Harnoor Kaur Manchanda

A Tenacious Woman Spearheading Innovative Interior Design Solutions And Empowering Female Athletes Worldwide
Harnoor Kaur Manchanda -Founder - Art Space Design Studio

Harnoor Kaur Manchanda -Founder - Art Space Design Studio

Art Space Design Studio (ASD Studio) is a reputable interior design company founded by Harnoor Kaur Manchanda. With offices in India, Thailand, and Canada, they offer unique, tailor-made interior designs for luxury residential homes, hotels, restaurants, and domestic and international offices. The company’s ethical design practices include using locally sourced materials, working with local artisans, and promoting sustainable design solutions. Harnoor’s commitment to excellence and creativity has earned her recognition and awards in the industry, including features in top design publications like Architectural Digest, which has described her work as “innovative,” “inspiring,” and “elegant.”

Harnoor Kaur Manchanda is also the CEO of Competition Suit Shop (CSS), an e-commerce company that provides high-quality competition suits for female bodybuilders. CSS offers value-for-money competition bikinis and figure suits for female athletes of all levels, ages, and divisions and has offices in the USA, Thailand, and India.

Meet The Woman Herself

The founder of Art Space Design Studio and CEO of Competition Suit shop, Harnoor is a multi-faceted professional with experience in producing competition suits and interior design. A graduate of the prestigious Parsons School of Art and Design in New York City, she has spent the majority of her adult life in New York and Canada.

With a background in competition suit production and interior design, Harnoor and both her teams create gorgeous competition bikinis and bespoke interiors that capture the essence of her client’s custom-made requirements. Her focus is on collaboration and attention to detail, ensuring the final product reflects the designer and client. Despite her busy schedule, Harnoor’s ultimate goal is to provide people with a great experience of living.

At Competition Suit Shop, Harnoor aims to provide high-quality competition bikinis and figure suits for female athletes worldwide, with a vision for India and Asia to play a significant role in the sport’s emergence.

The Tale Of Inception

As an industry insider, Harnoor noticed that the competition suit market was monopolised, and athletes, especially women, were charged exorbitant amounts for generic, poor-quality suits. She launched her brand with a direct-to-consumer model, providing athletes with quality and affordable competition suits.

The Journey So Far

Harnoor has had a mixed experience in the business industry. Launching the CSS brand proved more challenging than expected due to changes in online consumer behaviour and macroeconomic factors such as inflation and logistics. Despite that, she has successfully grown her competition suit company, offering free shipping and becoming the world’s fastest-growing company in the field. In interior design, Harnoor’s journey has spanned over a decade, with a loyal clientele appreciating her attention to detail, unique design solutions, and ethical practices.

Harnoor believes in leading by example and showcasing a strong work ethic, which she saw her parents do. She values having a strong team of leaders in each domain to ensure the company’s success. Harnoor creates a positive and fun-loving work environment for her team and encourages collaboration with professionals from different fields. Collaboration has been crucial to her growth; Harnoor founded “The Home Initiative,” a collective of interior designers worldwide to help people find inspiration for their workspaces at homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she believes is key to growth in the design industry.

Approach To Success

At Competition Suit Shop, Harnoor takes a collaborative approach to problem-solving that involves all departments. For instance, when there were different opinions on the visual representation of the product, she initiated a meeting with all teams to find the best solution for their company and customers. Harnoor believes in making well-informed decisions based on evidence, analysis, strengths of the team and thorough planning. This ensures the company can navigate challenges and achieve success while prioritising customer satisfaction.

Milestones And Recognitions

Harnoor and her firm are leading the way with their innovative Direct-to-Consumer, Real-time, 3D E-Commerce platform that offers athletes from all over the world 100% Custom-Made Competition Suits. With over a million design combinations, customers can view their unique creations in real time before ordering. Harnoor’s commitment to sustainability and ethical design practices has earned her firm recognition and awards in the industry.

Competition Suit Shop achieved a significant milestone at Asia’s Largest Sporting Expo in Mumbai in October 2022, where over 50% of female athletes wore their custom-made competition suits, and four champions were crowned, with one receiving the coveted IFBB (International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation) Pro Card. This is impressive since the business was launched just six months earlier, in March 2022. Art Space Design Studio has won awards in the design industry and has worked on projects worldwide. Their commitment to sustainability and ethical design practices has earned them recognition and features in publications like Architectural Digest and Design Pataki, particularly for their work on the My Home Initiative.

