New Delhi, Aug 24 (BAN/CD): An entrepreneur, former Mrs. India finalist and a socialite, Chinu Kala started her story of success when she was 15. Having run away from home due to family issues, Chinu made a living by selling knives and coasters door-to-door for a mere Rs. 20 per day.
Over the next eight years, she worked a variety of jobs to manage on her own.
“These initial years toughened me up and taught me that nothing comes easy in life. I slowly worked my way up the ladder,” she says.
According to her success story published on Indian yourstory webportal, In 2006, Chinu began modelling and after a push from her friends, she participated in Gladrags Mrs India Pageant, 2008, where she reached the finals. Soon, she realized modelling was not her calling. “I always wanted to be my own boss and create a legacy which can be passed on,” she says.
Chinu started her first venture, Fonte Corporate Solutions, a corporate merchandising startup, in 2008. The company works with multiple brands such as Oracle, ITC Limited, Sony Pictures, TV Today, and Indian Premier League (IPL).
Chinu was exposed to practical lessons of running a business by meeting consumer demands with products and services that best match their needs, and it was then that she realised that there is a huge gap in the Indian jewellery industry.
In 2014, she decided to close Fonte Corporate Solutions. The same year Chinu founded Rubans Accessories. “ Being fashion conscious and creative, I combined my expertise with my business acumen to put together my own label – Rubans” she said.
Chinu recalls that it took her six months to get a 64-square feet store in Phoenix Mall, Whitefield in Bengaluru. The next step was to open a store in a successful city mall. Chinu decided to scale up and approached Forum Mall in Koramangala, Bengaluru to rent a space.
As there was a wait time of two-five years for store space to be available, she was denied availability of space. Chinu pursued the manager of the mall and finally managed to convince him after three months.
“I was given a period of one month to arrange for money but all I had at that time was my jewellery collection. I opened the store and customers loved my collection so much that I sold jewellery worth Rs 15 lakh in 15 days.”
The success in Bangalore made her branch out to Hyderabad and Kochi. After opening five exclusive stores, Chinu found out that her customer base was rapidly decreasing as more and more started shopping online.
Chinu took the hard decision to shut all her offline stores, switching to the online mode of selling. She listed herself on various ecommerce 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.
Rubans’ team comprises of 20 employees and five designers who curate the designs. Chinu says the business was making money from Day One.
From revenue of Rs 20 lakh in FY 2014-15, Rubans last year touched a turnover of around Rs 3.75 crore. It launched in the US last month through Amazon, and is slated to launch the brand in the European market by August.
Earlier this year, it launched Rubans 925, a silver jewellery line. Another line in the economical accessory segment – Atara – will be launched soon. “The next year looks more promising and we are looking at a turnover of Rs 6.5 crore.”
Ruban’s competitors include brands like Pipa Bella, Voylla and Toniq. According to Chinu, redefining your brand, aggressive pricing, and outstanding and different designs will give Rubans the edge and continue to make a profit.
The Star Debutant Retailer Award in 2016, and selling on Amazon US are some of the milestones Chinu cherishes.