Prerna Verma

Winning Awards and Winning At Life

Prerna Verma was independent even when she was a young girl. This only carried forth into adulthood, when she decided she could achieve financial independence as well. Creative India, her award-winning organisation, is a result of that.

I am Prerna Verma, owner of Creative India, which specialises in making leather cords along with cotton cords, leather bags and more.

I'm from Kanpur, born to a middle class family. I lost my father at an early age, which means my mother single-handedly brought me up along with my younger brother. And she did so rather bravely!

After completing my Intermediate education, I started working as an importer because of the financial situation my family was facing. During my service, I gained some knowledge about the working environment and system. It was tough, and challenging at times. But I turned the obstacles I faced into opportunities. Eventually, I reached a crossroads in my life - a turning point. I quit my job as an importer, and almost simultaneously got my first client for the business I run today!

So, in 2004, I set up my business just for Rs. 3000, which was all I had at that time, in my home. And with that, I started making leather cords and other products. But it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be...

I experienced both the good and the bad by clients and suppliers related to the trade. But it were the craftsmen who took me lightly, perceiving me as a lady who doesn't know much about the business. It was also quite hard to bargain for prices in the raw leather market, especially since it is filled with spurious products laid out as bait for newcomers. I used to have to go through vast considerations to buy the correct material.

The initial shocks eventually turned into experience and lessons for me. And finally, in the year 2005-2006, I had established my presence. I then went on to rent my own premises and commissioned a unit for making leather cords and other items. I had my own machines and dyeing plants.

Initially, I was selling my products through the exporters in New Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Agra, Kolkata and Punjab. But my dreams were bigger. And so, I decided to export my products myself and even built a website to start marketing the business.

I got my first client in 2007 and now, I can proudly say my leather bags, craft items and leather cords are exported to more than 25 countries. There were hundreds of leather merchants who laughed at me all though my struggle to success. But they all have great respect for me now. In fact, I am thankful to these naysayers and their negative comments, as they played a vital role in spurring me on. In some way, they have helped me achieve my goals.

In 2010, I got awarded for an Outstanding Performance in delivering Product Quality Excellence by the Government. I have also been honoured as a Woman Entrepreneur by Uttar Pradeshiya Mahila Munch, Meerut.

2015 had a bigger achievement - My organisation was awarded for Outstanding National Export Performance for the year 2012-13. This was on the basis of our exports in handicrafts and leather. The award was given by Mr. Santosh Gangawar, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Textile on behalf of EPCH, Government of India. We were blessed again with the same award for the year 2013-2014, proving that our company wasn't a one hit wonder.

But the stream of awards didn't end there. In 2016, I was awarded the National Productivity & Innovation Award 2015 - Second Prize in Leather category by Mr. Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister, MSME on behalf of the National Productivity council.

All in all, I would say that there are a lot of things I have to do in my life. And I will keep on working with full dedication.

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