Priyanka Agarwal is the lady behind the famous personal care cosmetics brand “Kallos”. She was twenty years old when she conceived this idea. The brand is operating in 6 different states selling in over a hundred stores in each state.
Her subjects of interest were History, Politics, Sociology, Sports, and Dance. Her childhood was a secure journey without any uncertainty.
So being a risk-taker suddenly emerged to her. She didn’t have any interest in business until she started going to her father’s office during college. She had nothing to do with the personal care or cosmetics, rather she wanted to open a salon! So she joined a short-term course of hair and beauty at a reputed institute but soon she found that she didn’t really enjoy it.
Seeing her interest in business development, Priyanka’s father suggested starting a personal care line instead. At the time when she started out, she did not know the systems, practices, and processes of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods market except for what she had seen at the office. She didn’t either go for MBA or BBA.
Since most of the people considered she is just passing her time on summer break, they told her only the broad facts.
The launch was postponed until she completed her studies and an inactive year in business raised people more doubtful of the business and tend to believe that it never going to happen. After a year of stalemate, it took a lot of efforts and time to build a team, start production, and then roll out the products in the market with a clear positioning statement. People were skeptical enough to bring her morale down.
In a patriarchal society like India, the urge to prove to the women power to the world becomes even more challenging due to a deeply set gender bias.
Like any other startup, Kallos also went through a complete grind. Even in the face of pressures of starting out young, and the added scrutiny that comes with being a woman, Priyanka was stable and quick enough to learn from trial and error.
A cardinal error was to attempt to utilize the existing team of her father’s food division in her startup. For this reason, operations in the first 2 months were slow and haphazard. The startup had stocks to sell and there was no way that she could have wasted the ₹ 10 lakh investment her father had entrusted her with.
That was the time when she decided to get her own team of four, and she along with her team created a clear vision in their heads. They started focusing on tier 2 and tier 3 cities by slowly penetrating with their own distribution network that classified the type and number of stores and the areas where they would place their products.
Her father greatly supported her startup in its formative stages and it managed to generate money out of that core investment; from ₹ 10 lakhs, it had been able to generate a turnover of a little over ₹ 1 crore. It was a success if considered the competitive giants like HUL, P&G, Dabur, etc., as well as hundreds of other regional players in the same market and new entrants every month.
Priyanka entered again into academics studying MBA at S.P. Jain. She employs people who have CVs far more evolved than her, and she has no hesitations in accepting their expertise while making business decisions.
She attributes the new welcoming shift in the attitudes of people at work now which makes it more conducive for women entrepreneurs to thrive, to more women occupying top jobs and taking initiatives.
Nowadays a lot of startups are set up by women entrepreneurs and it is really encouraging and exciting to see this new trend in the market.
The whole scenario speaks volumes about women not being the second fiddles to their husbands, fathers, or colleagues anymore; they are independent and are making their families proud.
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