Tussle and Triumph in conversation with Pallabita Bora who is a post graduate in English Literature and was a lecturer for over 8 years. When she relocated to Guwahati she didn’t want to do a regular 9-5 job and also because of the time constraint in jobs.
She always wanted to do something on her own and decided to take her plunge as an entrepreneur. She is now the founder of Ensemble and the co-founder of Arghya.
How did you get the idea for your company?
The ensemble is not yet a registered company but Arghya is in the process of being one.
When I was ready with my product black rice and looking for a market I came into contact with buyers who sell nationally and internationally under their brand name. They offered very less amount of our product. And my motive was not the money but name.
That’s when I decided on branding and packaging myself. And today we have finally launched our brand Arghya in the market.
How did you finance your startup costs?
Totally our own investment in production, packaging, and promotion.
How did you get your first customer?
We literally went to promote our products in the local markets and collaborated with a few outlets for the display of our products. I also have a few very able virtual friends whom I met through the social networking sites and they offered their help and support. A good friend of mine who is a food blogger even bought the product and prepared a few recipes for her blog.
How did you build your core team?
Initially, I started out on my own with the planning and inception of Arghya. But with time I realised the need for a core team and hence involved my family in it too. My husband Hemonta Kumar Phukon is an MBA with specialisation in marketing, my brother-in-law Manoj Phukon is a Biotechnology graduate and is in charge of the production, sister-in-law Prarthana Baruah is a creative person and an interior designer and my brother Subhan Sonowal was a content manager with “Fashion n You” and Operations Manager at Vishal Megamart with over 8 years of corporate experience. We all work together as a team but the co-partners being me and Prarthana.
What is the uniqueness of your Startup?
“Honestly speaking Ensemble, I guess, has very less uniqueness as a business. But as far as my collection is concerned I offer uniqueness in design and colors with ethnic motifs and weave.
Arghya my latest agri-venture is something which I love to boast about. It deals in nutritional food products which is the demand of healthy India and we directly supply from our fields and farms.
How are you marketing your product and services to reach out to customers?
We promote both online and offline. We post regular updates on our Facebook page for our online audience. As for offline we literally go door to door, shop to shop promotion and marketing since we are at our initial stage with Arghya and need a face in the market.
Who are your target consumers?
Everybody is health conscious nowadays and with our nutritional products, we are targeting young healthy India.
What is the big picture of your startup?
We are in the planning and documentation process for our future plan. Let’s wait and see what happens next. Hope for the best!
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
For Arghya the first challenge that I faced was to juggle between home at Guwahati and field site at Margherita. But with my core team, this problem was resolved because of the distributed workload as most of them live in Margherita. The investment was also a problem but again each one of us invested whatever little we could.
What is your advice to upcoming startup founders?
Dream high and never give up!
Registered address/communication address
303 Koraas Enclave Plus, Kalyani Sagar Path, Kalyani Nagar, Kahilipara, Guwahati 19