vanshika goenka misra© HelloIndia

Vanshika Goenka Misra On Navigating A Multi-Billion Dollar Business

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Jeena J Billimoria

The Mumbai-born, Dubai-based CEO of Christy at Welspun World offers a glimpse into her dynamic life, deftly navigating the legacy of industry titans within a global, multi-billion dollar business and finding moments of downtime amidst her high-powered responsibilities.

The first thing Vanshika Goenka Misra asks us as we arrive at her palatial family home in South Mumbai is how long our shoot is going to take. Not long, we assure her. We assume she has to rush back to work — the young heiress spearheads Christy, a British brand acquired by Welspun World for ₹100 crores in 2006, and Vanshika finds herself perennially on the go. She heaves a sigh of relief and flashes us a most endearing smile: “I just want a little time to unwind,” she tells us, on the contrary.

vanshika goenka misra©HelloIndia

We’ve met her on one of her quick but frequent visits to Mumbai. She now spends her life between the maximum city and Dubai, moving there after her marriage to entrepreneur Aneesh Misra in 2022. One who loves dancing, reading and listening to podcasts in her downtime, Vanshika is statuesque and poised, inherently stylish — and isn’t fussy when the camera flashes. “I’m very happy with the pictures,” she declares 10 minutes in. And while she nailed the shots in record time that could compete with a seasoned supermodel, we cajole her for more and she willingly obliges.

Vanshika is no ordinary businesswoman and the free time she’s hoping to get later is a luxury. The younger daughter of (BK) Balkrishan Goenka — Chairman of Welspun World since its inception in 1985 — and Dipali Goenka, CEO and MD of Welspun Living, the company is today one of the top three producers of home textiles in the world, with customers that include Macy’s, JCPenney and Walmart. The multi-billion dollar behemoth also has an impressive reach in steel and pipes (emerging as the second largest line pipe company in the world), infrastructure, renewable energy, warehousing, and oil and gas sectors. Already taking big strides of her own in the world of business, she hopes to make her family proud and carve her own unique niche for herself.

Bubbly, humble and with infectiously positive energy, Vanshika tells us she grew up in Mumbai, studying at The J.B. Petit High School for Girls, the B.D. Somani International School and École Mondiale World School, before pursuing her undergraduate studies at Brown University in Providence. She then came back to India and began a digital e-learning platform start-up called Kool Kanya that focused on helping women create careers they loved. “We had successfully grown our users to one million,” she tells us proudly.

Eager to know more about her life since then, we sit down with delicious cups of coffee, her dog, Tara, lounging comfortably by her side, and begin our tête-à-tête….

HELLO!: Vanshika, when did you join the family business [Welspun World] and what have you learned from your parents especially, about life and carrying forward a legacy?

Vanshika Goenka Misra: “I formally joined the business a year-and-a-half ago. My parents have been fundamental in the way I work and [decide] what I want to do in my life. Both of them are sticklers for discipline. A couple of things that I have learned from them is that respect must be earned and cannot be given; that you can learn anything you set your mind to, and as a tree grows it bends more — so one must always be rooted. I’ve grown up watching both my parents work so hard and be passionate about what they do. Carrying forward my legacy means being true to the principles that I’ve learned from my parents and making what they’ve created bigger.”

H!: Do you feel the weight of this legacy resting heavily upon you?

VGM: “Honestly, no. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I have — my education and access to experts in the industry; the opportunity to ask questions and learn a great deal.”

vanshika goenka misra©HelloIndia

H!: Can you tell us a little more about Christy?

VGM: “Christy is a historic British brand started in 1850 by Henry Christy, when he went to Constantinople and found a piece of looped terry [cloth]. He brought it back to Manchester and figured out how to create the terry towel at scale. Christy is known for providing towels to Queen Victoria and has even made Coronation towels through the years. Wimbledon has also been a part of Christy since 1988; and all the towels you see used on Wimbledon’s centre court are from here. Welspun acquired Christy in 2006 and I joined the business when they were looking to grow into more of a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand, with a larger digital footprint and make it one that resonates with millennials and Gen Z.”

H!: How have you brought a fresh take on things there?

VGM: “My role is to make the brand appear more relevant to the youth and grow the industry — I’m passionate about expanding Christy’s merchandise from bed and bath to loungewear and other home accessories — and also its global footprint from the UK to other countries.”

H!: Do you have the freedom to make your own business decisions?

VGM: “Yes, complete freedom! (Laughs) Like any other CEO in the organisation, I have to make a business plan for the year, present my numbers each quarter and get reviewed.”

H!: What does your 9 to 5 look like?

VGM: “I’m an early riser. I wake up at 4.45am every day and then go to the gym. I start working at 8.30am — I live in Dubai (1.5 hours behind India) and that’s normally the time India starts work. In terms of time zones, the afternoons are typically when the UK starts its day, so the second half of our day is often filled with calls and meetings with them.”

H!: What kind of a bond do you share with your mother? And what traits have you inherited from each parent?

VGM: “My mom truly is a force to reckon with; she’s my best friend — in the non-cheesiest way possible! (Laughs). She started working when I was seven years old and [my sister] Radhika was 10. But mom always knew what we were up to or how we were doing at school, encouraging us to be independent, whether it was making our own decisions — or our own mistakes. From her, I have inherited perseverance and discipline… also, her paranoia! From my dad, I have inherited his passion for work as well as his determination. I have always admired how my father manages to dream of things that others can’t even think of and manage to turn it into reality.”

H!: How do you and your husband, Aneesh, spend time together?

VGM: “We got married in 2022 in Dubai and live there now. Aneesh and I cherish our weekends and love exploring new places. We go bowling, watch documentaries and find new places to eat at — Sequel and Wasabi in Mumbai, and in Dubai, it’s the French Riviera for breakfast, Sushisamba, and Seva for healthy food.”

H!: How would you define what your family stands for?

VGM: “It would be the Welspun mantra — Dare to Commit. Whatever we commit to, we show up and achieve it.”

Interview: Jeena J Billimoria; Photos: Ryan Martis

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s March 2024 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!