Learn the mantra to be a successful Entrepreneur – the Chinu Kala way
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal” —Vince Lombardi
Here’s a very inspirational story of a true leader who has reached great heights with a blazing desire and strong dedication to succeed in life.
But no, she was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, neither she had a fancy degree from any prestigious institute. It’s her passion, hard work, and perseverance that made her achieve a distinguished position in the fashion jewellery industry in India.
Humble Beginning and Early Struggles in Life
Chinu was just like any other child of her age but what made her different was the tenacity and courage that bloomed very early in her life. Belonging to a middle-class family in Mumbai, Chinu was brought up by her father as her mother used to work abroad. She left home at the tender age of fifteen after a quarrel with her father with a strong determination but merely three hundred rupees in hand.
She spent her first night alone in a railway station in Mumbai, too young but too passionate to face the life ahead full of uncertainties. Clueless and alone, without any idea what to do next, she started crying in despair. Onlookers gave a curious glance or a few words of consolation, but none came to lend a helping hand. Finally, a kind lady approached her and listened to her story patiently. That lady showed the path that carved her future ahead. She got a chance to earn through door-to-door sales of kitchen accessories. Having no other options in hand, she grabbed the opportunity to survive on her own. She managed to get accommodation in a dormitory with twenty other women and started her career as a salesperson.
Be it someone else her age, he/she must have returned home without a second thought. But Chinu proved her mettle by sticking to her decision, facing challenges that she welcomed on her own.
The First Rejection
The very first attempt at selling turned out to be a rude rejection when a lady slammed the door in her face. That incident broke her and made her numb. Being rejected so rudely on the very first day as a teenager shook her initially. However, at the same time, it also gave her the strength to face the odds as she learnt how to handle rejections. Chinu considers this incident as one of life’s most valuable lessons teaching her to embrace negativities in life with aplomb.
Inching towards Success
Eventually, she was doing well and started learning the tricks of the trade. From an amateur salesperson, she transformed into a seasoned performer doing justice to every role she was offered. With sheer hard work and a dream to succeed, she outperformed through the years with multiple jobs as a salesperson, a tele caller, and a receptionist. Within a few years, she managed to move into a bigger accommodation and started earning more money which was enough for her to live a comfortable life. She learnt to understand customers’ needs and preferences and achieved the most valuable practical lessons on consumer behavior that are often taught in management institutes.
Life and Time – the two Best Teachers
Despite never attending a B school, and not even completing her basic education, she learnt the most important lessons of the consumer market from the practical experiences in her life. Through multiple ups and downs, successes, and failures she built herself as a prodigy with an undying ambition in her mind.
First Venture and Entrepreneurial Journey
With a dream to achieve big, Chinu began her entrepreneurial venture Fonte Corporate Solutions – a company that specialized in corporate merchandising in the year 2004.
After her marriage and participation in Gladrags Mrs. India contest, life brought another opportunity for her to grow as an entrepreneur. During the event, she got ample knowledge about fashion and jewellery and started doing some research on the fashion jewellery market in India. She discovered the gaps in the market and leveraged her experience to come up with her fashion jewellery brand. In 2014, Chinu launched “Rubans Accessories” and opened her first shop in a mall in Bangalore.
Success and Recognition
To her surprise, the business started doing very well in the first month itself and her products became a major hit among customers. Despite the initial success, the hunger to achieve more didn’t let her sleep at night. She wanted to expand her territory and open more stores. She started fighting for some space in one of the biggest malls in the city. But, being a small retailer, it was almost impossible for her to secure a space in such a big establishment having premium brand outlets. With her continuous follow-ups and persuasion over six months, she finally got the opportunity to open her next store in this prestigious mall in Bangalore in the next year. Both the stores were crowded with enthusiastic shoppers and she was able to achieve an envious list of loyal customers in the next few years.
Creating a Brand Name in Ecommerce Platform
Chinu had no plans to relax and relish this success for a long time. The zeal to grow and succeed further made her create an e-commerce website www.rubans.in with the intention to reach out to the larger community of customers – online buyers across the country. Rubans also started selling its products through Myntra, one of the most popular and profitable e-commerce platforms in India. With this strategic move, her brand “Rubans” became a reputed name among online as well as retail shoppers. Also, it comes with a catchy tagline: “You are your favorite”, which instigates a sense of confidence and self-respect among women. Rubans is now proudly one of the most popular brands in Myntra.. It is recognized as the top-selling brand in the fashion accessories segment for three years in a row. The brand is known for its unique designs, quality, affordability to middle-class Indian customers, and excellent customer service.
However, this is not a happy story all along. Chinu faced another huge challenge when a devastating fire broke out in her office that turned five years of her hard work into ashes. This incident brought back memories of the struggles and challenges she faced in her initial years. At that time, Chinu was shattered and heartbroken. But she was not someone who can be stopped or defeated so easily. Thus, she gathered herself and made a comeback like a phoenix within three months. It was her relationship-building skills, sheer dedication, and zeal to succeed that made this impossible happen.
Accolades and Acknowledgements
Chinu is an inspiration for today’s youth and one of the real-life examples of what dedication and hard work can do. She has been acknowledged for her work and achievements in many spheres. Chinu has righteously featured in BW magazine’s “40 Under 40” women entrepreneurs’ list. She is also recognized as “Women Entrepreneurs in the Spotlight’ by Makers India and Identified as a ‘Woman Entrepreneur to Watch for’ by Yourstory.
She’s the torchbearer for the new generation of women achievers and is a frequent speaker at multiple forums and conferences including TEDx. Chinu has also appeared as an eminent panellist on BBC WorklifeIndia and “We the women” Asia by social activist Barkha Dutt.
Chinu’s story has been depicted in the book “All You Need is Josh” written by Supriya Paul and published by Bloomsbury India, which covers her journey as an accomplished individual and successful entrepreneur in the fashion jewellery segment.
An Exuberant Individual with a Passion to achieve “More”
In her personal life, Chinu is a fitness freak and an avid traveler. She’s an entrepreneur, model, socialite, motivational speaker, and at the same time a doting wife and a loving mother as well. When not working, she loves spending time with her family, husband Amit, and daughter Meethi.
To know more about her journey as an entrepreneur, check her Linked Profile here:
Once you land on her profile, the first thing that will catch your eye is the quote saying, “Being able to relate to my customer, their lives and their style on a personal level is the ultimate goal of my Jewellery brand”. This clearly reveals her passion behind Rubans. Not surprisingly, Chinu being the brain behind the brand, she has also been the glamorous face of the brand on multiple photoshoots and other occasions. This depicts her level of attachment to the brand. Her profile says she is having multiple skills related to sales, marketing strategy, business development, and more which are endorsed by prominent industry stalwarts. It’s not a surprise that her LinkedIn profile has more than eleven thousand followers to date.
On her Twitter handle and other social media platforms, she regularly posts inspiring thoughts and shares interesting facts on various topics like women empowerment, start-ups, economy, and more.
Never say “Never”
Want a dose of motivation to start something new beating the stereotypical views? Have a look at her social media profiles and you will certainly get the necessary push from within your heart:
Chinu is the epitome of hard work, courage, and self-belief. She stands as a true role model for today’s youth. Where every nine out of ten start-ups fail to sustain in the long run in India, Chinu has made it to the top and runs a business with a revenue of INR 35 crore. She not only achieved what she dreamt of but also created opportunities for hundreds of people working with her, leading from the front.