Lalita Sanjay Khaire, a 50-year-old woman who is currently a resident of Pune, began making kokum sharbat over 20 years ago. She has been running a losing business for three years. However, she claims that her business, Kokanraj, brings in over 2.5 crores worth of revenue annually!
So, how did this journey start? Note that, her initial plan was to go for mushroom and oyster farming. However, that did not pan out well.
The year was 1992. Lalita says, “I did not want to join a regular job and this was a great alternative at that time. I started by foraying into oyster mushroom farming. It went through huge losses.
At that time, one needed a Farmers Producer Organisation (FPO) license to do mushroom farming. We also added tomato ketchup and tutti frutti to the menu at this point.”
Keep in mind that at that time she had already been married for two years.
However, things did not go quite as planned. Lalita had a difficult time persuading her close family members that she wanted to start her own business since they were so service-oriented.
Lalita says her husband Sanjay Khaire has been there for her through it all, and she is grateful for him. They decided to shut the mushroom company, but they kept creating tomato ketchup in the meanwhile.
In 1995, Lalita and Sanjay invented a sharbat and ventured into the kokum business and named it “Kokanraj”. She says that it took the company around four years to begin expanding.
In her words, “When we started, it was after we had to sell off everything that we owned. All we had was Rs 500, which I put into this business of making kokum sharbat.”
However, the business did not have an entirely smooth run throughout. With a bit of initial struggle and an entire year of no/marginal profit, Kokanraj did endure quite a bit. Lalita with her sheer determination, however, did not give up and with immense mental support from her husband managed to bring Kokanraj up to the place that it holds today.
Kokanraj has provided work opportunities to numerous women employees who are all quite happy to be financially independent. Due to the seasonal nature of the kokum-making process, they are also able to focus on their individual goals as well as household requirements.
Image Credits: Google Images
Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
Find the blogger: @SreemayeeN
This post is tagged under: entrepreneur, pune, woman, kokum, sharbat, queen of kokum
Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.