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Before I started Saran Jute Bags, I worked as an administrator for a private hospital and later pursued a business development program for women entrepreneurs from the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

During my college days, I was already fond of using jute and even learned to make handcrafted bags made of jute through some friends. I remember observing ladies who were shopping, demanding for extra plastic bags for their household use. This made me think, “Why plastic bags?” Being an independent woman, I decided to do something to protect the environment.

I officially started my business in 2010. I came up with the name Saran Jute Bags as a tribute to my son, Saran. Being environmentally conscious, I primarily established the business to replace plastic bags.

I purchased four industrial sewing machines and started focusing on purchasing materials. So many hurdles cropped up in the beginning, but I did not stop. I did cutting, printing, designing, sales, and marketing and finally had my first sale in December 2010 with the support of the National Jute Board in Hyderabad. I was so eager and afraid at the beginning since this was my first sale of my own product, but I believe I was a tough competitor to my peers in terms of quality, print, colors and patterns.

Saran Jute Bags’
Entrepreneur Jaya Saritha (left) at Saran Jute Bags’ booth during an expo

In the last six years, I have exhibited my products in several expos. Through those expos, Saran Jute Bags’ products were able to reach buyers in different places across the country and even boosted my confidence in getting an export license to expand my market to a global scale.

From each and every exhibition sales profit, I expanded my business by purchasing machinery and empowered women by providing them employment.

So far, I have trained around 50 women.

In 2010, I started by employing two women, and today I have 14 women stitching and eight men working in various departments such as cutting, printing and sales, and I’m hoping to do more by further expanding the business. My first year sale for 2010-11 was $4,486, which increased to $63,560 in 2014-15.

At this stage, I feel proud and happy to share my journey, which has not been easy having had to balance my responsibilities at home and at the company. Whenever budding entrepreneurs come to my office for suggestions in starting their own businesses, I get more inspired to work harder and hope that somehow I can continue to encourage those going through the same thing and remember that life only improves with determination and great effort.

I honestly never dreamt about this kind of success though I worked for it, but it’s good to remember that success comes only to those who are confident and persistent.

About the author – Jaya Saritha

author

Jaya Saritha is the founder of Saran Jute Bags, an eco-friendly enterprise that manufactures jute bags and provides skills training and employment opportunities to women.