MSME SuperPower:

Persistence has paid off in my entrepreneurial journey

Mala Awasthy

Director, Kesri Transcontinental, Panipat - Haryana

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My entrepreneurial journey began after my marriage, when I relocated to Panipat from New Delhi. In 1998, I gave up my teaching job to make the move. Even so, continuing to work was important to me. So, as soon as the children were settled, I joined my husband Amitabh’s family business.

 

Today, Amitabh and I run Kesri Transcontinental together. Under the brand name Homescapes, we supply a wide range of cushions, home furnishings, luxury bedding and linens to hospitality companies and large retailers in India and other markets around Asia and the Middle East. The company is now 25 years old, and we have a staff of 75 talented and hardworking people.

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Overcoming barriers

Coming from a military family, I was brought up to appreciate the value of traits like discipline, teamwork and punctuality, along with organization skills. I’ve learnt over the years is that these alone is not sufficient by themselves.

You also need enthusiasm and persistence. A traditional mindset creates barriers for women entering the business world. In my early days at Kesri Transcontinental, it sometimes felt like a struggle!

The factory workers were initially hesitant to accept a woman at the leadership level. But with time and effort, things have begun to change for the better.

Tenacity wins again

In early 2020, Kesri Transcontinental was doing very well in both domestic and international markets. Our turnover was good and we were on a solid growth path. Then the pandemic struck and shutdowns reshaped the business landscape worldwide. It was challenging to support employees and manage our finances at a time when our factory fell silent and customers were cancelling orders that we had already bought raw materials for.

Once again, perseverance was required. At Kesri Transcontinental, we took the opportunity to accelerate our digitisation journey and explore e-commerce as a channel for sustained growth. Fortunately, we were assisted in our efforts by the Walmart Vriddhi team.

The Walmart Vriddhi Supplier Development program has proven to be of great help to businesses like ours, with expert advice on how to access finance and increase revenue, for example. I particularly like the training modules on the user-friendly Vriddhi app. These cover different aspects of business management.

I’ve recommended the Walmart Vriddhi e-Institute training to many friends. There will always be tough times in business, but you will get through if you remain enthusiastic and apply yourself with persistence. Walmart Vriddhi helps us stay keen and committed.

My secret to work-life balance is being well-organized and having the zeal to fulfil both professional and personal roles. I always encourage women entrepreneurs to stay the course and find ways to fulfil their dreams.

For Kesri Transcontinental, business is already picking up again and we are confident of a full recovery in the near future. We are hopeful that e-commerce will help not just our company but other MSMEs like us to attract and reach consumers, strengthening the business community in Panipat and in India as a whole.

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