Petite powerhouse

Aneesha Veriah - a reflection of ‘small but mighty’

21 Dec 2018 / 17:26 H.

From attaining her ICAEW chartered accountancy qualification to consult-ing across industries in the UK and KL, then co-founding a business in the food and beverage industry, 32-year-old Aneesha Veriah may be young and petite, but is huge in her accomplishments.

Aneesha shares that she was always interested in the business of things. From sourcing for and making her own “products”, to marketing and selling, it seems like she was drawn to the whole business concept from a young age. The co-founder of The Bowery Group tells us her foray into F&B, which started way back when she was very young.

“There was always food involved when I was growing up. Food really does bring people together.

“In fact, my mom is a good chef. Even though not formally trained, she can easily cook for 60 to 70 people at a time when we entertain at home,” says Aneesha. The family regularly hosts dinner parties due to the businesses her father owned and the many gatherings in light of it.

“Ask her to replicate any dish and she can do it without even needing a recipe,” Aneesha shares and reminisces the time when she and her mum took part in a “mother and daughter” cooking competition.

On The Bowery Group, Aneesha says that she loved the whole idea of branding and marketing. “One of my first holidays was in South Africa where we went to Sun City.” While there, she went to a new restaurant chain and found herself captivated by the entire experience.

“I was blown away by the branding and marketing. Everything was so well put together. I remember telling my father that we should bring the franchise back to KL,” she informs.

Fast forward, and today, there are two F&B outlets under The Bowery Group – Bowery Petit and Bowery Metro. The interior decor and ambience at both joints are inspired by New York City’s eclectic heritage.

Why New York? “I’ve never ‘lived’ in New York (NY) but would travel here frequently for work when I was based in London. I have a massive love affair with NY. It has an amazing vibe and is really a city that never sleeps. It just has a different energy altogether,” Aneesha explains.

“The food is amazing and hustlers from different walks of life lend the city its eclectic charm, which is what I like because deep down I’m a bit of a hustler myself.”

One who is confident in her stance on many topics and issues, yet receptive to learning from the pros – she goes on about the food and culture of NY and clearly expresses her love affair with the city so much up to naming her firm and restaurants “Bowery” which is an area in the lower east side in NY and is very eclectic.

“It is where uptown-chic meets downtown-edgy ... a little bit of class and a little bit of edginess brought together by a young vibrant crowd,” she says.

This similar impression and atmosphere was brought back and is the gourmet and retail concept of The Bowery Group, reflected in both her restaurants.

“Bowery Petit is slightly smaller in size and presents a neighborhood deli & diner with a counter-service formation in the affluent Taman Tun Dr Ismail suburb while Bowery Metro at Menara Hap Seng caters to the office crowd and is more price-sensitive,” shares Aneesha.

She lights up when talking about Made by Bowery, the catering arm of The Bowery Group. Having served wonders for numerous private clients and functions, working with brands like Bvlgari, Lamborghini and more, Made by Bowery has flourished into running staff canteen contracts for the city’s many five-star hotels and corporate bodies – a strong testament to their capabilities.

Though young and demure in look, Aneesha displays shrewd business acumen and courage to take on the world. She shares of a business deal which after almost a year of meetings and planning “fell through the cracks just three days before my wedding in 2014”.

She doesn’t believe in over-thinking business plans but makes sure she is well equipped with industry knowledge and know how through her in-depth market research, consulting the industry’s bigwigs and drawing on their experiences, before she goes in head and heart.

With more than 10 years of experience in consultancy in the luxury and lifestyle market, Aneesha also takes on a major strategic role in steering her family’s consulting businesses, Rabin & Associates and Real Time Group, in the right direction. She briefly shares how she landed up studying medicine at King’s College in the UK having toyed with the idea of opening a plastic surgery clinic. However, life took on a different course after an internship stint with KPMG in UK where she was made an offer.

“When I was reading medicine in London, I felt a little bit tortured doing it, because I was forcing myself to like something I was not passionate about. But what I do now doesn’t feel like work because I genuinely enjoy it.

“Do I regret anything? I would say I don’t as every little step has led me to where I am today,” she says.

“When you are running a business, you must be 100 million per cent there. We were on the floor over the first couple of months. I remember having to be on my feet 12 hours straight on the first day, and when I woke up the next day I could not move my legs ...”

Businesses aside, Aneesha is also involved with “Tall Poppies – The Art of Standing Out”, an initiative she started with Deborah Henry this year, one that calls for another write-up. She’s also had a hand in the Harinder Veriah Trust, established to help young and under-privileged Assunta School students from poor families.

Recently, Aneesha was presented the Woman Entrepreneur of the Summit Award at the Selangor International Business Summit 2018.

A believer of “fake it till you make it” who refers to herself as a “straight-talker” - Aneesha is all the above and more, and a go-getter who is fearless when it comes to working hard to succeed and achieve her goals.

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