Success Stories in Jute

Success stories in Jute
Gone are the days when jute was used only as a raw material to produce gunny sacks for packaging. As a new source for lifestyle products, it is driving a new wave in the fashion and handicrafts industries, owing to its eco-friendliness, in both domestic and international markets. An all-encompassing increase in demand, from various sectors such as footwear, handicrafts and apparel, home furnishing and jewellery, Jute has benefited the Indian manufacturers.
The special features of Jute, being non-polluting, extremely durable and cost effective, makes it popular among the national and international customers. The optimism is ubiquitous in the industry. Since 1999, export of jute diversified products has increased in multifold. The labour-intensive jute companies provide employment to almost two lakh artisans working in 12,000 units spread across the country. The figure will be much higher if the jute cultivating community is included. India is the largest producer of raw jute and biggest manufacturer of jute goods in the world.
Why I write this ‘Page’, is mainly to make the readers, How Jute entrepreneurs, have made their success, in their “Life”. As stated in a proverb, Success has not come to those entrepreneurs in a Day, but only after their continued efforts and Hard work. Some of their Success Stories, may be a inspiration for you also. If you wish to send your comments, about these 'Success Stories', you are requested to send your comments, by Emailing to the following link, with your contact details :

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Success Story – 1
Some time during 1999 or earlier, one entrepreneur from Kovilpatti, approached me, after reading my articles in various Newspapers & Business Magazines, for getting started with Jute Export business. On hearing his background & Business, I decided to test his interest in Jute Export business. I told him to bring some Jute related enquiries, from the internet, on his own. He came to me after a few days, with a bunch of papers, all with Jute related enquiries, collected from internet centres, which he approached, on my advice. Later, I decided to test his collection skill, by sending him to different Jute producing units, including Kolkata based Jute units. The surprising fact was that, he stayed with some of the Jute Artisans, and collected the samples, and also studied their capacity details, without spending much money. Further he also collected some other Eco-friendly crafts, like Terro-cota toys, etc.
When he asked me for the next step, I suggested him to make a Catalogue, which also he prepared, with all his collection of Jute products & other Eco-friendly products, within the next few weeks. For the next step, on studying his contacts and interest, I suggested him to visit USA & UK. He also went to USA & UK and returned after a few months, with a Successful news, that, he has started a small office, in USA. He contacted those parties, whom he sourced from the internet. So Success is not easy to achieve, like in this case, but only through Hard work and persistance.

Success Story – 2
Some time during 1995, an elderly entrepreneur from Chennai (native of Chittoor weaving belt), approached me, after reading my articles in various newspapers and requested me to guide him, in the Jute sector. He was not sure about what to do, since he came after retirement from Transport sector. His seriousness in venturing into Jute was visibly noticed and his technical knowledge in weaving made me to suggest him to enter into weaving line. He was so determined to take up making Jute blended fabrics of Fine quality, different from other Jute fabric manufacturers and also wanted to compete with the Mills, by bringing out finer Jute blended fabrics.
In his attempt, whenever he brought some newly developed Jute blended fabrics, I tested them with my basic technical knowledge, which I gathered from Binny ltd., and showed the weakness of the fabrics, either by tearing it off, or by washing the dyed fabrics, in Soap water, and returned those fabric swatches, for making improvements, in his fabrics. This lasted for few years, and after successfully introducing the blended fabric, he was again well determined to serve his fabric only for ‘Long-term’ exporter, for which he participated in many of our Fairs during that period. At one stage, when he lost more than 1.5 Lakh (in INR), from out of his retirement amount, he decided to quit the business, for making some alternative business, to his successor SON. In 2000, he came to inform the same to me that, he wished to quit the Jute business, totally. But with a confidence on his Fabric development, I told him, that he would come back certainly, successfully. The very next week, he came to my office, carrying a sweet box, saying that, he got a Long-term Order, from an exporter, for his blended Jute fabrics. He is still in business, making fancy blended Jute fabrics.
Success Story – 3
During 2001-2002, when we were conducting a Jute Fair at Chennai, on the inaugural day, one visitor approached me asking me for information for becoming a Jute entrepreneur and the formalities to be complied with. While discussing with her, I gathered that she was making textile garments with Cotton & polyester fabrics and wanted to venture in to Jute. I took her immediately to a fabric supplier stall, in the same fair and arranged for providing Jute fabrics, for converting into Garments. The next day, to my surprise, she came with few sets of decorative Jute garments, made from the fabrics, sourced from the fair and showed it to me.
For her surprise, there was one stall vacant in that fair, which I provided to her and she sold all her pieces, on the same day. She continued to occupy the stall till the last day, by replenishing with Jute Garments, and proved her entrepreneurship, in a day.
This Story makes it clear, that for becoming an entrepreneur, one needed to have the skill & ambition & real Hardwork. Even in One Day, One can become an Entrepreneur.
Success Story – 4
During 2008-2009, when we conducted a Jute Fair at Pudhucherry (erstwhile Pondicherry in India), a leading Jute Bag manufacturer based at Pudhucherry also participated in the fair, with other Jute units, to showcase their range of Jute products, to the visiting public & Business visitors.
The partner of the unit approached me and thanked me for opening their vision, by giving them an opportunity to participate in that fair and also taught them a very big Message, during that event. Generally, at Pudhucherry, the local Government insisted on disposing off the waste, in a safe manner, without affecting the environment, for which, they have been spending ‘Thousands’ of Rupees, every week, for disposing the Jute waste cloth, in truckloads, that gets generated during the stitching process of the bags.
Whereas, in that fair, they saw some beautiful Jute Dolls & Key chain holders & Jute Jewellry, all made from such Jute waste bits, and it was a Big lesson for them, according to the partner of that firm.

