Born to be an Entrepreneur -Kishani Kaluarachchi
Kishani Kaluarachchi, Managing Director of Wall Art Pvt Ltd sat down with the Entrepreneur to tell us about her inspirations, cultural values and how overcoming any challenge comes from the strength and passion to succeed.
Kishani comes from a lineage of strong entrepreneurs, starting from her grandfather who was a successful businessman and philanthropist. Following in his footsteps from a young age, Kishani knew she wanted to one day run her own business.
With this intention, she furthered her knowledge in Economics, Business Studies, Management and Finance, further stroking her passion for entrepreneurship and business, with the dream to one day enter entrepreneurship.
Beginning her career in the corporate sector, Kishani received several years of executive experience working for an admittedly “great company” but failed to feel personally fulfilled nor professionally challenged. As a result, at the age of 26 years, she began laying the foundation to start her entrepreneurial journey. Receiving the blessings of her former employer, Kishani embarked on her entrepreneurial adventure with Wall Art Pvt Ltd, over eight  years ago and has continued her journey of growth and success.
Wall Art, was launched in 2012 and has since become one of Sri Lanka’s most widely sought after wallpaper providers, that have in the past five  years developed an almost non-existent market/ need. “The biggest challenge was explaining the uses of wallpaper and convincing potential customers to try it out. Now it’s widely used all over the island and we have a wide network of architects and interiors designers we work with regularly,” admitted Kishani.
Wall Paper was a product that was widely available and used globally, but there were no companies that offered it on a retail scale in Sri Lanka. Identifying this gap in the sector, Kishani sourced a European supplier of quality products and has since expanded to offer import premium wallpaper brands from all over the world. “I also wanted to set up our own inhouse installation team rather than hiring external contractors because there is an art and skill in installing wallpaper. I am proud to say that Wall Art is the only wallpaper company in Sri Lanka to employ its own full-time installation team and they are the best in the country with many years of experience.
Kishani believes in thinking big, documenting your goals “build processes”, and effectively working towards them. “Take it one step at a time and don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from achieving what you want to. Take risks but take calculated risks and try not to take on debt, if at all possible. It’s very important for small and medium-sized businesses to manage cash flows closely because if you don’t do this you can fail overnight especially during unforeseen circumstances such as the unprecedented crises, experienced in the last few months.”
Much of the advice Kishani imparts to budding entrepreneurs is based on her own hard learnings. Concluding Kishani noted “I have a competitive nature and I strive to be the best at everything I do. I tend not to be overly motivated by money, so I believe you need to have a passion to succeed and have an overall purpose that goes beyond financial gains. One of my main goals is to be able to provide employment to more people and to give my staff a wealth of experience so that they can keep improving their skills and their finances.
Kishani plans to grow the company and expand its product range through other premium décor items and furnishings not readily available in Sri Lanka, providing more employment opportunities for talented and motivated individuals to help them improve their skills.
She also plans to diversify into construction and hospitality in the next few years and aims to start a foundation for the aid of women and children.