Even the most experienced businessmen hesitate before investing too much or taking a huge loan, especially for a failing business. However when 27-year-old Shrae Bansal‘s family was struggling to make ends meet because of a failing business, the young boy from Siliguri was forced to make some difficult decisions and risks, but his belief in himself led him from being practically broke to taking his family business to great heights in just three years, and it now boasts a turnover of Rs 52 crore. Here is his inspiring story…
Shrae’s family is originally from Nepal, however, they moved to Siliguri, West Bengal in 1989 in search of a better life, however not much changed with the change in location. Shrae’s grandfather sold many things, of which one was big black cardamom, and after him, Shrae’s father also got into the business taking the business a step further and would import cardamom from Nepal and then sell it to a couple of traders in Delhi. He named the business Bansal Big Black Cardamom.
As Shrae had no interest or knowledge in this family business he decided to explore other avenues, especially pursuing his love for acting. After completing his school, Shrae went to Bangalore to pursue his BBM (Bachelor of Business Management) at Christ University. However, his and his family’s financial condition wasn’t great so he had to drop out of college. He then started a small cafe in Bangalore to make some extra money in 2014 but that failed too, not to mention the many acting roles he auditioned for, many of which he couldn’t pursue because of financial constraints.
Dejected with the situation, in 2017, Shrae went back to Siliguri and decided to work for his family-owned business. But their situation was dire too, and they were trying to make ends meet. Shrae admits that when he was younger he didn’t care much for what was happening around him, but when he returned to Siliguri in 2017, his only intention was to rewrite his family’s fate, and so he did.
Shrae dived deep into figuring out how he can take the family business to the next level and realized that cardamom is used in practically most ready-made spices that people buy off the racks. While his family would sell cardamom only to local traders who would only buy a little, Shrae got in touch with the companies that made ready-made spices and collaborated with them, selling huge quantities of cardamom to them at large profits. It wasn’t easy to convince them, but Shrae promised them the most premium products.
He shares with pride, “I assured them that my cardamom is high in quality. Quality is the sole motto of my business. I think that is the reason I am tied to almost all the masala companies you can name in India.”
He was so determined that he would be a success that he took a huge loan of Rs 5 crores from a number of relatives, and from a journey that started as recently as 2017, Shrae has already tied up with 18 leading spice-making companies in India and his business now boasts a turnover of Rs 52 crore.
However it isn’t as easy as Shrae makes it seem, he admits that there were many people who wanted to see him fail, especially those who were happy when the business was failing. Whether it was his competitors or the seizing of his produce for no valid reason by authorities, Shrae had to overcome many hurdles, but he admits, “Now that I’m successful, these people have started to respect me.”
When asked what is the most important lesson he can share, Shrae advices, “Patience, hard work and belief. Anyone who stands by these qualities will reach the greatest heights, it’s only a matter of time.”
This story is submitted by Bilal Khan and edited by Alfea Shaikh.
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