By Diganta Gangopadhyay
Global Links Participant,
My client’s name is Mrs. Sumitra Mondal. She has a business of ready-made garments for kids up to 14 years old. Her business is located in a very congested area, in between Shayambazar and Hatibagan in North Kolkata. She has two shops, Ratna and Shona, and one storehouse. Mrs. Mondal owns Shona and the storehouse, but rents Ratna.
Mrs. Modal started her business in 2002, over ten years ago. The shops do not have air conditioning. The business follows FIFO, or First In First Out. There is no book keeping of inventory and there is only 1 permanent worker. Mrs. Mondal’s son and husband are involved in the business. A great thing about their business if that the Shona shop that Mrs. Mondal now owns is the same shop that she used to work as a laborer.
Though this is not my own business, I still tried my best to help the Mondals improve their business. Mr. Mondal, who actually runs the business, agreed to put a computer in their shop. This will make many processes, such as maintaining their sales, much easier. Their shop is in the ‘Shree Market,’ where no shop is air conditioned. It is not easy to get permission for air conditioning, but I tried and motivated them to do so.
I gave them some ideas for the interior of the shops. They are now thinking to expand their business and make the storehouse into a men’s garment shop. There is no men’s garment shop in the market.
My client, Mrs. Mondal, was not very involved in the business, but now she is. She has improved a lot—she now knows how to decorate her shop, how to deal with customers, how to maintain the business, etc. Besides her household chores, she helps her husband in all the areas of the business. She is now a happy and independent woman, and I find motivation from her for my own life path.
My goals for the business development:
- To make the interior of the shop better, because the shop was not very attractive.
- To diversify their business, in order to earn more profit
- To make their shop air conditioned, in order to attract customers out of the heat
- To make Mrs. Mondal work in the shop on a regular basis, in order for her to develop more independence
- To convince them to use the computer to better record everything
What I achieved:
- The interior of the shop is better.
- They are planning to expand the business.
- Mondal now works more in the shop.
- They plan to start using a computer within a few months.
- Making Mrs. Mondal understand her role was important for the business
- Making them understand that their shop needed extra effort on the interior
- The hardest part was convincing them to use a computer because they are not familiar with it and they thought it would make things more complicated. I told them it was not very expensive if they bought a second hand computer.
How did being a Global Links participate change me?
-My patience increased and my marketing skills improved
-The field I work in is a practical field and I enjoy working.
-I now know many things about consumer behavior and business.
-I know how to work on a team.
-I am proud that Mrs. Mondal learned things from me and that I could make her smile.
-I now know more about how to use public transport.
-I learned from Mr. Mondal that dedication to and love for your work can change everything. He now owns the shop where he used to work as a laborer. It is a huge achievement and inspiration for me.
What have I learned?
I believe that I have learned about 40% from the Global Links, because I need and want to learn much more. When Dr. Banerjee came to our college and I began to work in the field, I learned much more than I ever imagined. I had the experience of a real business, friends, a team, amazing teachers (Dr. Banerjee, Dr. Conway, Miss Jane), and amazing supporters (Misclle, Abira di, Anushri di).
With every step, I learned things. From how to stand straight and shake someone’s hand to how to speak in front of a group, my body language, how to dress, and punctuality. Lots of things changed when I participated in the program. I would like to work more with this team.
In conclusion, I want to give my gratitude to all the teachers who supported me and helped me in doing this. My bag is full of memories and good things I learned from this program. I want to work more and learn more and help people who need me. I am very proud to be a participant of this program and to help my client in every way I possibly could. I would like to continue to help and develop the women of my country.