Some stories are so inspiring that they give hope to many others to beat their life struggles. And, one such story is of inspiring Elavarasi Jayakanth.
How after losing everything in 2011, she restarted her business with an investment of merely ₹100 to earning ₹5 lakh per month. In 2019, when she won the International Peace Council UAE Award for being the ‘Best Entrepreneur’, many came to know about the life struggle of this brave soul.
The Childhood Dream
In her interview with The Better India, she shared how she grew up watching her parents and grandparents making sweets and snacks to earn their livelihood. And, from a very young age, she started helping them to sell these products in their village.
When she got married, even then she continued making sweets and snacks at home and distributed them to nearby stores and other homes. While sharing the details of her entrepreneurial journey, she mentioned:
“I had always wanted to be a businesswoman. I discussed the idea of opening a supermarket here in Thrissur with my husband and children, wherein different snacks and chips would be sold. We combined our savings and took a loan of Rs 50 lakh from banks and neighboring loan sharks to open the mart in 2010.
Day by day, I saw our sales and the number of happy customers increase. I had also provided employment to around 50 people. According to customer requirements, I introduced a variety of products,”
From halwa to cakes to chips to vegetables, she builds a great product range in her shop. But, then everything changed in 2011 when she was robbed in her shop. This robbery changed her life as she lost all the money. Losing her dream venture pushed her into trauma for which she remained admitted in hospitals for months.
While sharing the details, she mentioned:
“When my dream venture collapsed, I was both mentally and physically disturbed. The shock and trauma of the robbery resulted in me being in the hospital for months, and no medicines were effective. Over time, I came to the slow realization that I couldn’t afford to carry on living in fear. This was not just for the sake of my own family, but also for those who were dependent on me and my venture. I’d borrowed money from people, who would also be at a loss if I did nothing to pull myself out of this situation,”
She further shared how bank authorities hound her every day demanding her to repay the loan. Even her family was continuously harassed by neighboring loan sharks. But she refused to give in to fear. In 2012, she restarted the business with a new name – Aswathi Hot Chips, near Thrissur railway station. While sharing the details of her new start-up, she mentioned:
“My family’s talent of making delicious snacks was passed on to me, so I decided to give my food venture another try. It was difficult to invest money in a new business, so I began my new venture with less than Rs 100,”
Within few days, her hot chips, and vadas, became very popular among train travelers. And, then people from different parts of the state started visiting her stall to try her snacks. Soon, in front of her shop, people started waiting in long queues.
Within no time, Elavarasi income started increasing and she slowly began repaying her debts and loans. She eventually opened four more stores across Thrissur, which sells almost 60 products, including sweets, snacks, cakes, and pickles etc.
While sharing the lessons, she learned during her setback, she mentioned:
“I have learned several lessons from my setbacks. One should understand that whoever is trying to bring you down, is already below you. Who you are, and how you live your life, must be decided by you alone. I wanted to grow, so I motivated myself, and worked hard. Today, I earn more than Rs 5 lakh per month from selling my products,”
Elavarasi won the International Peace Council UAE Award in 2019 for being the ‘Best Entrepreneur’.
Elavarasi shares how she feels content when her story inspires people, who have lost their businesses or those who are facing career setbacks:
“In a few instances, people have come to me and said they read my story and feel motivated to restart their own businesses, and I feel proud that I was able to make a difference in someone else’s life,”
At IFORHER, we are so proud of Elavarasi. How she fought her extreme circumstances and refused to give up on her dreams shows why she is a real hero, many of us need! We hope her inspiring story will encourage many to fight their life struggle and turn their dreams into reality!