08 December 2019

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'Painting Success in the Colour Industry'

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Bell Paints, Pilot Paints and Magnet Coating are a group of one of the foremost trading and small scale industries of the Coastal township of Mangalore. These Companies are run on the basis of leadership provided by a well respected family known as the Kini’s. The noteworthy feature of this close knit group is the active role played by women in running these units. One such immensely capable, dynamic and multi-faceted woman at the helm there is Mrs. Latha R. Kini.

She is also the recipient of the Karnataka State Award (1992-93) in the Best Women Entrepreneur category, in obvious recognition to her yeomen contribution to Industry and Commerce.

She is the current Hon. Secretary of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) as also the Editor of its Monthly Journal. She is also an Active Member of the Indian Paint Association. Furthermore she is the former President of D.K. District Tiny Industries Association and Ex. Secretary of the Women Entrepreneurs Association.

She talks to Small Enterprise India with fervor about her arduous journey and experience as a women entrepreneur in the paint industry segment.

Give us a brief sketch of your background

Actually I come from a non business background and my foray in to the world of business began only post marriage 25 years ago. I am a post graduate in science with a first rank and gold medal to my credit from Mangalore University, in 1984. My husband Mr. R.D. Kini, former president of the KCCI (2003-04), is a businessman who started business in his teenage years. He is a person with loads of experience in the field of business who has great acumen to foresee future ventures. Being a man with a vision, he probably foresaw that my academics and his invaluable experience in business would make a winning combination.

When did you join the Paint Industry? Tell us about your experience as a women entrepreneur in this sector?

Immediately after my marriage, I plunged into the nitty-gritty’s of the tough world of trade and industry. Mind you, I am still learning and everyday is a new learning experience. As a matter of fact, I was given a level playing field by my husband who did not discriminate between him and me. He saw to it that I was comfortable in my journey into the business world, by providing help in the form of caretakers at home. The bottom line is, without the unconditional support from your immediate family, it is impossible to achieve or make a mark in this field, especially being a female.

Give our readers a brief idea about your work profile.

I started my work by assisting my husband in our retail paint shop because here is where the actual action lies. One gets to interact with the customers directly, where the consumer feedback is almost instant. One gets to meet different kinds of people and the way to handle them requires exercising a lot of patience, tolerance and it is here at the grass root level that one learns the tricks of trade. Our manufacturing unit was set up in 1986 that’s post my marriage. It was a sort of a backward integration for me, i.e.; moving from retail back to production. It was definitely easier this way, since by now we already know what the customer wants and what the other competitor companies are not offering. We tried to fill this void by marketing the products which were in demand but not supplied by the leading companies (probably because they were not profitable products). Hence we established a small but niche market for some of the products which eventually helped us to gain recognition from both the national and international companies. In fact from the latter we currently undertake job work.

What is the best and the toughest part of your job as an entrepreneur?

As you may be aware, in a small scale enterprise, there is no defined role for an entrepreneur. He or she is like a headmaster in a one teacher school. The advantages of this profile is immense, since we are aware of all the activities in the premises and also are able to make instant decisions for things to move at a swift pace. HR remains the biggest challenge and often a stumbling block in the efficient running of an industry. Managing people is the most difficult task along with the marketing of the products too. Hence, recently we have been focusing on job work and outsourcing, utilizing the strength of our infrastructure..

Give us an idea about your work as Hon. Sec. KCCI , your job as Editor of KCCI monthly journal, and  about your responsibilities as an active Member of the Indian Paint Association?

Presently I am the Hon. Secretary of KCCI. I am in-fact the first lady office bearer and committee member in the 69 year history of KCCI. And it is a very stimulating experience so far. One gets to learn about the various problems one faces in the field of trade and industry, while representing these issues with the relevant Govt. & Non Govt. organisations..I sincerely hope and wish that in future, we will get to see many more women in this activity. I was also provided with an opportunity to don the role of the Editor of our Monthly Journal for the past two years, which I am thoroughly enjoying. As a member of the Indian Paint association, we get an opportunity to meet veterans of our fraternity & discuss & solve common problems of our Industry.

Holding so many responsible positions, how do you manage to juggle work and family life?

The most challenging task for any working lady is, balancing the house and work. Like all the other working women (whom I salute), I too have tried to manage it efficiently with the help and support of my family & staff.

As the winner of Karnataka State ‘Best Women Entrepreneur’ (1992-93), what would your advice be to upcoming women entrepreneurs as also the newbie entrepreneurs?

About my advice to anybody, particularly women, I think primarily you should enjoy the work you do, irrespective of the type of work. Whatever you do, do it with passion and total dedication. This is my mantra for success.

 

 

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