Chinu Kala, founder of Rubans Accessories, says: “I never had the money to spend on luxury because I always earned to survive”
Bold, fiery and courageous, Chinu Kala is indeed an alpha female. She firmly took the shredded adversaries of her life by the horns and turned them into milestones of success.
She was only 15 when she left home with practically nothing but the clothes on her back and Rs 300 in her pocket. Mumbai, the city of dreams, called her name, but for a teenage girl with no support or money, the dark, dark underbelly of the city might have engulfed her and led her down a vicious path. But no, this feisty teenager knew what she wanted and was willing to work hard to achieve it. To survive, she worked as a door-to-door saleswoman selling knives and sets of coasters. Of course, her life was hard – she lived on the streets and on the docks of Mumbai. But her spirit was boiling and she refused to break down and be a victim.
Chinu, who used to earn between Rs 20 and 30 a day, now has a jewelry business with a turnover of Rs 40 crore. So how did she manage to do that? “My life’s journey started when I left home at the age of 15 and since then it’s been just a roller coaster ride for me,” she says.
Indeed, it was a struggle but she refused to give up. Chinu did all sorts of odd jobs, including that of a waitress. However, the big break came when Chinu got a job as a telemarketing executive with Tata Communications in Mumbai, where she met her husband Amit Kala, an MBA graduate. In 2004, she married Amit. Amit, with her MBA expertise, honed her skills as an entrepreneur and encouraged her to spread her wings and fly high. Today, Amit is director at Rubans. But she was a good talker and extremely enterprising. She knew that being an entrepreneur was her ultimate goal. She began her entrepreneurial journey with Fonte Corporate Solutions, a company specializing in corporate merchandising. “I got married in 2004 and in 2007 my friends convinced me to enter the Gladrags Mrs. India pageant and luckily I got selected,” adds Chinu.
It was on this platform that she realized the power of jewelry and how it could change, brighten or enhance any look. “This competition gave me the opportunity to see things that I had never seen or experienced before. Before, I never had money to spend on luxuries because I always earned to survive. Here I was introduced to the world of fashion and jewelry. That’s when I realized that even though all the contestants wore incredible outfits and makeup, only the right accessory completed their look… and that realization stuck with me for many years,” she says.
However, she was still not ready to start her own business at that time. “In 2008, I ventured into the corporate merchandising industry and had many well-known brands as clients. In my work I used to deal with brand managers and talking to them I saw the passion they had for their brands. They’ve always told me that sales numbers are temporary but the brand is permanent and that thought has always excited me. That’s when I decided to one day create my own brand and it would be my legacy that would live on,” shares Chinu. “As I already had contact with the fashion world, choosing costume jewelry as a business was a natural progression for me,” she adds.
The beginning was humble – Chinu started from a small kiosk in 2014. However, through hard work, perseverance, a willingness to learn and an understanding of the gigantic power of the human mind, Chinu dreamed big, then turned her dreams into reality of transitioning and setting a new benchmark for the virtual market space. The pandemic has helped her take over the virtual space.
By 2021, Chinu had taken the brand to new heights, earning him accolades all around. Today, she runs a 40 crore jewelry business. “For a first-generation entrepreneur leading a fledgling startup, every day comes with a new set of challenges. But that’s how the learning curve is sculpted. In my case, whatever I am today Today it’s only because of the situations I’ve been dealing with since I was 15,” she says.
“When it comes to competition, I think the only way to beat the competition is to be two steps ahead and let others catch up. At Ribbons Accessories, we don’t follow the traditional four-collection trend per year, but we prepare and present at least 10 to 12 collections each year. The designs selected by Rubans Accessories are original but at the same time subtle. We are the only brand in the market with strong Indian and Western designs”, concludes Chinu.
Congratulations to this inspiring woman! May his tribe grow.
(To receive our daily E-paper on WhatsApp, please Click here. To receive it on Telegram, please Click here. We allow the PDF of the document to be shared on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)