A touch of grandeur

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Nita Tanna’s designs spruce up community events

When Avni Tanna announced her nuptials to her large network of family and friends some eight years ago, it was at a dream-come-true fairy-tale event.

The wonderful evening, organised single-handedly by her mother Nita, is still talked about today.

“Yes, I micro-managed it all, including the decorations which I personally designed, all from scratch,” Nita Tanna remembers.

One invitee, thoroughly impressed, asked her to replicate it all in a few months’ time, at her own event. Within six months, Nita had done four events, all as favours for close friends.

When her husband Hemant suggested she turn her passion for decorating and event management into a profession, Nita jumped at it, threw in her job at National Australia Bank, and Décor-a-shaan was born.

Today, if you’ve been to an Indian wedding in Sydney, or a weekend community function of any sort, you’ve probably sat in a Nita Tanna-decorated room or watched the proceedings on a Nita Tanna-decorated stage. Her beautiful designs have become the hallmark of any major Indian community function. And if you’re organising an event, a trip to her North Rocks-based showroom, will probably be on the cards.

It’s a busy Monday morning as Nita recounts her story in her plush upstairs office. The staff potter around downstairs, washing, ironing and putting away countless drapes and backdrops; stacking pillars, decorative pots, lamps and light fixtures; and putting away candles, mirrors and flower decorations and vases. It’s been a massive weekend of partying, obviously!

“It’s a typical Monday morning actually,” Nita says. “We’re now all cleaned up and ready for this week’s events. We pick up momentum from the middle of the week, with many functions starting from Thursday night on, and by Sunday night we are stretched to our limits, and beyond! Monday mornings, we take stock, and prepare to do it all again”.

Things are a bit different, no doubt, since Avni’s engagement party.

“Well, yes and no,” Nita says in her characteristic, considered style. “I see my own Avni in all my clients. I want them all to have an immensely happy and truly memorable day! But it’s a much larger operation obviously. When Hemant and I started, we worked out of our garage, meeting clients inside the house. Today our client base has increased exponentially”.

There’s a huge variety of people to please as well.

“Most clients come in with some idea of what they want their event to feel like. Some have absolutely no idea, and then there are those who know exactly what they want. All client types are welcomed! Typically, most clients come by about six months in advance. But only recently, I had a client who dropped in a week before! I think she finished off quite happy in the end!”

Of course the business is much more than weddings and community functions. There are milestone anniversaries, baby showers and school events as well.

Corporate events have become a particular passion in the last few years.

“I’d say the corporates excite us the most,” Nita reveals. “We’ve just done the Ella Bache Awards Night, which was hugely satisfying and one of our most successful events ever. A John Holland event we did recently had some one thousand guests! On TV, we were on MasterChef Australia and Recipe to Riches. Christmas parties and end-of-year affairs at all the major hotel brands are also a major market for us”.

Hemant and Nita’s son Prateek now works in the business too, helping to tackle assignments across Sydney. At any given time, there will be three to 10 staff working with them, though on busy weekends it could be even more.

A trained interior designer, another recent venture for Nita has been tie-ups with restaurants, who are beginning to do revamps of décor as often as every three months.

Is it any wonder the company is booked until Oct 2015?

In the midst of drumming up new kinds of business, Nita continues to design all her items, which are manufactured either here or in India.

“I want that uniqueness factor with all my stuff”.

It’s not hard to understand the choice of the name Décor-a-Shaan, which is a clever word play in “Hinglish” that means ‘decorations of grandeur’.

So what’s the best and worst parts of Nita’s job?

“The best part of the job is when a client, say a bride, tells me, ‘You made my day’ with a hug, or a card or flowers. It’s priceless! Worst is doing those 2am pack-ups with my boys! Set-up is always awesome, with lots of energy and enthusiasm, but by pack-up we are drained”.

But it’s that thrill of seeing that happy face at the end that keeps the Décor-A-Shaan going.

Decorate on, Nita!


Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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