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From Rs.300 To Rs.100 Crore: Inspiring Story Of Chinu Kala

Left Home At 15, Class 10 Dropout, Earned Rs.20 Per Day

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Today, I will be sharing inspiration story of Chinu Kala who ran away from home at 15 with only Rs.300 in the pocket, and built a Rs.100 crore company.

From Rs.300 and Spending Night at Railway Station to Rs.100 Crore: Story of Chinu Kala

Chinu Kala left home with only Rs.300 in her pocket after an argument with her father at just 15 years old. At the time, her mother was working in Saudi Arabia and she had no means of contacting her.

Little did she know then that this act of defiance would spark an entrepreneurial journey that would one day see her build a Rs.100 crore fashion jewelry empire.

The Early Struggle

Chinu spent her first night on the streets of Mumbai's railway station. To survive, she took up a job as a door-to-door salesgirl selling knives and coasters, earning a mere Rs.20 per day.

Her earnings were so meager that she could afford only one meal a day. Kala took up the job and started living in a dormitory that charged ₹25/day for just a mattress.

“(When) I rang the first doorbell, the lady who opened the door looked at my bag, slammed the door in my face, and asked me to leave. For three hours I stood under the building and cried — but accepting defeat and going back home wasn’t an option. I had to sell, no matter what. After ringing multiple doorbells, I sold three pieces…I made ₹60 that day. In just 6-7 months, I had three girls working under me. I was 16 at the time,” shared Kala.

She took up odd jobs like being a receptionist and waitress to supplement her income as she was determined to make it on her own.

"When I left my house, I didn't know what lay ahead for me. I could earn only Rs.20 a day selling knives and coasters door-to-door, and people used to slam the door on my face, refusing to buy the products. But I had the determination and I knew there is no substitute for hard work," Chinu recalls.

“I have learnt that running a business is no rocket science; it’s a simple way of meeting consumer demands … I could not study entrepreneurship so I decided to jump into it,”

After working as a door-to-door saleswoman for a year, she moved to Surat to work as a Yellow Pages distributor. Her big break came when she landed a job as a customer care executive at a Tata Indicom franchise, where she met her future husband Amit Kala.

Amit worked in media for 14 years. He helped companies like ESPN and Viacom18 sell their products.

Start of Entrepreneurial Journey

After getting married, Chinu took a beauty course and ran a salon at home. To learn more, she came to Mumbai. There she found out about a Mrs. India contest. She joined in 2006 and made it to the top 10. She didn't win, but it inspired her to start a jewelry business. She saw how one piece of jewelry could really change an outfit.

After thinking about it for years, in 2014 she started Rubans Accessories with just Rs.3 lakh in savings. Rubans started from a humble 36 sq ft kiosk in Phoenix Mall, Bengaluru but was an instant hit, making Rs.1.5 lakh on the very first day.

"Like any other business story, Rubans was just a thought that I had been nurturing for years in my head. Finally, in 2014, I took the plunge to start my fashion jewelry business," Chinu says.

Rise of Rubans

By 2016, Rubans had expanded to 7 stores across multiple cities with a turnover of Rs.50 lakhs. Spotting the e-commerce trend early on, Chinu transitioned Rubans to an online brand by 2018. The brand was selected for Myntra's accelerator program and quickly became one of the top sellers on the platform.

From a modest Rs.56 lakhs in 2016, Rubans' revenue grew exponentially to Rs.35 crores by 2022. Chinu now aims for Rubans to capture 25% of India's estimated Rs.21,000 crore fashion jewelry market.

In 2023, Chinu's entrepreneurial journey and inspiring story of grit caught the attention of investors on Shark Tank India. She received an investment of Rs.1 crore in equity and Rs.50 lakh in debt, valuing Rubans at a staggering Rs.100 crore.

Looking back on her journey from poverty to building a Rs.100 crore brand, Chinu shares some invaluable wisdom: “Always have a bigger canvas to play, customize, bring-in the unique quotient, and optimize to make it affordable.”

Chinu Kala's story offers several valuable lessons:

1. Persistence and Adaptability: Chinu Kala's journey from a door-to-door saleswoman to a successful entrepreneur demonstrates the importance of persistence and adaptability. She didn't shy away from changing her career path multiple times until she found her true calling.

2. Leveraging Opportunities: Each step in her career, whether it was working as a distributor or taking a beautician course, provided her with unique skills and experiences. She leveraged these opportunities to build her own business.

3. Importance of Passion: Her passion for jewelry was ignited during the Gladrags Mrs. India competition. This passion drove her to start Rubans Accessories, highlighting the importance of following one’s passion.

4. Continuous Learning: Chinu's decision to enhance her skills by taking a beautician course and seeking further knowledge in Mumbai shows the importance of continuous learning and self-improvement.

5. Resilience: Despite not winning the Gladrags Mrs. India title, she didn’t give up. Instead, she used the experience as inspiration to start her own business.

6. Starting Small and Scaling: Rubans Accessories began as a bootstrapped company and scaled significantly, illustrating that starting small and gradually growing is a viable path to success.

Chinu Kala’s story emphasizes the need for a clear vision and the execution of that vision with dedication and hard work.

Lessons From Billionaires

Here are the 6 biggest lessons that 25 billionaires have shared with the world:

  1. There are no employee billionaires

  2. Billionaires create their market

  3. They are okay with being boring

  4. Their attitude towards money never changes

  5. Billionaires got rich doing ONE thing

  6. Billionaires pay the price

YOU can become a billionaire.

But you have to start.

Right now. Where you are. And with what you have.

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