Vrimee: Hi Anu, How are you doing? How are your kids and family?
Anu: All are good with God’s grace.
Vrimee: How did you start your journey as a Small Business owner?
Anu: To be honest, starting a business was never a dream for me.
But my friends from school always encouraged my oratorical skills.
I finished my schooling in Devi Academy Senior Secondary School, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu
where my speech skills slowly grew into Marketing skills.
Vrimee: Sounds cool.Then, What happened?
Anu: In student stalls, I could easily sell more “SAMOSAS” rather any of my friends with my customer interaction techniques, quick responses and prompt service.
But my dream was still an IT job.
Vrimee: IT job is always stressful for moms. You had made the right decision. Do you still remember our college days?
Anu: Yes, Of course.
Our college days in the beautiful IRTT college Erode, Tamil Nadu and those ever sweet hostel days didn’t bring the marketing person in me.
But the one Symposium conducted by our ECE department where we successfully hunted for sponsors did that trick.
My friends and I voluntarily took the challenge and successfully got some good sponsors.
Vrimee: Yeah, I remember Anu. I was not involved in symposiums during our college days.Mostly, I spent my time in our Library.
In which company did you join after finishing the Bachelor's degree?
Anu: I’m not sure whether you remember as you were sick during the 7th semester and missed all campus interviews.
I got selected started in Polaris through campus interview and got posted in Chennai.
Good training from the core team nurtured my IT profession dream to come true.
I worked for 6 years in Polaris.
Vrimee: Polaris is a reputed company. Why did you quit your dream IT job?
Anu: After 2 KIDS I found difficulties in managing both my house CHORES and office DEADLINES.
That’s when I decided to quit my job and to take complete responsibility for the most difficult yet the most beautiful job of MOTHERHOOD.
Everything went on smoothly until I noticed the environment-conscious person in me and decided to put my skills to use.
Then, I worked as a Physics Teacher at my school for one year.
Vrimee: Yes, Anu. Mom's job is the most difficult job in the world with no Salary, no Holidays, no Perks etc. But, we will get the unconditional love of our kids which cannot be bought by any currency.
Anu: I fully agree with you. Being a nature lover myself, I wanted to promote something that would be a good replacement to an everyday usable product. As I was running through Facebook, I came across an advertisement for “trendy leather bag”.
I was quite upset and started thinking of what could be a good replacement for it.
The word “JUTE” popped up in my head. I then started to look for different jute bags online.
I discovered that these bags could be a plastic bag thing as well as a trendy leather bag thing.
That’s how YES TO JUTE was born.
Vrimee: Wow. Awesome. Your name itself is very INSPIRING and MOTIVATING. Then, how did you start your online business?
Anu: I came across different beautiful cloth artforms like Kalamkari, Ikkat, mirror work etc which is versatile and unique at the same time.
I wanted to source my PRODUCTS directly from MANUFACTURERS.
Vrimee: Great decision !!! How are you marketing your business?
Anu: Neither of my products’ manufacturers has a SOCIAL MEDIA page where they could sell their products to people all over India.
So, I wanted to showcase their products on my page so that CUSTOMERS from everywhere could buy these products.
Soon, I started seeing my friends and family encourage my small business which ought to promote eco-friendly products.
I was able to ship all over India and even got some notable overseas orders from the US and UK with my efforts and my family’s support.
Vrimee: Oh my goodness, you are a truly a SELFLESS person Anu. Hats off to you. 1. How is your business going? 2. What is your strategic partnership with your manufacturers? 3. Has your business got affected due to COVID?
Anu: My business has been stable until this pandemic.
Everywhere, I noticed that YOUNGSTERS were very much interested in these UNIQUE products as equal to the craze they have for brand goods.
Promoting different HANDWORK techniques like mirror work, beads work, Kalamkari patchwork, hand embroidery etcetera made me happier than the fact of promoting eco-friendly bags.
I realized that people liked these bags a lot but just couldn’t buy them easily.
Yes, like the majority of the businesses worldwide, my business also got affected.
But, I’m trying to restock my products with hopes of opening my own Boutique one day.
I look forward to promoting and sell millet-based food products, eco-friendly bags obviously, cold-pressed oils in this boutique.
I wish to run a mini snack stall in which I could sell steamed and healthy snacks for kids as well.
Vrimee: Cool. It seems you have already planned the journey for the next 5 years and set a clear GOAL. All your IDEAS are very interesting and I'm pretty confident that they will succeed.
Anu: Thanks. I will always make sure that there are no limits to my ideas and keep trying my best to do what I’m doing now on a bigger scale.
I believe that my dream is not so far away.
Vrimee: I hope you can achieve your dream in the next couple of years. As soon as you open the boutique, send us an email. We will continue your journey from Small Business Owner to Boutique Owner.
To be continued…………