Every time someone goes abroad, they have to reserve a sizeable amount for buying souvenirs like attractive fridge magnets for their friends and family. But what if someone wanted to buy something similarly eye-catchy products from India? There are no options. This gap gave birth to Chumbak, arguably the most head-turning brand for apparel, collectibles, gift items and so much more.
It is indeed a gift to have such a powerful observation and find a gap in the sprawling India market. But it is a greater boon to have the courage and take an initiative to be that bridge. Entrepreneurship is a territory full of both opportunities and uncertainties that take a person on the best ride of their life.
KenFolios author spoke with the person behind this raging brand and got back with stories of raw material that went into its making.
Staring into the idea
“I was staring at my fridge one day, looking at the decorative magnets my husband and I had brought back from several of our trips. Suddenly, I realized that there were no souvenirs or products that truly represented India that one could proudly gift to their friends and relatives,” Chumbak co-founder Shubhra Chadda tells KenFolios.
Both Shubhra and husband Vivek were living a comfortable life, when this idea began boiling in her head. She discussed it with her husband and he readily agreed. After much research, they decided to jump into the non-traditional souvenir market, and since then there has been no looking back.
The couple sold their house for Rs 45 lakh which was a huge risk. This money became start-up capital for their own venture. They aptly named the firm Chumbak owing to the origin of this idea. This was Shubhra’s brain child, who knew about the kind of fun and quirky stuff that could catch people’s attention.
Step by step
Chaddha has always been an enthusiast with keen interest in aesthetic sense. Her spirit is contagious which pulled Vivek into the business a year after Chumbak was established.
She had no prior knowledge about business so she took one year to research about product range, designs, and manufacturers. After she was satisfied to give it a go, in 2010, she launched Chumbak, fridge magnets based on Indian theme with 12 product categories. However, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
During the interview, she says, “Challenges came in various forms. Some small, and some very large. Some related to finding the right vendor and some to perfecting a design. But I believe the key is your attitude and approach to overcome these challenges. Despite shortcomings, I never even thought of quitting.”
Shubhra had the support of her close group of friends and family. Also, she found her inspiration from her husband, who believed in Shubhra’s dreams and helped her kick-start.
Hitting the target
Chumbak took some time to expand their employee base, but now they have a staff of 70-75 professionals. Shubhra says, “Success doesn’t come in a day, it takes time to grow and prove oneself.”
“I don’t believe in a traditional hierarchical system; leading by example helps set the tone, attitude and culture of a smart work ethic and passion in the company. I believe in being connected and involved in every aspect of the business, even if it means getting my hands dirty and putting my team on top priority.”
Born in Secunderabad into an Air Force family, she knew discipline pays an important role in being successful. Her mother, who ran an NGO, inspired her and also showed her the importance of staying humble. Driven by these values, Shubhra has now 18 stores in India, and she is already planning to double this number soon.
Today, Chumbak shines as the dream-come-true of this couple. They have an exhaustive product range both online and offline, and they are showing no signs of taking a pause. Based out of Bangalore, the company has now established itself in the industry.
Shubhra attributes all her success to guts, risk-taking, and passion. After all, it is not easy to voluntarily bid goodbye to a secured life and take a plunge into an uncertain yet rewarding pool of entrepreneurship. Today, the brand shines as bright as its blazing, unique, and flamboyant product range.