From the time I recollect during my school days, I always wanted to be an Engineer. I didn’t even know then what Engineering meant, or for that matter what the various streams were, but “Banna hai to Banna Hai”. Thankfully somewhere during my Engineering, maturity and focus finally set in and I started pursuing what Corporate lingo terms as “Career goals”. By then I had realised that I was not cut out to be an Engineer and was just going through the motions. My basic nature and personality was well suited for marketing, so I decided that consumer marketing field is where I belonged. On finishing my Polymer Engineering, from MIT, Pune, I got selected as a Technical Sales officer in Asian Paints India Ltd, in their Industrial Paints division. My aim was to try to move to their Domestic Paints division. After working there for 3 years, I realized that the career shift would be difficult without a formal Education in Management. So I left my well paying job in a Blue Chip Company to pursue my MBA, which I did from University Department of Management Sciences, Pune. For value addition, I also did a 1 year Diploma in International Business(DIB), from Symbiosis Institute of Foreign Trade and 2 certificate courses in French from Alliance Francaise. I then joined Ashima Ltd, a Ahmedabad based textile group, as Area Manager, Mumbai. I was responsible for launching their Ready to Stitch wear and Readymade garment brands in Mumbai. My job profile included Brand Management, Distribution Retailer Network setting up, Channel management, Promotion, Advertising, etc. My career dream was realised, and I felt I was moving along my destined path. But we never know what destiny has in store for us. After retirement, Dad had started Crescent in 1994. It took some 4 years to commence production but by 1999, we were on the verge of being Shut down. Our family prestige was at stake, and dad’s health was suffering due to the stress. So I decided to shift to Goa, and help him sort out the mess.
The State Investment Subsidy(25% of the total project cost), promised by the Government for setting up our unit in backward area location, was delayed by 8 long years, as a result the cost of the project substantially exceeded the budgeted project costs, which in turn delayed the commissioning of the factory. We could finally commence commercial production only in February 1998. This gestation period of 4 years proved too costly for the company as the entire market scenario changed between the conception and implementation of the project. Liberalisation of economy made imports readily available at competitive prices. All our Raw Materials were from outside Goa and there was hardly any market for our Fragrance Ingredients in Goa, so our freight costs were too high. Power and other infrastructure at Cuncolim were downright pathetic. To add to our woes, there were no proper systems in place in the company and there was also an acute shortage in Goa, of qualified technical personnel for our trade. Our loans were contracted at an exorbitant interest,19.42% to be precise, which due to penal interest costs were working out at a ridiculous 26% on Principal. By 1999, the factory was on the verge of being taken over by our financers Economic Development Corporation(EDC) Limited, as we had completely defaulted on our Principal instalments and interest payments.
Fate brought me to Goa, made me an entrepreneur and dumped General Management and Industrial marketing in my lap. But I never let go of my focus of being in the Consumer Marketing field. When I entered this line, I was genuinely surprised that there was no Goan Company manufacturing its own Brand of Fragrance products. More than a century ago, Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favours the prepared mind.” I strongly believe that sudden flashes of insight or inspiration don’t just happen – they are the products of meticulous preparation. Preparation, therefore, is the key to a successful and fulfilling career and life. I realised that we were into manufacturing of Fragrance Ingredients and knew that if I was able to turnaround my sick company, it would only be a matter of time before I get my “CHANCE” to get into forward integration and launch my own brand of Fragrance products. It is probably God’s will and my destiny, that I turned out to be an “Accidental Perfumer” and 20 years after the thought occurred to me, SUSEGAD – THE FRAGRANCE OF GOA, still had the proud privilege of being the first Fragrance Brand to be launched in Goa.
So if things don’t go as planned in your life, just keep on smelling our fragrance products to be “SUSEGAD” and continue to move towards your goals. Believe me, the net result will always be much better than the one you ever imagined. “ SO KEEP SMELLING, KEEP SMILING “