At 15 She Left Her Home And Slept On a Railway Platform. Today She Runs a Business With a Revenue of INR 35 Crore

If you look at the glamorous photos of Chinu Kala, founder of jewellery brand Rubans Accessories, on her Instagram feed, one could never guess that she has slept on a railway platform after leaving her house as a teenager. At the age of 15 years, the stubborn girl had a fight with her parents and decided to leave the shelter of her home armed with only a pair of slippers, one salwar suit and INR 300.

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If you look at the glamorous photos of Chinu Kala, founder of jewellery brand Rubans Accessories, on her Instagram feed, one could never guess that she has slept on a railway platform after leaving her house as a teenager. At the age of 15 years, the stubborn girl had a fight with her parents and decided to leave the shelter of her home armed with only a pair of slippers, one salwar suit and INR 300.

Chinu Kala
Chinu Kala

In order to survive she started working as a door-to-door sales person selling knives and coaster sets and shifted into a dormitory. "I would knock on over a 100 doors every day, and the success rate was about 2 per cent, which meant I would earn about INR 20 on that particular day. There were days when I would survive on vada pao or just a milk packet, having one meal a day," Kala tells us. The odd jobs she dabbled in to put food on her table ranged from being a waitress to a telemarketing executive. Her first venture, Fonte Corporate which dealt in corporate merchandising was formed in 2008, and had clients like ESPN, Airtel and Sony. However, the idea for starting a jewellery mind began to form in her mind in 2007, when she participated in the Gladrags Mrs. India beauty pageant and made it to the top 10 finalists. Kala, who was married in 2004, was suggested by her friends to take part in the competition. While competing, she realized how a piece of jewellery could change the overall look of a person. As this thought continued to germinate within her, it was eventually in 2014 that she started her fashion jewellery brand Rubans with her life's savings of INR 3,00,000. As Kala told us, Rubans means ribbons in French, and signifies colours and elegance.

The first generation entrepreneur wanted to honour Indian artisans and make jewellery affordable and accessible to all. The brand, which has over 2000-plus designs, has been meticulously curated by artisans from all over India. Over the last seven years, Rubans has gone from being at a kiosk at Phoenix Mall in Bangalore to carving an impressive space for itself in the virtual market space. From 2015-2017, Rubans opened stores in Hyderabad, Kochi and Bangalore and it was in 2017 when it transitioned into the online medium. "When I started off the company, there were no brands for jewellery in India. Women would either be travelling to Bangkok or Mumbai or Delhi to purchase jewellery," explains Kala.

To the entrepreneur, socialite, model and businesswoman, the occasion of Women's Day signifies a celebration - that one day when woman are celebrated. With an incredible story like hers, it would be interesting to see what other ventures Kala becomes a part of in the years to come. Like she says, "there is no substitute for burning the midnight oil and hard work," a mantra she has applied over the last 24 years of her professional career.