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Success Story : 5
I wish to say a success story about an entrepreneur from Kerala. During 1992 /1993, one entrepreneur approached me during a Jute fair, and evinced interest to set up a small Jute manufacturing unit. He also stated that, he has got a General Provision shop in the market area at Cochin, through which he can market his Jute products. As per my advice, he started his Jute unit in a small way with 3 / 4 sewing machines and also was marketing his Jute bags, on retail-cum-whole-sale basis, through his Shop. He also participated in the Jute fairs, regularly, to explore more and more contacts. After a period of 2 /3 years, the jute entrepreneur again asked my suggestion for improving his market, since he was getting more and more demand from the local and nearby regions. He was initially sourcing his raw materials only from the local dealers at higher price and his ambition was to penetrate the market, at a competitive price, hence I suggested him to approach the Jute mills, at Kolkata directly for bulk booking. During that period, there was no regional /branch office of any Jute mills, in southern region. He expressed his difficulty in conversing with the Jute mill officials, in case of visiting to Kolkata. Understanding his language problem, I suggested him to hire a translator, to take along with him, during such business trips, to Kolkata. Accordingly, he took a translator and started booking Jute fabrics, in truckloads from Jute Mills, directly. He did this continuously for 2 / 3 years and extended his market, all over Kerala, at a very competitive price.
Later, he expressed me, his difficulties, in competing with other major competitors, due to their competitive price. After analyzing the competitor’s product, I suggested the Jute entrepreneur, to change the fabric patterns, to suit the price, suitably. He also followed the technique and penetrated the Coimbatore and nearby regions, also, with his competitive price. When I again met him during Dec’09, he proudly told me that his company has obtained ISO 9001 – 2000 certification. It proves that, in spite of language and educational barrier, one can reach greater heights, with his hard-work and higher ambition.

Success Story : 6
I must certainly share this Success Story about a woman entrepreneur from Chennai, who approached me during May 2006. One woman entrepreneur called me over phone, with an interest to set up a Jute manufacturing unit. She also pointed out that had completed some Certificate course in Crafts making from NIFT, Chennai. In order to test her creativity, I told her to come and meet me with some Jute Crafts, developed by her. She openly spoke to me that, Jute is totally new to her experiment and asked for providing some sample fabrics, for developing a sample. On my advice, she picked up some Jute fabrics, from Jute retail outlet at Chennai and developed a Sample, and showed me the sample during May 2006. On seeing the sample piece of Mobile cover, made with Aqua Blue Jute fabrics, with lining of cotton designer fabric, to match the Jute fabrics and also hand embroidered with copper coated glass beads. For checking the expertise of an expert, even one sample is enough. Her sample also proving her expertise.
Immediately, I decided to give an opportunity for her in the Jute Fair, at Madurai, which was to be held in July’06 and enquired about her production capacity. She also agreed to participate with sufficient quantity and to everyone’s surprise, she did 2(two) significant points, in her first attempt of participating in the Fair. First point was by coming out with a very high quality Catalogue, of international standard, showcasing her product ranges and Secondly, by coming out with a new Bag design, which no one would have attempted, i.e., by creating self Handle at one corner of the bag, and making the Bag to look like “Rhombus shape”, while carrying. No any entrepreneur had come with such a good quality Catalogue (other than Kerala exporters), from Southern India, in the Jute Bag /made-up sector, in the last ten years. She also received very good response in that fair. It shows that, more than the product, presentation is very important, in introducing the product/s. If the product is different from others and if it has its own utility /Design value, the Buyer will be at your Door-step.
Success Story : 7
This is about an entrepreneur, who was very creative but not exposed properly. On seeing my ‘Vanakkam Thamilagam’, on 12th May’03 (a One Hour morning programme) in Sun TV, a set of family members contacted me to provide some ideas for guiding an entrepreneur, who is closely related to them. They also explained that, the entrepreneur has worked in Cinema field, creating Art backgrounds, etc., and also was making some artistic pieces, costing more than Rs.20,000 (in INR). But the problem lies in the volume of pieces, he could market only 3 to 5 pieces, in a year. On hearing their points, I personally visited the entrepreneur’s production unit and got really amazed by the range of products, he has created out of various products. Various types of Wall decoratives, palm art, lamp shades of sand texture, Decorative mirrors, etc.
After studying his creativity, I explained him that, he was marketing his creative artistic pieces, in few numbers, at very high margin, due to its workmanship and artistic talent. I suggested that, by entering in to Jute, it will become totally reverse, i.e., Volume to be increased and margin to be decreased. He started preparing his Wall decorative pieces, with the base material as Jute and started making designer Wall decoratives and Decorative Jute mirrors, which he proved to be the fast moving pieces, in the Jute fairs/events. He has wider collections of Jute Wall Hangers, Lamp Shades, Jute Flower-vase, Jute stationery set, etc. Now he is totally into Jute and doing in large volume, with very good margin also, for his creativity and workmanship and regularly participate in Fairs & events, of his expectation. All his wall decoratives prove to be different and Unique from others. Creativity has no boundary.

