Monday, August 31, 2015

Anjali - How Business Is Done

Anjali had her annual rakhi making competition at school a couple of days before the actual rakhi day. She told me while we were driving to school that she had never won any prize for rakhi making in all these years. 'But this year I will win,' she said with a determined look. With little preparation and a simple idea she managed a third prize - which was a big deal with her. She was happy with the result. (Also happy with the fact that her akka had told her before the prizes were announced that she suspected Anjli might win the first prize - that was as good as winning the first prize for her.)

Back home she showed me her rakhi and told me how simple her idea was and how detailed and complex the other rakhis were. She was all praise for the first prize winner who made an elaborate affair with pulses and stuff like that. 'Aunty said that she was giving marks mainly for the effort that went into making the rakhi,' she said happily.

Sometime then the business idea developed. 'Nanna, why don't I make rakhis for all the attas?' she asked. 'Anyway they have to buy rakhis to tie to you and Pappa.' I readily encouraged the idea wondering what it would lead to. But the enthusiasm was infectious so off we went to the faithful Himalaya Book Store. She carefully chose the kind of colored paper she wanted, the ribbons, fevicol and such other stuff. Suitably armed we headed off to her aunt, Mythily atta's, house where the rakhi manufacturing process would begin.

It was no mean task. She has four cousins in Hyderabad plus the eight rakhis she needed to make for my four sisters. Twelve in all. She recruited support and technical expertise from two aunts and got eight rakhis done on day one and and the remaining four the next day. The pricing was then fixed - the more complex ones would be priced at 50 bucks and the others at 10 bucks or something like that. The aunts were informed accordingly that no rakhis needed to be bought - they were already made.

Sealed in a box like the Finance Minister's budget, the rakhis made their way home amidst tight security. A sum of five rupees a head was promised to the two helpers and me, for buying the material. The rakhis came out on display on the D day. Money briskly changed hands and she went about comfortably selling them at a hundred bucks a pair. And then her cousins had to come - word had spread  that rakhis had been hand made.

By the end of the day the enterprising little miss had grossed something well over two and a half thousand which went straight into her notes bank. To her credit (and her aunts) the rakhis did look very different and colorful and I enjoyed wearing them all day. But seriously, I cannot even imagine doing anything a tenth as enterprising even now.

Looking back at the entire event I can only admire the thought process and the preparation which led to the result she richly deserved. All on her own she thought of making rakhis (where no seeming demand existed - in fact there was competition from regular shop keepers), she thought of the idea ahead, captured her market. Then she motivated me to buy her the material she wanted, got the help of two of her aunts to make the rakhis. Then the pricing was done (good solid pricing if you ask me). The sale was interesting too - a nice display on a big table. The emotional angle. There was a clear need. There was an event. There was an opportunity. She stepped in and just captured that market. The way she foresaw the need and went about preparing was worth it all - with all the innocence of a child but neatly mixed with the pragmatism of a businessperson.

I thought it was a brilliant piece of business management. Next year on - I am sure her market is pretty well defined.


Rajendra said...

first the paintings and now rakhis...what's next?

Harimohan said...

Raja, I am waiting and watching.