It all started with a moment. Neeru Garg was watching Milkha Singh’s interview on TV and he happened to mention how happy and excited he was to receive a rare gift: a currency note with his birth date.
This gave birth to Anmol Uphar, Neeru’s personalised way of celebrating important dates. “So, be it your birthday, anniversary, your house warming, children’s graduation day, we make it special. For example, if you got married on Jan 1, 1990, on your anniversary you can gift your wife a currency note with the serial number ‘010190’. We find the currency note with the number and frame it with a design of your choice and deliver it to you,” she says.
Starting up at 58
Born and brought up in Bulandshahr, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, Neeru did her graduation from the same town and continues to live there.
She has been a homemaker and a mother of three but has also extended support to her husband’s business. Not new to running a business, she was excited when the idea of Anmol Uphar struck her.
“Since my kids had grown up and I had spare time, I decided to go ahead with it as I have always wanted to do something of my own,” she says. Her husband was not only her sounding board but has also provided her support in this initiative.
Neeru started her venture eight months ago and the response she has received has been encouraging.
The most interesting bit about her work is the hunt for the currency note. Once she gets the order via email or phone, the hunt begins for the currency note bearing the date that the client has asked for. Usually, Neeru taps into her network of people and manages to find the date. “A week’s notice helps to get what most clients need,” Neeru notes.
However, it is a number game and sometimes it is not easy to find a date that the customer may ask for. “Every day is a challenge for us. Finding the right currency note within stipulated time. Saying no to the customer when we don’t find the currency that matches the date is not only a challenge but a very hard thing to do,” she adds.
Another challenge she shares is ensuring customers like all her designs. Currently, she has a designer who helps her with the design. To overcome this challenge, she is increasing the number of visual designers to get the best results.
Neeru takes a proactive role in marketing and promoting her venture, which again is a major challenge for her as she is operating in a niche market. To spread the word about the concept, she puts up stalls in various malls in Delhi and flea markets. This has helped spread the word.
Most of her orders come from the Northern belt, especially Delhi. However, she has received orders for currency notes from Chennai too.
Neeru says, “Though people ask me why I would want to start something at this age, my husband always encourages me to go on and not let it pull me down.”
She feels that one of the challenges that most women entrepreneurs face is that of managing multiple responsibilities. She admits that work-life balance and juggling all responsibilities is neither easy nor simple for women entrepreneurs.
What keeps her motivated is the support she receives from her family. And also good response from her customers: “Every time I get to hear positive feedback about our product and request from a repeat customer, I feel content and satisfied.”
Not the one to cut corners, Neeru believes in her husband’s philosophy of how there is no substitute for hard work.