With friends and family backing her creative skills, Garikapati Shanti tuned her hobby into a successful business.
Many a times, it is a hobby that turns into a business for small scale women entrepreneurs. Garikapati Shanthi, a BSc graduate, had always a passion for stitching and embroidery. Her hobby of stitching cloth bags, pillow covers and other furnishing material eventually helped her to start Om Sri Sai Enterprises in March 2011. Her commitment to work and passion towards art is driving the business even in these tough times.
Talking about business idea, she said, “I learnt stitching and embroidery during my school. I continued it as a hobby and used to stitch different furnishing material for my home. I got a tailor and got him to stich the designs. Earlier, we used to stitch for distributing them among friends. As my confidence rose, it pushed me to start the company. We offer printing on saris, jute bags and non-woven bag manufacturing for retail shops.”
Starting up a small scale unit and expanding it to the fullest potential is not easy. “I am happy that it is uplifting and empowering women employees. We also outsource the work to the middle class women, who can stitch the bags by sitting at home,” says Shanti.
On initial challenges, she says, “There is huge demand for labour with emergence of supermarkets. The workers too are interested in that environment rather than learning the art of stitching. Even after hiring them, there is no guarantee about their attendance. At times, we worry of fulfilling the orders within deadline committed because of absenteeism. I feel that small scale entrepreneur should manage such situations. The output efficiency may not be the same when an entrepreneur works, but the work will not get suffered.”
“Getting clients is another big challenge. We send marketing people to get orders and to maintain relationship with clients. However, after building strong relations with clients, the marketers start business on their own with these clients. This is pushing to us to see clients by ourselves rather than sending a marketing team,” she explains.
“The other big challenge is working capital. Banks are not ready to offer loans without a security. We approached three banks for my earlier business and all of them demanded collateral security,” Shanti says. (Banks should provide funds up to `1 crore to Micro and Small Enterprises without any collateral security under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust)
“The imported non-woven bags from China are almost 40 per cent cheaper. We are paying taxes and giving employment, but finally losing out. Power scarcity is also another impediment. We have to have to comprise on volumes and cut down our orders,” she says. Even with all these challenges, the business will continue to grow and expects a breakeven this November.