For every person who aspires to become an entrepreneur, you get a special call and you either accept it and become one or drop it and end up in a day job. This is majorly the story of Nisha, the owner of a doll factory today.
IIM graduate then, doll maker now
The transition from being an employee to becoming an entrepreneur happened all of a sudden for Nisha.
She was working for an MNC after she graduated from IIM and was happy with her job. But then, her aspiration to engage in a creative work never ceased. Right from her childhood when she used to convert cigarette butt into a creative piece, torn paper into an art form, she found that she had a creative eye and was praised by people around for the same.
A couple of years ago, an incident in her life changed her path and career entirely.
A person from Nisha’s known circle wanted 50 sets of marapachi dolls for an occasion and requested Nisha to provide the same within a specific period. With so much interest, she decided to take sick leave from her day job and use that time to purchase and beautify the dolls.
She traveled down to Thirupathi to purchase the original dolls and then began adorning them. As soon as the adornment was over, the dolls were all delivered to the buyer. To her surprise, the buyer loved her work and ordered the next batch.
It was so motivating to receive appreciation for the first work and then bag a yearly bulk order.
This moment pushed her to explore her doll-making skills by giving up her day job.
The rise of a doll factory
Traditional dolls have lost their value and shine these days, don’t you think? So this niche area looked like an opportunity to Nisha to explore and sell her creative skills.
Initially, she switched between day job and doll making to understand the business and the market. One fine day, she thought she would want to make her entrepreneurial dream full-time and resign the day job. Perhaps, she made it! She gave her family and herself one-year period to know the result of this business. Fortunately, a year has taught her a lot and she has crossed the tough times to become a pioneer in this field. She also insists that her friends have been very helpful in investing and motivating her during times of distress.
In fact, she has traveled to different states in India to procure raw materials, master the art and explore the market. Procurement that started in small batches now extended to huge volumes and she finds this to be a good sign. Further, she has also been working in propagating this art form and grouping doll makers to create the platform and reach customers with these products.
It’s been over 2.5 years now and this doll factory has created over 10,000 dolls for different occasions. Sri Kohlapuri, the startup owned by Nisha, creates dolls (from scratch or from a regular doll) for varied Hindu occasions including marriage, Navratri and also based on a specific theme to replicate an event. Her creations are of high demand that the orders for Navratri are booked several months in advance.
Having started really small, Nisha talks about how this initiative has empowered the lives of underprivileged women big time. Finding human resources is always a challenge to any business but Nisha was fortunate enough as talents reached her for work and she says
I feel so satisfied with this work as this promotes the art form and also empowers several women.
Her story is truly inspiring and she has big plans in the years to come to transform the present doll factory into a large scale one.