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After a successful career of 10 years in the corporate world, Charu Srivastava decided to leave it all to startup Bonita!
“I took the decision to become an entrepreneur nearly 6 years back. My friends and colleagues supported my decision and were happy that I was taking such a big step,” says the founder.
I come across so many people who want to start something of their own, but are just not able to take the final decision.
Bonita, an emerging international player in home utility products, was established with an underlying desire to make modern households more convenient and appealing. Bonita was launched in 2012 by Charu Srivastava and Umang Srivastsva. It is an International Brand known for its stylish Home Utility products in Laundry, Storage, Organizing and Kitchen categories.
“During my growing up years, my parents had instilled confidence in me to take my own decisions. Though they offered their opinion and advice, they always gave me the freedom to choose my own path,” says the founder.
This trait has helped her become independent and confident. Though Charu’s parents were skeptical when she quit her job, they subsequently supported her decision.
Charu was born in a family which treated both boys and girls as equals. Being a girl who was never really exposed to discrimination in my early years. Charu was surprised when she started seeing instances of differences between the genders. She hopes that prejudices of the society will disappear soon. The company which is already a renowned name in stylish and innovative home utility products are available not just in the country but also in USA and Europe. Also, they are actively planning to expand across Australia and West Asia. They are currently in 20 countries.
The biggest challenge is the decision making itself
Charu says that one of the biggest challenges is the financial one- letting go the comfort of getting a fixed amount in your bank on a fixed date every month. “When you become an entrepreneur, the tables turn- you need to pay your employees on a fixed date every month!” she says. Charu had to dig into her past savings and give up on a lot of expenses which were normal earlier but became a luxury when she became an entrepreneur.
“But the challenges are what make the whole experience thrilling,” adds the entrepreneur who is also a classical dancer.
Bonita has made the home utility-products an intrinsic part of many families and homes across the country. The company is now planning to raise Rs 30 crore through Series-A funding to expand its presence as well as the product band internationally.
A mother of a two year old , Charu begins her day with the household chores and getting her kids ready for school. She believes it is very important for a woman to exercise. “Whether she is a housewife or a working woman, she has to multitask and is the lifeline of the entire family,” says Charu. The entrepreneur feels that she is missing out on quality time with her children. Though she has cut down on vacations and time for hobbies, she believes it will be worth it!
“The work is the thrill in itself and the vision for the future is what keeps me on the move”
While starting up, hiring has been a big challenge for the company. “Finding the right people with the right attitude has been tough. Our hiring strategy is still evolving and each hiring teaches us something new,” she says.
We asked Charu what she learnt in her journey of 6 years, and she said “Once you start your own venture, you need to do everything yourself. I had to organize office furniture, IT setup, telephone connections, recruitments, billing, payment follow up, legal compliances and what not. The shift from being an employee to being a business owner is like moving from one side of the table to the other side. I started appreciating the hard work and efforts of all those entrepreneurs who had taken the decision to start something on their own.”
As an advice for future entrepreneurs, Charu says, “Get going girls- the sky is the limit. One day your father, brother, husband and kids will be proud to be recognized by your name.” Cheers to the spirit!
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