Ms Bhavana Gulati has her business established in fashion accessories, jewellery, home décor, office décor, educative toys for children. Based in Jaipur, Rajasthan she is trying really hard to expand her business. She talks to Shree Lahiri on how she is eager to get funds so that she can work out bulk orders, which would really mean business for her outfit.
Q. What is the
starting point for venturing out on a business of your own?
The situation was like this. I had 25 years experience as a textile designer and 12 to 15 years I spent as a Textile Head in an institute. My husband is a geologist in the central government and he has a transferable job and we moved often. Everytime we shifted, there was so much unpacking and resettling that I had to do. Soon I started my own business in home décor, which were easy to pack as no glue or nails are used and the material used in wood. Since I am a lover of animals I based my designs on them – bookshelves, animal heads for wall décor, dining table accessories, office accessories like pen/card holders etc. All are animal based – deer, pig, cow, rabbit, dog, snake. There are wooden items for kids too – toy planes, learning items like alphabets etc. Then there are fashion and jewellery articles too.
Q. How did you manage
to get funds in the beginning?
It was all my funds and my husband also contributed, as he supported me from the beginning. We did not manage to get funds from the government. When we tried to use a government scheme, the minus point was we had to show assets of Rs 6 lacs to be eligible for a loan….that we did not have!
Q. Did you undergo
training? Are you looking for any specific training now?
Oh, I give training now to others, but if I do get training I can do well. I worked in soft material, but now on hard material which is wood. The design is different in both, so may be in this area. The training I want now is to learn to export my business, so that I can get bulk orders.
We have taken part in Exhibitions like “Vibrant Gujarat”, which was a good platform, but there were problems. International delegates did not come to our stall, and even our PM Modi with all his security did not come towards our side of the exhibition. We were waiting to welcome PM in our stall, and we wanted to see his reaction, but we were disappointed.
Q. Do you look
forward to mix with other women entrepreneurs?
Yes definitely, I would like to meet others like me. I can get enthused and we can share knowledge too, which will be really good.
Q. Where do you want
to reach in 2 years down the line?
I would really want to establish myself as an exporter.
Q. What are the
difficulties that came your way?
It’s the normal challenges that ladies face – there is the gender issue. Even after have a wide experience of 25 years, people do not take me seriously. When I started, I needed machines for designing and had to get it done outside, but there was a lot of opposition and non-cooperation issues . Once my designs got copied! I tell the girls in my team and encourage them – if this can happen to me with my vast experience, what will they face?
Now I have developed a system and people understand, and even feel I am genuine. But exploitation is there definitely for us women in business. If I manage to get funds, then I can invest in machines (laser, CNC machines) and even keep machine operators. All this will help me to grow my business further.
Q. How do you inspire
and encourage your team to produce the best?
We work full day and my team is a five member team – 3 ladies and 2 boys. I try to tell them that the better work we produce, the better will be the business and it will grow. The more quality work we do, the better will you be able to earn, I tell them. Plus I treat them like a family.
Q. Are you familiar
how to enhance your business with use of the digital space and do you have a
presence in the digital space?
I have done some work here…have made pages on Facebook, Insta, created Twitter handle…but have to work on it. If I get training in using social media, then I can use it productively and maybe then we can reach out to more people and get bulk orders. We are on Flipkart now, but nothing has started moving.