Invigorating social skills with finesse for luxury professionals

KonKana Bakshi, Founder & Chairperson – Savoir Faire Academie

Konkana is the face of several advertisements for leading agencies and brands, including the Maruti A-star, KFC, Reliance and Skoda. She was also the face of Bombay Dying The Tao Collection. Born in Kolkata, where she did her schooling, Konkana is an alumnus of the Swiss Finishing School and London Image Institution.

Before embarking on her entrepreneurial journey with Savoir Faire Academie, a luxury finishing school in Mumbai, Konkana worked in the world of fashion and beauty and went on to represent India overseas through the Miss India contest.

In her role as Director of Savoir Faire, Konkana brings to the fore her well deserved reputation as the only Indian to have ever won The Miss Elegance title. Her ties to the who’s who of India’s social circuit as well as leading corporate houses have given her a deep understanding of business networking and the value of using the right tool for the right job. As such, she brings together experts from varied fields in courses designed by her to maximise the inherent value of her that accumulated expertise over the course of a weekend to create a heady experience that will transform your life.

Konkana enjoys spending time for humanitarian, philanthropic and charitable ventures that touches her heart including the welfare orphaned street children and campaigns advocating organ donations and she is closely involved with The Habitat Of Humanity as well.

Team ABT reached out to her to know more about her glamourous & exciting journey.  Read the intercepts below.

Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
Any woman who holds substance. Princess Diana, Benezeer bhotto, Jackie Kennedy, Raina Abdullah they all inspired me greatly. Their natural elegance and way of conduct inspired me to open a finishing school in india.

What led you to the path of entrepreneurship?
I was involved in the field of fashion and media from a very young age, where I spotted a distinct lack of desirable qualities in my surroundings and interactions, which prompted me to seek a future an alternative profession.

What does Savoir Faire Academie offer? 
Savoir Faire académie started with training for business and corporate etiquette; we are expanding our offerings to include social etiquette, art appreciation and training luxury professionals about the finer things in life to facilitate quality interaction with clients. At Tres Chic, where I am the principle consultant, we offer personal image consultancy, consult bridal clients and social skills. We have private consultancy for clients who require a tailored programme.

How did the idea happen?
After identifying a need, I zeroed in on trying to create a sustainable venture to help uplift the very same surroundings I sought an escape from.

Savoire Faire was born to fulfill a need by creating an establishment where people could hone their potential. A place where they could learn better on how to interact with finesse through better interpersonal skills and empathy in mutual dealings. It was my little way to contribute socially whilst creating a sustainable income for my family.

Tell us about some of the challenges you faced & how did you overcome them
I started Savoir Faire four years ago without a clue that one day I would be known as founder and chairperson of the finest finishing school in India!! I didn’t have any expectations. I just did one workshop to gauge its potential and I got a great response! I was and still am very concerned about this field as India is a very price sensitive market. China infact shows a lot of enthusiasm about finishing schools and that is why some of the finest European finishing school have extended their services to China. I hope, with time, India realises the value of investing in social skills  as much as formal education.

Do you feel privileged as a Woman Entrepreneur? Tell us more.
The hard labour and sweat one puts into starting any establishment and then to nurture it to success and profitability transcends the genders.

Privilege is for those who are already at the front of the classroom and not for those who are not in terms of life and circumstances financial or otherwise. I have worked to create a successful establishment from the bottom without assistance and therefore, my answer to that question is a no.

What does success mean to you?
Success by definition is the accomplishment of an aim or objective. In my view there are areas in which one must succeed, namely: career, spirituality, personal life, rearing of children when they come, family and so on.

Unfortunately in the world today, the definition of success has become synonymous with the achievement of only financial goals and this must be unwound a little for people to strike a balance in all the other aspects equally important to be successful at.  In a nutshell, real success is knowing how to pursue success in all aspects of life. One’s career plays its part and leads on to others.

What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
On the career front, to preside over an aspirational brand with a national presence. I look forward to the continuous quest of understanding, a better meaning of doing business and building a brand.  On all else, philanthropic pursuits and a happy life with my family.