Bhubaneswar: Anita Mohanty, Director of ‘Guptaganga Agarbati’ in a conversation talked about her experience of establishing a spot for her company in the incense sticks market and challenges she faced as a female entrepreneur.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
As a woman, why did you want to set up an agribusiness?
Women worship in every home. I also do regular worship. Considering that, I knew it was possible to set up an incense business and that’s how Guptaganga Agrabati started in 2014.
What was the problem in the beginning?
We started in a small house and made the incense sticks for another company. But after some marketing experience, we entered the market as Guptaganga Agarbati which has now emerged as a major brand across the state.
What are the main barriers to entrepreneurship?
Marketing is a major problem in the agribusiness industry. If you can’t do the marketing right, you are at loss. New companies generally don’t get a good response in the market and suffer losses within a few days.
How is the Agarbati market in Odisha?
As you may recall, earlier people lit wicks in their houses every evening as per traditions. Those wicks were made from clean white clothes, normally dhotis. Things gradually changed from then. People grew financially and incense sticks replaced wicks in every household. Now, Odisha stands as the best Agarbati maker.
Which Agarbati company do you consider your main competitor?
I have no rivals. I am my own rival. Every year, I focus on how to enhance the smell and quality of my incense sticks.
As a female entrepreneur, do you have to face challenges from rival companies at different times?
I do. Many established companies in the Agarbati market don’t encourage a woman entrepreneur for a competitor. To put our company in trouble, they often sell their products to wholesalers at a low price. That becomes difficult for our business in the market.
What is your next goal?
The goal is to make Guptaganga Agarbati the number one brand in India.
Are there any specific plans to help other women turn self-sufficient?
Yes, there is. Rural women in particular are being trained in the field. They are being trained to make the incense sticks and purchase them at market price themselves whenever need be.