SMBStory unveils stories of entrepreneurs and their inspiring journey in building their brands. It is said that it takes time, effort, and patience to build a successful business and that money is not the only prerequisite for success.
Here are the top SMBStories of the week.
During the current times of COVID-19, when Ayurveda and wellness industry are taking precedence over everything else, the skincare industry is also not lagging behind.
Founded by Rupali Sharma, Delhi-based Aegte Lifescience is one brand that caters to consumers looking for natural and holistic products. A mompreneur, Rupali was not familiar with running a business, but she was confident about her idea.
Started with an initial investment of Rs 5 lakh made by her husband Dhiren Sharma, Aegte Lifesciences is today present in India and other countries, including the US, the UK, and the UAE. The skincare brand which competes with the likes of MamaEarth, Teal and Terra, Wow, and others, now clocks a revenue of Rs 7 crore annually.
“When we started, people discouraged us by saying that the skincare industry is extremely crowded. Additionally, patriarchy is deep-rooted in our society, and I used to face a lot of challenges as people would not take me seriously,” Rupali tells SMBStory.
In 1932, Ambalal Chokshi was contemplating whether he should join his father’s jewellery business or start one of his own. The Vadodara-based man, realising he had a penchant for Indian jewellery, decided to put his knowledge to maximum use and launch a business.
With just Rs 51 in his pocket, Ambalal started a wholesale jewellery business under his name. In 1940, he transitioned to a retail model to sell directly to customers.
“My grandfather Ambalal had to manage all aspects of the business on his own. There was no concept of hiring people in those days. With no major public transport and no proper roads, he walked long distances on foot, or used a horse cart to deliver the goods,” says Ketan Chokshi, third-generation entrepreneur and co-owner at Narayan Jewellers — the jewellery enterprise that Ambalal’s modest business would eventually become.
Today, the family business is a success, adorning the likes of Olivia Wilde, Sonam Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, and Shilpa Shetty with its jewellery on red carpet occasions. It has also collaborated with Forevermark to design jewellery for celebrity attendees at the Academy Awards (the Oscars) for seven years.
Narayan Jewellers has a 5,200 square foot flagship store in Vadodara, Gujarat, showcasing gold, polki, diamond, and jadau jewellery. It also has 35 employees on its payroll.
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Remember when dinner parties only meant devouring rectangular-shaped pastries that only came in three typical flavours — pineapple, chocolate, and black forest? Those days are long gone. If there is one major disrupter that forced India’s bakery industry to innovate, it is the doughnut.
Delhi-based Mad Over Donuts (MOD) was launched in 2008 and soon after, Dunkin’ Donuts too came to India in 2012, leading the pack. Today, Dunkin’ Donuts has taken a backseat as home-grown doughnut brands are making inroads to grab a slice of the pie.
Chandigarh-based Super Donuts is one such brand. Founded in 2012 by a then 20-something Ketan Kalra, the brand has been steadily and consistently growing.
It is said that wrong paths often take one to the right destination. Something similar happened with Ketan.
At 20, the young man was pursuing rally driving when he met with an accident. This compelled him to change careers and he went to the UK to do a course in food and technology.
During this time, in 2011, street vendors selling doughnuts caught his eye. Ketan started researching about doughnuts and saw a business opportunity. This was also a time when MOD was creating waves in India, and carpets were being rolled out for an international giant like Dunkin’ Donuts. He decided to give it a try.
Hailing from a business family, he convinced his father, who agreed to fund the company on the condition that he would come back to the family business if the odds go against him. But he was determined to do something different. He applied for a master franchise in Chandigarh for the Dunkin’ Donuts brand but received a rejection two days later.
“They were unsure about handing over the brand to someone inexperienced considering my age,” he says.
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It is then that it occurred to him to start a doughnut brand of his own. Ketan flew back to the UK to complete his research on doughnuts, and even visited Belgium which helped him gain a deeper understanding of the industry and the sources needed for his raw materials.
Like many Indians influenced by western culture, Ketan wanted to have a Spanish or French name for his brand. One day, he stumbled upon the word ‘Super’ and added it to ‘Donuts’. The name Super Donuts sounded simple yet catchy. He repeated the name 10 times and realised that he wanted to abandon his aspirations of keeping a fancy name and go ahead with a simple name for his brand.
Ketan also made the logo of the brand himself. With everything in place, Super Donuts was launched in a 200 sq ft outlet in Chandigarh. On the first day itself, Ketan says, they sold 800-900 doughnuts, and this is how their journey started.
With his father working in the real estate and construction sector, Aayush Chaudhary was tired of hearing how construction projects were mismanaged. His father Ravi Chaudhary had spent 15 years in the industry and knew all too well about the problem.
With no apparent solution to the critical issue, Aayush enrolled himself into a Master’s programme in Construction Management at the City, University of London, the UK, to see what he could do about it. While studying, Aayush realised India was lagging in effective construction management techniques.
“I understood that the design of a building, and how the entire process is managed is as important as the actual construction. Designing is just one part of the entire process. The implementation becomes crucial as mismanagement could spoil the entire design, increase costs, or delay the project,” he tells SMBStory.
Seeking to set up a venture that addressed this gap, and provided effective construction management services to clients, Aayush teamed up with his experienced father and started ACad Studio in Gurugram in 2018. The construction consultancy firm was started with Rs 5 lakh initial investment.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)
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