Starting as an apprentice to a designing company, Shima Khilai has risen to run one of the most successful stand and booth designing companies. This is her story in a nutshell.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis (talking on the phone):
How are you?
What kind of changes?
We've got a deadline and we might not have the time to do it, but go ahead anyways.
Mrs. Javadi dear, would you please open the Rayan Farmad file.
There have been a number of changes, I'll come over and tell you about it.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis: “One of the bad things about our job is that sometimes things happen at the very last minute. That means we've received the confirmation and we've done all the work, then the customer calls and asks for an extra VIP, another light box or changes some of the sizes. This causes us problems when there's a deadline, but under normal circumstances it's not a problem.”
Conversation [Persian] Shima Khiali & Leila Khaili: “Well, we've already printed them.
Well we should print them again and we have to hand them in tomorrow at 6 o'clock in the afternoon. I think it would be good if we receive them at 4 o'clock so we can install them.
Well what size should it be?
Mr. Barati, I've got a question.
What's the size of the counter?
Because the glasses are available
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Leila Khaili, CEO at Close up Advertisement: “Shima and I work in the same field. Shima works on building the exhibition stands and we do the advertisements.”
Conversation [Persian] Shima Khiali & Leila Khaili: “Well, obviously they haven't got a plan and we should prepare it for them.
No, no, they don't.
Okay, I'll ask the team to stay in tonight and design it. Get the confirmation and then we'll get it printed. There's no problem.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Leila Khaili, CEO at Close up Advertisement: “When a group wants to take part in an exhibition, there is some advertisement work. When they want to create a brand, make themselves known or be seen at an exhibition ... The way we operate is rather similar and we somehow complete one another.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis (talking on the phone): “Mr. Adabi, I told you about that 38 meter stand that needs a green carpet ... with high piles ... The carpet color has been changed to navy blue.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis: “I'm Shima Khiyali. I was born in Tehran in May 1987. I've studied Urban Engineering at Imam Khomeini International University in Qazvin.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Worker: “It's a powder. You pour it in water, it dissolves in water.
And since water is heavy it goes down.
But this is alcohol so it creates no problems.
Yeah! Yeah, that always causes problems by leaving stains”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis: “In general, I like exciting things, and this job is very exciting. When a problem occurs and you manage to solve it despite the time pressure, knowing you've managed gives you a good feeling.
It's good, it's very close ... Well done ... Thanks
These sign boards, the showcases, the bottom part of the counter and the outer side which is white.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Leila Khaili, CEO at Close up Advertisement: “Shima is very accurate, orderly and perfect in her job. Her performance so far, has made me hand in my customers' projects to her with ease, no matter who I've worked with. I don't even find it necessary to go and ask her what she's done?”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis: “I got into this job quite by chance. I mean I had no experience, I didn't know anything about making exhibition stands. I saw an interior design advertisement in a newspaper. I went over and told them that I want to be trained here and they told me they needed a secretary. I said I'll take the job, but please allow me to sit by your designers and be trained after 5 o'clock. They agreed and I worked as a secretary until 5 o'clock and after that I would sit next to a designer. After that, they sent me to the sales department and once I learned designing, they transferred me to the designing department. That's where I learned about making exhibition stands.
I left my job there and rented a room and started working on my own. I got involved in implementing designs. In the beginning, there were many things I didn't know. I got help from many of my friends, but I didn't receive a good reaction from my colleagues to want to work with them. I was told that this job isn't good for women and it's more of a man's job ... It's more of a male environment. But I got into the job and found it quite interesting. You never feel bored and one is able to learn a few new things from different people and the specialist teams.”
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hengameh Nankali, Designer and Markete, Batis: “We should be there during the entire construction process from scratch until it’s completed. We should be there as an overseer to make sure everything is being done properly until the stand is competed and ready to hand over to the customer.
Is the location known?
Will it stay where it is or will it change?
No, no, we'll change it a bit. It's almost the same as what we've designed for them and they want the location to be like the one in our plan.
They're not the sort of managers to ignore you if you have anything to do with them or easily abandon you if a problem occurs. We're all in it together and this cooperation that we have is very pleasant.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis: “We're involved in all areas.
The center that holds the exhibition is responsible for handing in the stand location to us for four days. If they encounter any problems at the exhibition, they give it to you for two days.
They don't care if your plan is 2,000 square meters or 12. It makes no difference to them. Then on the night before the exhibition, all the employers come over and they too have some ideas, which need to be heard and done. Things like add to the number of flowers over here or I want this color changed. If only one person is in charge of all these matters, they would get overstressed because of being overloaded with responsibility and work.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Leila Khaili, CEO at Close up Advertisement: “In general, there's a lot of stress in our job because all the customers come to us at the very last minute. I mean they get all their work done and when they come to us there's a deadline. We're used to this situation and we try to relieve their stress as much as we can and do the job without stress.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO, Batis: “I don't think there's any job more exciting than making stands because it's really exciting and stressful.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO,Batis (Talking With a worker): “The furniture will be put here. One set over here and the other over there and that should go into the warehouse and the two door closers are for the two counters.
Okay, very well. So there are two furniture sets, four pieces each.
Two sets ... One goes there, one here and the sofa should be over here.
Do you want it to be close to the grass carpet?
No, no, I think it should be placed over here because they want to play darts there.
Very well, okay. I'll get it done.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Shima Khiali, CEO,Batis: “The obstacles I've encountered at work have been many. I sometimes made mistakes in calculating the plan in some projects and the figures I came up with ... I've never had a major financial loss to always remember it, but there have been times that my income and expenditure were about the same and I made very little profit. I've encountered a number of customers whose behavior was very strange to me because our job is to provide services. They see it as ... like if they come and see the stand on the night before the exhibition and say bring the whole thing down cause I want something else, my team and I should do that for them. Their mentality is a bit different from ours.
I think the beauty of a job lies in the challenges you face. I mean if it's not challenging and the work goes on monotonously, there would be no excitement and you feel you haven't done anything useful. If that were the case, then everyone would've been successful and a capitalist by now. The challenges you face during the process when they say you fall and rise again may sound more like a slogan ... but it makes you stronger and then not all things bother or upset you anymore. You don't easily get annoyed and try to find a solution to the problems instead of wiping out the question.
The feeling that you get from designing something, which you know will be built temporarily and destroyed later is sometimes interesting. But at times it's not a good feeling at all. In building a stand, the last day is the most difficult because of the final touches that need to be implemented. Like for instance, the carpets may not be well attached to one another or the decoration, lighting, color ... On the last day, fatigue becomes more obvious than ever because you try to do a number of things to make it look even more beautiful.
There was a design that I always wanted to implement for a company ever since I started working four years ago. I finally found a company that liked the plan very much. We made some alterations and it was implemented in the best possible way. It turned out to be a very beautiful stand and it was rather large. To be honest, I never wanted that stand to be brought down. If I were able to put a number of wheels under it and relocate it, I would've definitely done that!”