I hail from Indore where my family has deep roots in business. My entrepreneurial voyage led me from the world of garments to the rich traditions of camphor, with every step of the way echoing my commitment to social change. My heart always yearned to make a tangible difference in society.
My first tryst with entrepreneurship began amidst the bustling lanes of Ahmedabad’s garment sector. The sight of women, the backbone of the industry, grappling with meagre wages and challenging work conditions, deeply disturbed me. I envisioned a different story for them. Starting with a modest group of 2-3 women, I gradually crafted an ethical garment unit. As we delivered garments for renowned brands, we also created a haven where eventually over a hundred women worked under fair wages and respectable conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s black clouds however overshadowed the garment industry, compelling me to halt operations. Back in Indore, while the future seemed uncertain, my resolve to drive change remained unshaken. I had a eureka moment when my research led me to the path of camphor manufacturing, a sector brimming with opportunities. As the founder of Shri Radha Madhav Enterprises, I decided on a brand name Sriji that would align with the devout feelings people experience during prayers.
With Shriji, my aspiration was to offer genuine camphor products, untainted by the compromises rampant in the market. Even with limited funds, my determination helped me create the birth of a small unit nestled in a friend’s premise. True to my core values, I involved women, offering them roles in tablet counting and packing from the comfort of their homes.
My mission has been to reacquaint people with the myriad benefits of pure camphor, a substance deeply rooted in Hindu rituals. Our signature offering is the camphor lamp, a product that marries tradition with innovation. Designed to burn camphor efficiently and safely, it serves as a contemporary vessel for an ancient practice, allowing the user to experience the spiritual and therapeutic benefits of camphor in a modern setting. More than just a product, the camphor lamp stands as a testament to our journey and commitment to bringing timeless traditions into everyday life with elegance and ease.
Guided by the Walmart Vriddhi supplier development program, my journey as an entrepreneur took a significant turn. With mentorship from this initiative, I was encouraged to stretch the boundaries of my business. I learned to leverage e-commerce and retail opportunities, a step beyond the conventional methods I had been accustomed to. It was a transformative piece of advice that led me to sell not only through online channels but also through physical retail stores.
The insights gained from the program and my mentor were profound, particularly in areas like e-commerce, accounting, and pricing strategies. These lessons were crucial in my evolution into a digital-age businesswoman.
The implementation of this advice bore fruit as Shriji expanded its reach. With the support of the Walmart Vriddhi team, we made our products available on Flipkart, easing our transition into the online marketplace. Further embracing the mentor’s counsel, we entered the retail sector and established our presence in retail stores. This strategic expansion resulted in a significant increase of 25-30% in sales, and facilitated growth for our team, thereby creating further employment opportunities, especially for women in packing roles.
Today, I take immense pride in Shriji’s offerings. Our camphor is a beacon of purity, completely free from residue. Our product range has expanded to include organic makhana and herbal dhoop. Looking to the future, I see Shriji embracing the principles of Ayurveda even more deeply, with plans to introduce a line of ethically sourced Ayurvedic products dedicated to wellness.
This vision is full of promise. My entrepreneurial journey, particularly my experiences with the Walmart Vriddhi program, has shown me heights one can attain with dedication, true intent, and enlightened guidance.