Unhappy with her low-paying job, 35-year old Mamata Hegde decided to quit her teaching profession. Mamata, who hails from Karnataka, says she had spent nearly two-and-a-half years teaching at an NGO.
“I was paid a meagre salary of Rs 6,000 per month. I was underpaid and I always knew that I could do better.”
Apart from lesser pay, another hurdle for her to get into a high-paying job was that she was proficient only in the Kannada language. “I am proficient only in Kannada and I cannot teach in any other language. Good pay and better opportunities are limited in vernacular medium of teaching,” she says.
Looking for a better opportunity, Mamata started searching for a job. But, even after trying for four to five years, she could not find one. She says, “Those were the most trying times of my life. But my husband supported me.”
While Mamata kept looking for a job, not losing hope, her husband, who is a lawyer, advised her to enroll into a training programme by the Ministry of MSME, from where she could learn the know-how of starting a business. Mamata says she underwent the training programme. After getting some financial aid from her husband and a loan of Rs two lakh through the Mudra Scheme, she started Shree Nandan Creme Glacee, an ice cream parlour, in Bengaluru in 2016, with an investment of Rs 10 lakh.
The parlour offers an extensive range of cold delights in a variety of flavours. Fruit ice creams, Italian Gelato, Sundaes and Shakes are some of the top buys at the parlour. Mamata says,
“It is never too late to make a new choice. Your fate is in your own hands.”
In her first year of operations, Mamata says she retailed other ice cream brands and also sold flavoured milk. The following year, she started making her own ice cream. She proudly says that she now sells customised sundaes in a number of varieties.
According to Mamata, she is able to attract a daily footfall of around 200 people due to the reasonable pricing of her sundaes. She says there are three people working with her at present and the company is seeing an annual turnover of Rs 10-12 lakh.
“Maintaining cordial relations with my customers has given me a leap in my sales. They repeatedly come back to us and I make sure they have the best time,” she says.
She says providing best taste to the customers at reasonable rates and a pleasant ambience are the key ingredients to win customers.
While sales have picked up, she had to overcome other challenges to sustain her business. She says:
“Labour in Bengaluru is very expensive. On an average, the labourers abscond within three months of joining, as somebody else lures them with a higher pay.”
Similar businesses in cities like Delhi and Mumbai are easily able to sustain and grow as those regions see high migration of labour, she adds.
After seeing success in her business, Mamata says she now wants to open two to three more outlets in Bengaluru and establish her own brand, and be at par with bigger brands such as Naturals and Havmor. She also dreams of making her ice cream parlour a perfect destination for kids. To fulfil her dreams, Mamata says she expects financial aid from the government.
(This story is published in partnership with the MSME Ministry to showcase success stories of SMEs)