Overcoming Gender Bias And Cultural Limitations

Sharing her experience in the business industry, Harnoor says, “As a woman in the interior design industry, I’ve faced various challenges, including gender bias and cultural limitations. To overcome these obstacles, I’ve taken a proactive approach by building a strong network of mentors and advisors, pursuing certifications and awards, and accepting speaking engagements to establish my credibility and expertise in the field.

Balancing work and personal life can be challenging, but I draw inspiration from my clients and their unique design needs. Even unfavourable macroeconomic factors can be turned into a net positive by working hard and taking proactive measures. I believe that women in the interior design industry can overcome gender bias and succeed by demonstrating their knowledge and skills, expanding their network, and positioning themselves as field experts.”

Navigating Unexpected Hurdles

Competition Suit Shop has faced challenges due to the inflationary cost of production, which impacted their ability to provide affordable luxury competition bikinis and figure suits. Harnoor had to decide whether to abandon her affordable luxury model, absorb the costs, and raise more capital to remain true to her clients. Similarly, in her experience managing a project for a client, she encountered a situation where they had to find a new vendor at the last minute. Harnoor gathered information from her team and industry experts to make an informed decision and find a vendor aligned with the client’s values and priorities. By taking a thoughtful and measured approach, she believes navigating even the most challenging situations and achieving positive outcomes is possible.

Pushing The limits Of Innovation

Harnoor’s current focus is on improving customer experience by making her company the world’s first to offer customers real-time 3D view and design possibilities online. Harnoor is also proud of her My Home Initiative, which provides valuable resources and support for individuals looking to create an optimal work environment at home, particularly those living in small spaces. The initiative has been featured in Architectural Digest. It emphasises the importance of creating a designated workspace, optimising lighting, investing in multi-functional furniture, and adding personal touches to personalise the workspace for maximum productivity.

Future Outlook

Always on the lookout to find growth opportunities, Harnoor attends various industry exhibitions and events worldwide to stay current on industry developments and trends. This allows her to identify potential areas of collaboration and stay connected with the latest developments in real-time.

Competition Suit Shop is committed to expanding its innovative 3D platform and offering its customers affordable luxury competition bikinis and figure suits. Despite the competitive market, the company is confident its technology and pricing will drive consumer confidence and set it apart. Additionally, CSS is excited to see the sport’s growing popularity in India and hopes to expand its reach in that market. That said, the company has launched their own initiatives to subsidise prices for their suits towards female athletes in India. This is a proactive campaign of women empowerment that is fundamental to the CSS’s values to provide the best and most affordable competition suits for women seeking to better themselves through sport.

Harnoor believes that undertaking projects with a social impact is crucial for businesses. ASD Studio has already demonstrated this through its My Home Initiative, which provided resources and support to people worldwide to improve living and working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is also proud of its work on wellness centres in Gurudwaras, which have improved access to affordable healthcare. Such projects benefit society and provide employees with a sense of purpose and meaning, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention. Similarly, Competition Suit Shop’s social endeavour to subsidise the prices of their suits and associated costs allows female athletes in India to escape any social stigma and financial struggle in the pursuit of this sport. Offering better quality products and subsidised prices means athletes can compete to win at a national level and have a chance to participate on international platforms.

Seeking Inspiration

Harnoor is heavily inspired by successful women who have made an impact in their respective fields. Her grandmother and mother have always been a source of strength in her life. Two women who have particularly inspired her entrepreneurial spirit are Kelly Wearstler and Jonsara Ruth. Kelly Wearstler’s unconventional, bold and eclectic approach to design has encouraged Harnoor to experiment with colours and think outside the box. Jonsara Ruth, on the other hand, is an architect and designer who has dedicated her career to promoting sustainability and social responsibility in design. As a student at Parsons School of Design, Harnoor had the privilege of being mentored by Ruth, who was the founding director of the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons. Ruth’s commitment to using design as a tool for positive social and environmental change has inspired her to think more deeply about the impact of her own work and to consider how she can use her design skills to make a difference in the world. Ruth’s work has helped her to understand that design is not just about aesthetics but also about ethics and responsibility, and for that, she truly is grateful.

Prioritisation And Time Management For Efficient Workload Management

Harnoor prioritises and manages her workload by creating a to-do list with realistic goals, prioritising tasks, avoiding taking on excessive work, using various time management strategies, delegating tasks when necessary, and communi-cating efficiently with her team members. She also emphasises taking regular breaks to care for oneself to stay focused and productive in the long run.

Words Of Wisdom

Advising young entrepreneurs, Harnoor shares,

“It’s crucial to identify and strengthen your “Why.” A solid foundation sustains you through the challenges and demands of entrepreneurship. Drawing inspiration from your surroundings and personal experiences can help you find your unique style and essence in your projects.”

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