About Studio Wodehouse

Studio Wodehouse was founded by Shonali Mahajan in 2014. A firm of interior designers collaborating with designers and artists across disciplines to create truly bespoke spaces and interior products. After graduating from the Domus Academy in Milan in 2009, Shonali has worked with several award winning architectural, interior, and product design firms both in India and Milan, such as Matteo Nunziati, Pinakin, Neterwala & Aibara, and Fusion Access.

How did you start this business? What made you get into this industry?

I have been inclined toward interior designing for the last 12 years. I pursued my master’s in it and worked as an Interior designer with multiple companies in India as well as in abroad. I spent over 10 years of my life working with other companies and learning the various aspects of the design world. Soon after which, I realized that I want to put all my learnings together and try to create something of my own. I called it ‘Studio Wodehouse’ because I wanted it to be a broad concept and wanted to try and experiment with different angles of design.
At the time I started the business, I just knew that I wanted to design people and things and I wanted to unleash my creative potential on my terms. Therefore, I did not just stick to interior designing and instead made my way into strategies, and concepts as well.

What were the early days like? What were the challenges that you faced?

I think everybody goes through these stages of growing a business starting from the ‘Building Stage’, where you have nothing and you must start from scratch and you use your network to market yourself. I was going through the same where I had to be confident and meet people. One thing that I learnt is that it is not about the money but about the relationships that you make while growing. I was always meeting people, showing them what I have done and posting on social media etc to get that word of mouth flowing and it made people aware of what you are doing in the market. According to me the first 5 years are always going to be difficult because you have to always run around, you make mistakes, people cheat you, you don’t get paid, you would fight with your contractors, you may walk off some projects etc. but you have to remember that it is all part of the process.
How were your accounting systems before you came across Savage & Palmer?
Before Savage & Palmer, I was using the infrastructure of my dads office and I was using their accountant to create my invoices etc. Sometimes I would sit and prepare them myself. At that time, there was no GST and things were fairly simple. But with the arrival of GST and with our business growing rapidly, I thought it would be best to professionalize everything. I was working with some of my clients, through word of mouth, I heard of S&P and thought that it was time to make the shift. Plus I had worked with the founders in the past so I was already aware of their work! S&P are definitely more organized as they have all the data together and it’s a one stop solution for all things accounts and taxes.

What is one element of the SavPalm Service that you enjoy the most?

I think for someone like me, who knows nothing about accounts, S&P held my hand through so many processes right from when we had to do audits to tax returns and things like these that I had never done in my life. They make the otherwise scary accounts and compliances seem less intimidating. I know that I can trust Savage & Palmer with this important function. Another thing that I really like about the team is that there is always someone to talk to and explain to you like a child the various concepts of accounts and taxes.
What is one piece of advice that you would give people to people that want to build a business in design?
My advice would be – Find yourself a niche. There are a lot of people out there who are doing some amazing design and you need to find a USP for yourself. Whether it is something to do with your brand or your aesthetic, you need to have a unique voice to survive in this industry. If you are someone that is ambitious, or if you are someone that wants to leave a mark, explore your full potential in this field and keep pushing the boundaries. But that does not mean that you should do everything that comes in your way. Sometimes, to say no is better than saying yes.

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