I set up Scraft Products Pvt. Ltd. a decade ago after completing my MBA from KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai. We specialise in manufacturing tissue papers, toilet and kitchen rolls and aluminium foil for food packaging, among other products. Raised by a businessman father, I always had a dream of running my own enterprise. I feel blessed to have been able to fulfil my dream. But my journey as a businesswoman has not been an easy one.
What bothered me the most was that no one ever took me seriously. People would often ask to speak with someone “senior” during meetings or when they wanted to strike a deal. But one needs to take such things in their stride in the business world. So, I disregarded the stereotypes and am proud to have made tremendous progress over the years. I am happy to have reached a turnover of Rs 50 crore last year.
However, just as I was getting to enjoy this latest milestone, the COVID-19 pandemic hit India. With a strict nationwide lockdown in place, orders for my usual range of products dropped drastically in March. My factory in Sonipat, Haryana which was operating to full capacity up until then, had to abruptly stop production.
Keeping all worries aside, I decided to give the business one more shot, before calling it quits by the end of the lockdown. I noticed a growing demand for disinfectants and hand sanitizers.
Noting that a demand transition had begun in the early days of pandemic, I realised Scraft was in a position to redirect its course to meet the growing demand for Covid essentials in the country.
I started reaching out to corporates and retailers with my new products. We are currently operating with 50 workers with demand picking up slowly. I am planning to soon export our products to some of the US markets as well.
Expert guidance is important during uncertain times. Especially when there are challenges while securing raw materials, work passes, licenses and a disruption in supply chain.
To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for this kind of a sudden uncertainty, especially since I had a good run last year. At that moment, I was worried about safeguarding the livelihoods of my hardworking employees. On a personal front, I didn’t want to let this affect me, as I was expecting my first child at the time.
Walmart’s Vriddhi program has been that guiding light for many MSME owners like me. As a wholesale supplier for the company, I had the good fortune of signing up with the program, which was launched late last year, to train and prepare us to participate in the domestic and global supply chains.
During this difficult time, Walmart has stayed close to its suppliers through the program and helped us navigate through the impact and resume businesses by sharing useful information and guidance.
Walmart has given us the access to a network of peers and mentors where we are able to share insights and reach out for help in real time.
Walmart’s platform support coupled with the fact that I am able to support in the supply of essentials during a crisis and provide livelihoods to my workers, are the two things that didn’t let me give up on my dream.