Starting from a Kiosk in 2014 to transitioning and setting a new benchmark for the virtual market space in 2021, Chinu has taken Rubans Accessories to new heights earning her accolades all around. Ruban’s is now INDIA’S MOST LOVED JEWELLERY BRAND offering strikingly exquisite range of handcrafted collection for every occasion with a vision of making a woman believe that she is her favourite, every single day. In conversation with us, she talks about her best ideas, childhood memories, small businesses and much more..
Where/How do you get your best ideas?
Believe me, the best of ideas come from viewing the simplest of things from a different perspective. Of course, that differs with individuals but that’s what makes us special isn’t it?
Realizing you are unique is the start and ideas are everywhere, the best ideas are the ones you pick and decide to act on with everything you’ve got.
What’s something they don’t teach you in University that you should probably know?
Well, that’s a question, life gave me an answer at an early age that we are all alone in this big world and we will have to shape up and build our dreams by ourselves, and all of it starts when we start believing in ourselves, And I’m saying this because all the universities prepare one to avoid obstacles instead of beating through them, I believe it is these challenges that build a never give up attitude in you and in real life, this is what will drive you forward. It’s that simple.
First thing you do as soon as you wake up?
I’ve been working on building better habits for my routine and one of the latest ones I’ve picked up is to reflect on the events from my previous day. I’ve been finding it helpful in balancing my day’s work and also spiraling back to things that I felt needed more focus. I also try and meditate for some time every morning as that gives me positive energy to navigate the whole day with positivity.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?
Small businesses and enterprises are the growth engine of any nation. Bigger business houses and conglomerates definitely contribute to the economy but the smaller businesses are Jewels of the crown. As an entrepreneur, I’ve been observing that India is going to become a booming economy because of the small successful businesses that are emerging out and making a name for themselves and the country. Small businesses work like SIPs for any economy as they give you sustained growth and a secured future.
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of your company (s)?
Honestly, there hasn’t been even one, not to the best of my knowledge at least, and we as a brand have become more acclimatized to not being dependent on one either. Rather I can give you an account of all the challenges and hurdles that we’ve been put through and how we’ve overcome them. For instance, What seemed a normal day came in to be a shocker when I got a call saying my office and go down were on fire. I rushed in to find all my years of effort turn dry into ashes, literally nothing to even cry about. But four months from then, we managed to bounce back and doubled up our revenues and were back on track, better than ever before- That’s what defined us! As they say that the harder you work the luckier you get.
What do you typically read?/ Favourite book?
I love reading about successful business owners. When I read those biographies I truly get inspired. I am currently reading “Becoming” by Michell Obama which is an amazing book.
Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?
That’s an interesting question, but I have never had a role model or someone that I would want to be like. I get inspired by many people, those from ordinary life and others who have made it big but I feel that each journey is different and has its own path. So I like doing it my way, whether it was my decision to leave the comforts of my home at the age of 15, or my struggle for 3 meals each day, life has been my biggest teacher and it has taught me only one thing “The one who wins the race is the one who is most desperate and willing to give that 1% more than others running alongside.
What questions do you ask at interviews?
Apart from the basic qualification and subject knowledge I generally look for attitude in candidates as I feel that skillsets can be developed but it’s very difficult to build an attitude. I like to be surrounded by teammates who are passionate and have a positive outlook towards things.
One thing you learned about yourself.
Again this was something I realized early on in my life about myself, that I always achieve what I set myself up to, no matter how hard the path is, and that’s solely because I start with believing in the idea beforehand and that I have what it takes to go after it. Now that might sound cliché but for someone who had no formal education to boast about, neither a sound financial background to feel secure about, that’s all I had to get to where I am today.
How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?
Rubans comprises a team of young and passionate individuals, who show their wholehearted commitment to seeing the brand grow bigger and better. I’ve been very cautious about building a healthy work environment where creativity takes on the day-to-day challenges and commitment that drives one forward.
One thing I set straight is to make people understand our vision clearly and then let them explore and expand within their own creative spaces, and that has yielded us great results.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
I love what I do to get tired out of work, but once I reach home my 9-year-old daughter is my biggest stress buster. Playing with her for an hour or watching movies with her takes my mind off all the things that have happened during the day. I plan my days well in advance thus I can enjoy my indulgences as well as make sure that I am hands-on with my work and any situation that comes up at the office.
A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?
Being a 1st generation entrepreneur, the whole journey is so intense because you start out with no knowledge of business, but that’s the charm of it, to figure out things for oneself, and that has been my driving principle to date.
I set out as a 15-year-old teenager with nothing in hand, nowhere to go, did odd jobs, played multiple roles just to feed myself a daily bread, and trust me it wasn’t as easy as it sounds today.
I recall an incident when I was working as a door-to-door salesgirl, household groceries is was I was selling, and it was also my first job. I was so confident that I was going to sell items that are needed every day in households and it would be a cakewalk to sell them. But as soon as I knocked on the 1st door the person saw the big bag on my shoulder and slammed the door on my face even before I could utter a word. This came to me as a huge shock and I sat down on the floor for some time. This was the moment when I had experienced the real world. Most of us at that age don’t even know what all our parents do to get that roof on our head and 3 times meal for us, we take it for granted. But after some time I was back on my feet and I told myself that I have to succeed whatever it takes. I worked as a door-to-door sales girl for 2 years but this job taught me how to handle rejections and failures and how to dust yourself and stand up after a fall.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
A simple piece of advice would be, whatever be your business remember that the most important thing is to know your customer well. Invest a lot of time in understanding your customer and observing how they react/respond to the way you communicate- Be it with the product you sell or a service you provide, both ways you are communicating, because if you can get that right, that’s all the direction you will need as rest of the pieces will fall in place on their own.