This is not a story of struggles but of the woman who chose to fight them and come out it stronger.
Chinu Kala, a model, an entrepreneur was once a merely 15-year-old girl with big dreams and aspiration who fled from her home in Mumbai due to family issues to start afresh.
In order to make a living Kala started off her career much earlier than the rest. She started off as door-to-door marketing and salesperson selling knives and coasters making only Rs. 20 a day.
Early StrugglesOf Chinu Kala
While life was away from being easy, Chinu Kala didn’t give up. She explored a variety of jobs for over 8 years and eventually got married in 2004 in Bengaluru. She later participated in Gladrags Mrs India Pageant 2008 where she reached the finals followed by which she then entered the modeling industry and later began her entrepreneurial journey with Fonte Corporate Solutions, which specialised in corporate merchandising.
Fonte Corporate Solutions served as the medium for Kala to gain exposure and learn more about running a business and the Indian market where she learnt about a huge gap in the Indian jewellery industry. She then decided to close her corporate merchandising company to start Rubans Accessories in 2014 combining her love for fashion and experience of corporate merchandising.
Beginning of Rubans
Founded in 2014, Rubans Accessories was started with a bootstrapped capital of Rs 3 lakh in a 70 sqft Kiosk in Phoenix Mall, Bengaluru.
After seeing the huge customer base in that small kiosk, Chinu then decided to scale up. She first rented a space in Forum Mall in Koramangala, Bengaluru and later expanded into other cities like Hyderabad and Kochi. She also ended up selling jewellery worth Rs. 15 lakh in 15 days at her newly opened shop in the Forum Mall, which she later used to pay her rent for space.
Rubans Accessories currently employs around 15-20 local artisans from cities like Jaipur, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata to manufacture jewellery and has its manufacturing unit in Mumbai.
They deal in custom and silver jewellery with SKUs ranging from bracelets, earrings, necklace, matha patti, maang tikka, rings, and more. The brand also employs NIFT graduates for designing the jewellery.
The Bling of Online Business
After seeing a drop in the footfall at her stores and a rise in the growing trend of online shopping, Kala decided to shut all its stores and switched to e-commerce selling. She listed herself on various e-commerce portals like Flipkart, Myntra, and Jabong, and thus revived her customer base.
The brand now receives 1,000 orders online on a daily basis and also sells its jewellery to the US and the UK through its own portal.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
To fight the growing competition in the industry, Chinu shared that Rubans’ initial challenges were carving out a niche for the brand i.e., ‘Vasudhaiva Katumbakam’ (the world is one family). With that done, it has now become a well-established in the fashion jewellery space.
The brand launches its new collection every 15-20 days to keep keep the novelty of the brand alive and to keep the audience hooked.
The team at Rubans is working hard on ‘Mission Rs 150 crore by 2024’. It is also considering diversifying its offerings into other avenues in the fashion space. Chinu says that she is also in talks with vendors across India for selling jewellery.
While Rubans in 2016-17 clocked a revenue of Rs 56 lakh, last fiscal (FY19) saw the brand growing by 114 percent, closing the year with Rs 7.5 crore revenue.
The role model says, “When you cannot outplay anyone, outwork them. But, don’t wait; the time will never be right. You have to be extremely determined to pursue your dream.”