What were you doing with your life before the start up?
Before giving rise to the Priti International, we made a debut in the world of business with certain businesses such as textiles and chemicals factory, factories for stone cutting, washing powder production and selling, stock markets etc. But unfortunately, the business somehow didn’t prove to be of great benefit. Instead, we lost a huge amount of money in them.
How did the idea of setting up your startup of Priti International come about?
As I told you, we lost a huge amount of money in the previous businesses that we had initiated. We were totally running out of money. Anyhow, we were left with many raw and waste materials from the factories such as old gunny bags, drums of chemicals. To get enough money for bread, we sold some of those items in the market but that didn’t fetch us enough money too. So we had an idea of using these waste materials to create something valuable. And that is how this project came into existence.
What is the story behind the name of your company?
The story behind this name “Priti International” is my wife “Priti” who I personally believe, is very lucky for me. All the previous projects and businesses initiated by me were with some different names, but they brought me to a terrible loss.
How does Priti International work? Please describe it in a brief.
Priti International aims at making and designing valuable handmade products from waste products. For example, we make useable bags with the help of old gunny bags, old denim or old military bags. Furniture is made from old military jeeps, tins, drums, waste machine parts, tractor parts etc. Light lamps are also made using the old and waste scooter or motorbike lights. These products are then exported to USA, Europe, China, Australia etc. Presently, we are the India’s largest exporter and importer of handicrafts.
As an entrepreneur at the helm of a growing venture, what do you think is
different in terms of challenges and excitements in your industry today
as opposed to when you were just starting out?
The work at our industry is completely different from other industries and more challenging too. At Priti International, the main base of the business is designing. Whatever waste product we find at the market, we have to think over each of it as to what kind of a different product can be prepared using this material. It can be seen as a very exciting job but creativity is a skill that is required to be excellent in this job.
How are you planning on working and scaling your venture?
At present, our yearly turnover is about $8 million. Our customers are based in a total of 36 countries. With our factories set up at 3 different places, we have a total of 400 people working with us. Out of all the customer countries, our foremost focus is China, where we see a huge scope as the present generation there is very much interested in buying our handicraft products to display them in their cafe’s, bars and restaurants. We are planning to increase our production scale and scaling our venture to $20 million by the year 2016.
How do you see the industry you are operating in evolving and shaping up (globally and in context to INDIA?)
The products manufactured by us are famous and in demand because of their uniqueness. Since, China is presently having the largest consumer market of our products presently, our main aim is towards the bars, restaurants and cafe’s where certain kinds of unique decorative items and furniture are required. As online shopping is getting popular in India day by day, so in order to give a boost to the same, we have been trying to make a deal with some online retailers such as pepperfry.com, Flipkart etc. that might show interest is selling our products online. A new retail showroom has been started in Ningbo, China that displays some of our best products. Although it was just a test showroom, the response is tremendous. So, we are planning to launch 12 more showrooms in China that would exclusively display our products.
How is market responding to your venture? Any landmarks you would like to
Since our venture is completely unique, the market is very much fond of the products by us. We have been booked by many export order for the year 2015 and in the year 2016, we shall be participating in several international exhibitions such as Canton fair in China, Shanghai, International Furniture fair etc in September and October 2015. The biggest landmark for our industry was when the success story of Priti International was filmed by the ‘Discovery Channel’ for their show “The Liquidators”. The story which was a whole episode based on our work was telecasted in about 140 countries.
How is your Venture funded?
Our venture is a self-financing one. We are not engaged with any loans or installments from any bank or other financial bodies.
Who all are your core Team comprised of?
Our team is mostly run by 2 people, one is me and the other one is my wife, Priti. We both had started this venture together and now she handles the design and creation department that include the use of recycled fabrics.
Our clients and partners include wholesalers, stores, and online selling. Various large chains in the USA are engaged with us such as the Hobby Lobby Target, Cost Plus world market etc.
What has been the hardest Part of Becoming an Entrepreneur?
The hardest part was probably the struggle period. Since we had failed in many ventures, it was challenging to start with a completely new one with a completely different idea. When we used to talk about it to the people around us, they never took it seriously. We wanted to give it a try but no one was ready to invest in this. We needed money for even the sample productions. So, we started by selling Priti’s jewellery. It got us some money and we created some samples and took its pictures. We sent the pictures around the world to wholesalers and other stores. It took a span of 2 years when we received our first order. Those 2 years were the hardest part of this journey.
What has been the best part about starting up?
The best part about this whole venture is probably that it gave us an international recognition. We are presently one of the best designers and creators of handicrafts. Various famous magazines and newspapers such as India Today, Amar Ujala, Punjab Kesri, Rajasthan Patrika, Bhaskar and several other news channels such as Aaj Tak, zee news, Sahara Samay news nation etc have featured our success story through their media.
Have you had any mentors along the way?
No, I don’t have any mentor. I believe in Aham Brahmasmi. I believe that no one needs any mentor and everyone has his/her own unique abilities and qualities. All the struggle lies in finding these abilities and qualities.
What does the future look like for you venture?
The future seems very bright as we are growing at the rate of 25% on a YOY Basis.
What advice would you give to those looking to strike out on their own?
As simple advice is that success cannot be achieved without putting in hard work.