15 December 2019

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One Stop Gift Shop

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Who does not want any occasion to be special but how many of us would think of turning that into a profitable business venture! Manju Agarwal, the founder of Nimantran , which is a one stop shop solution for any accessory related to occasions is an example of turning creativity into a profitable business. Eco-friendly designs and usage of hand made paper offered at competitive prices are USP’s of the venture which began in 1997.

Agarwal first made a foray into event invites and gift boxes, but quickly expanded its repertoire by offering trays, trousseau packages, saree covers, carry bags, gift wraps, potlis, pouches, and baby shower gifts among others. Although she began with the support of her husband Mr.Rajesh Agarwal and son Mr.Rachit Agarwal, she is now gone solo and handles everything on her own. For Agarwal, the wedding market is quite big and with the burgeoning economy, she is sanguine about the company’s growth prospects. Excerpts of the interview with Ms Manju Agarwal :

How did the thought of starting a venture come about? How much was the initial investment?
As a homemaker, I never thought I would be able to start up a beautiful venture like Nimantran. With a vision and interest in designing at weddings, I started making invitation cards and planning décor from the handmade paper my husband exported. I always knew that there was something more creative which can be done with the handmade paper and this is what inspired me to launch Nimantran. The initial investment was Rs 2 lacs.

Was your family supportive of starting the venture?
My family was the biggest support I had while starting the venture. As my husband helped me with the raw material i.e. the handmade paper, my son Rachit till date helps me with the functioning of the store.

How many stores does the company have currently and how many do you plan to open over the next 2-3 years?
Currently, we have a Nimantran store at Pitampura and we plan to open up 2 more stores within next 18 months or so, in other parts of the city.

What are the various options and products that Nimantran offers to its customers?
We have a wide range of products which can also be customized according to the needs of our customers. The personalized touch that we provide incorporates trust that the customer’s needs are being considered.

The one stop boutique offers products like luxury invitation cards, trousseau boxes and other gifting options for weddings. We also offer products like decorative potlis, luxury boxes for all occasions, corporate boxes & invites, gift envelopes, decorative carry bags, traditional covers for wine/champagne bottles, fabricated saree covers, trays & platters for all occasions along with complimenting invites. Other than this, products for various occasions like baby showers, birthdays, Diwali along with apparatus for weddings & pujas is also available.

What are the challenges that you faced as an entrepreneur and what kind of learning have you ploughed back to your business?
When I started the business, it was out of my own savings and I would often struggle to keep up with the demands of my growing venture. That's when I understood that a reasonable amount of leverage is a must in taking any business forward.

Talking about challenges, time constraints have always been there. Many a times, the need to send my team to the venue of a wedding or any other celebration, arouses whenever there are problems. With 600 customers that I cater to, learning is a daily process for me and my team.

How much revenues did the company clock in the fiscal ending 2011 and how much do you expect them to increase by the end of the current fiscal?
The revenues that were generated in 2011 were about Rs.75 lacs and we expect them to increase to Rs.1.25 crore by the end of the current fiscal.

You have worked with reputed industrialists like Dhoots, etc. How was the experience?
Customer in today's market is very discerning, especially if they have the kind of exposure that industrialists like Dhoots have. Learning to 'think out of the box' and keep redefining ourselves was the foremost lesson we imbibed, along with being more organized and professional in our approach.

Can you tell us the size of Indian packaging industry in the segment in which your company operates and have you envisaged the market share which you will be able to have in the next few years?
When we consider the fact that weddings in India is a USD 30 billion industry, then the fragmented packaging industry accounts for nearly a billion dollars. We have laid out a road map to capture 1% of this in the next 7 years.

Our determination and the will to master the market would help us to achieve our goal.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 05 May 2013 17:25 )  

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