About MeFeatures 21.02.2022

In conversation with the multi talented & charming entrepreneur, Imtisal Zafar!

BY Asif

Imtisal Zafar, a LUMS graduate who made his place in our thriving industry with his 3 power packed and mind blowing projects- Verve, Wired and Pakistan Art Forum; All of which took off with a bang and are still banging with no intention to stop anytime soon!

Tell us Imtisal, what inspired you to open not one, not two but three different companies.

Verve Events & PR is a company that I started 15 years ago, while I was still at college and was born out of my passion for organizing small events for my school. That led me to take on bigger projects while I was at LUMS, starting my own company mid-college in 2007. In spite of being one of the statistically most stressful professions in the world, organizing events is my passion and the adrenaline rush that one gets after going through the motions of the process, is what keeps me going. Art is something that I started appreciating soon after graduating from college but only started properly collecting around 2012. Pakistan Art Forum was born in 2014 from the love I had developed for art and since then has grown to be the largest digital art platform in the country, with a global sales website as well as a newly launched gallery space in Lahore. Last but by no means the least, Wired, Pakistan’s longest running electronic music festival was another passion project of mine that came into establishment because of my love for music. The project didn’t take root because I felt there was a ‘need in the market’ per se. It was more because I loved this genre of music (Circuit House) and I wanted more and more people to hear this amazing sound and have a completely different experience than what currently exists in Pakistan. Therefore, in 2015 Wired was born, and since then we have brought in numerous artists DJs and singers from around the world to perform in Pakistan at international-standard events.

What were the struggles and obstacles you had to face while juggling three different business?

One of the main struggles Is finding the time to do all of this together. This means that I have to be very organized, with a general sketch of the whole year laid out at the start of every year. Once I know the main events of each project throughout the year, I can plan other things accordingly. With event management, I feel the main thing to remember is to keep yourself up to date with local and global trends in events and also the technology. Wired, faces altogether a different set of challenges, some of which include making sure the requisite government permissions are acquired and also spreading the hype only enough so that you attract the right kind of crowd. For the Pakistan Art Forum, since I do not come from an art background the challenge is to make sure you are taken seriously for the work you are doing while respecting incredible veterans of the field.

How have your priorities changed from when you started?

I believe priorities keep getting shifted to different things as you get older and gain more exposure. Things that were once very important seem less important and other things that took lesser priority when I was younger, take precedence now. One priority for me has never changed for me however, that is my work. And that work has now, with these three independent projects, tripled over the years.

Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?

I suppose, one thing I could teach my younger self is not to take too much stress during the process of setting up an event and that it all works out in the end one way or another.

How do you push through your worst times?

One of the things I have learnt with experience over the years is the quality of being patient and calm under extremely stressful situations. Making sure that your nerves are relaxed and calm is crucial in order to find solutions to various problems that come up during events. If I am too worked up or anxious, I would not be able to function during the event and that could lead to disastrous outcomes.

What would you say is your most favourite part of your work?

With Verve & Wired, my most favorite part is when the setup is complete, the clients and guests are having an amazing experience and the event is the talk of the town the next day! It is relieving and extremely gratifying. With PAF, my most favorite part is receiving all the artwork for a new show.

What is your greatest strength?

Resilience. The ability to get right back up when I fall and bounce back harder, coming back with a renewed energy and fresh concept every time.

What would be your greatest weakness?

I’m a spend thrift!

If you weren’t doing what you are, what would be your second option?

I would be a chef and be in the business of food.

What traits must a leader have?

The ability to delegate and trust your team.

What have you learnt through you journey and what advice would you give to everyone who wants to start their own business?

Be willing to work for less when you are young in exchange for great experience. Always be observant and notice competition to see how you can improve yourself. There is ALWAYS something that you can improve to make yourself better.