& then, I started a gift store.

I have always had an entrepreneurial dream since I was fourteen.
But, I got the chance when I was sixteen to start a gift store in Jamnagar, my hometown.

At sixteen, I asked my father about my ambition to start a gift store in my hometown, Jamnagar.

We, as a family, sat together and checked the pros and cons of starting a business.

Although we constructed commercial premises in the 1990s, we decided to utilize shops in 1996. Most of our shops are rented out at old rents and can’t be vacated because of old Indian rules. But, we built two new shops when constructed new premises in the 90s.

I wrote several letters to big companies like ‘Pierre Cardin’ for their clothing venture. I received a reply from them, and they invited me to meet at their office in Mumbai. I wanted to keep track of my initial days of entrepreneurship, but, sadly, I lost that communication while shifting my house earlier.

I went to Mumbai at that time and met the director of ‘Pierre Cardin’s Indian operations in his office. It was a positive meeting, but after evaluating the investments and returns, I scrapped the plan to open a ‘Pierre Cardin’ clothing store in Jamnagar.

Today, when I look back, I am happy about my decision.

I received a positive reply from ‘Archie’s company, a pioneer in the gifting business in India.

But, starting one’s brand could be anyone’s dream.

So, I followed my dream to start a gift store without franchising.

I started to look around for the perfect name, and then the “Briony” name came up from somewhere, but I don’t remember where now.

All in my family agreed on the name “Briony,” & we decided to start a gift store. We decided to start on the auspicious day of my father and mother’s marriage anniversary, which comes on the 26th of January every year. Luckily, the 26th of January is an “Indian Republic Day.”

My father told me the public holiday is a great day to start our store because all our friends and family members will be free to attend our store opening ceremony. We arranged a grand opening ceremony on the opening day of our gift store, “Briony Gifts.”

We invited all our friends and family members from across the states. Most of my relatives stayed in Gujarat state at that time. It was a grand celebration with most of my family members present on that day.

We started the gift store on 26th January 1996.

At Briony Gifts

At Briony Gifts

Our store furniture was designed by carpenters and not by any interior designer. However, after a few years of starting our gift store, my brother has become an interior designer. We both used to run a business together as we had two shops to take care of & enjoyed every moment of it.

We initially started with a few products to test the market and started very slowly. Our sales were negligible compared with many other stores in the city, but we kept running our business with an optimistic view of the future.

After almost two years of stagnant growth, our fortune turned on our side. I decided to increase the greetings and music CDs stock as I saw potential in those stocks. Soon, our sales zoomed past any other store in the city and topped the business chart for two years.

I became a youth business icon & talk of the town businessman, but it lasted only two years. My sales came down during the crisis, and I never recovered to the previous sales level again.

I kept managing the business at a low sales level for a few years before I started keeping many other products to increase sales.

By that time, I got married, but I wasn’t earning well enough to support my family.

I tried to increase sales by hook or crook but without much luck favoring me. As I didn’t have any other resources to increase my earnings, I kept running the business with decreasing sales.

I decided to take a break from my business in 2010, and I moved to Gandhinagar with a job letter in my hand. I joined as an online chat representative in one BPO company, and I learned a lot about sales skills.

I moved back to my hometown and joined my family business again in 2011.

I started keeping an excellent variety of gifts and souvenirs. Because of one year’s break, I could think with a fresh perspective. My business again began to move forward.

Briony Gifts image1

Briony Gifts image1

In 2014, I decided to start an online store. I needed funding to start an online store, so I approached a bank where I was doing regular transactions. I took a loan of 7.5 lacs Indian Rupees to start an online store. All went well initially; I was getting good reviews about an online store. But, to make it successful, I needed to keep massive stock with new designs every now & then.

Briony Gifts Image2

Briony Gifts Image2

I could manage stock in retail but not in an online store because it required more investment. I didn’t want to increase debt or choose to get investment from venture capitalists. So, I suffered a setback of not succeeding as desired in the online marketing business.

I couldn’t pay the bank’s installments in time, and I had to pay an extra premium for delayed payments. I had to cut back on expenses, and I decided to clear debts as soon as possible to live and do business with ease of mind. I removed all the debts last year, and I could see the results in my business as I could concentrate without stress on business again.

Briony Gifts Image3

Briony Gifts Image3

I had suffered because of Corona Virus Pandemic also. The last three years were burnout on my business because of drastic lockdowns now and then.

It’s 2022, and I feel relieved because of zero debt on me and my business.

I learned a lesson to keep myself debt-free and grow as a person.

Which financial lesson did you learn & how did you manage to overcome it?

Let me know in the comments.

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