Success  Story8

An  young   Jute  Entrepreneur from Kolkata,  approached  me, at  my   Chennai  office,  during 1996-97,   with newly  designed Jewellry  products, made of Jute  yarn  and also by  applying Jute Fabrics, on the jute jewelry  products.    The  products,  on the face of its appearance, the jute jewelry samples  were  looking bit  simple & unsophisticated,  like  a  Child’s  creation.   Being  a new range, at that point of time,  I appreciated the entrepreneur’s  efforts  and  also impressed  by his  request  for ideas,  for  improving his Product.   On studying his product, I suggested him to make it much refined,  and to remove  protruding fibre  on the yarn.    I  also  suggested him to come out with some “Branding”  for his  product  ranges  and also to have better  “packing”,  to  impress  the  buyers.  
The  enthusiastic  entrepreneur,  immediately  obliged my suggestions & ideas,  and  took  lot  of  efforts,   and started  making  improvements  in  his  products, by applying  some  mechanical  techniques and  also  started packing it in a “See-Through”  decent packing, with  a  special Brand name,  for  his  Jewellry  products.  Now,   his  products   are  very much attracted by the  buyers,  all over India  and  he has also  started  Exporting  his  products,  to  foreign  countries.    For  getting  success,  every  product  need  to  be  presented in a better  manner,  with   Better  look    and   effective  Marketing  Techniques.  Simply  having a innovative / creative products, will not do,  for  taking it to the Market.   Only  through  effective  and  appropriate  Marketing  tools,  the  product,  can get  Good  Exposure  and  wider market acceptance.

Success  Story  :  No. 9
This story is about an IT (Information Technology) Engineer, based at Chennai, who  pioneered  into the Jute venture, with his knowledge & confidence.   The young & energetic Jute entrepreneur,   having set up his Jute unit, in a remote village,  considering  its cost advantage,  and having his office set up in the City, made his  steps professionally,  in all  aspects.  On  seeing the product  and the  way it was designed  uniquely,  MPO ( Chennai )  recommended,  on the “first sight” itself, that his products are eligible to be exhibited in Foreign fairs  and  also paved the way for the New Jute entrepreneur,  to enter the foreign markets.    The enthusiastic  Engineer cum Jute Entrepreneur,  also participated in the ‘Intl. Autumn Fair’, Dubai, under the banner of National Jute Board, in Dec’2011.    The  product  being a Fancy Jute bag, with a “SHOE-Like”  appearance,  impressed many a visitors.   
The moral of this story is, that “More than education, the confidence and Using of Knowledge in the ‘Right’  direction”  is  considered  to be very much vital & important, during this competitive situation

Success Stories – still continues

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For your Comments &  suggestions,  or  for inclusion of Jute related Articles / News,  you are requested to send your comments/views/Articles, by Emailing to the following link, with your contact details :

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About Me

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Author of this BLOG is a post graduate in Management with Marketing experience from a reputed Textile Mill, and presently serving in "National Jute Board" under the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, for promotion of Jute and Jute LifeStyle products