined hard work, grit and determination, along with their sharp business acumen is what has lead to its magnificent success and growth. So, it’s the lethal combination of my father and my uncle that inspires me the most.

RM: Heading back to India with Masters and MBA degrees under your belt, what is the one thing you are looking forward to the most in rejoining the family business?
VK: I am looking forward to working with my cousins Amit and Sumit. I think we make a great team and compliment each other just like our fathers do. I feel very passionately about our common dreams and vision for the company: To grow in high spirits literally and figuratively!

RM: What is your weakness?
VK: My family. Ironically, they are my strength and my weakness.

RM: Tell us something unusual about yourself.
VK: I’m a teetotaller. Even though I’m in the alcohol business, I don’t drink!

RM: What do you look for in your woman?
VK: Lots of love, honesty and care for me and my family.

RM: Who is the ideal woman apart from your mother?
VK: (Laughs)The three musketeers of my family: my two loving sister-in-laws, Harsha and Sweta, and my darling cousin Reema. And of course, the woman I eventually settle down with – that should score me some brownie points ahead of time!

RM: Describe your ideal date.
VK: Venice…on the Gondola, around sevenish when the sun is just about to set and then the Gondolier starts singing in his husky voice. Relaxing on the boat with your date, enjoying your favorite drink and talking about random but interesting topics. That would be the most ideal and romantic date in my opinion.

RM: What turns you on? What turns you off?
VK: A clean heart and a good smile turn me on while and attitude and ego totally turn me off.

RM: What is the way to your heart?
Simple, sweet and a caring nature – and the person is straight into my heart. That’s all I ask for.

RM: What is fashion to you?
In my opinion, fashion to about personal style. It speaks about your personality and represents the person you are. For me it’s a pair of blue jeans paired with a crisp white shirt with a blazer. That outfit signifies me in every sense of the way – confident, calm and collected.

RM: Your fitness regime?
VK: Honestly, I don’t have a fixed fitness regime.. When I’m home in Mumbai I usually workout late at night with my trainer and additionally, try my level best to maintain a healthy diet. Since I’m a vegetarian, I usually have a protein shake before and after my workout.

RM: Favorite food?
That honestly depends what time of the day it is. Although, I’m not a fussy eater. I enjoy street food in Mumbai— as much as I enjoy home cooked meals. Though my all time favorite food would be my homemade Dal (lentils) and rice with spicy potatoes.

RM: Where would you find yourself on a Sunday?
VK: When in Mumbai, Sundays are spent at home, lounging with cousins and family. That’s the favorite day of my week.

RM: Any hobbies?
VK: I love music. Besides that I enjoy traveling, driving, playing Playstation and reading lifestyle magazines.

RM: Favorite sports to watch and play?
VK: Cricket! That’s one game I watch and play with great passion.

RM: Favorite Hollywood actor or actress?
VK: Al Pacino. He is the only Godfather that ever was and ever will be in the western film industry.

RM: What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
VK: In 10 years, I would like my second dream of opening a quality educational institution to come true.

RM: For all aspiring businessmen/women, what are your words of wisdom?
VK: Treat your business like your family and your employees like your family members. Never keep an ego— it’s of no good; it will only take you one way in life – downwards!

~ Roshni M.
(June 2009)

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