US$419.00raised of $10,000.00 goal
My plea: Requesting you to donate at least 1 dollar. I am hoping to reach 10,000 people, enough to hopefully raise USD 10,000
I started my business in the year 2014. It was a franchise of a popular salon chain in India. The salon was in one of Bangalore city's up and coming residential areas. In retrospect, I think I started the business at least a year earlier than I should have. Residential complexes that were planned to be complete in a year's time, were all getting delayed beyond 2 years. That said, once these complexes were completed and people started moving in to the locality, business starting booming. We were averaging about Rs 700,000/- a month (a little over 9000 USD), even topping sales at over Rs 1,200,000/- monthly (about 16,000 USD). From starting with a staff strength of 8 hair stylists and beauticians, the salon had grown to 18 staff members. I'd say we had started to do pretty well for ourselves.
Business stayed this way for about 2 years. The locality was booming so much, that even a second franchise of the same brand opened up less than 3 kms (a little less than 2 miles) from our location. And both places were doing well, able to service enough of the locality's population with a scope to do a lot more. But along with increasing real estate development came delayed town planning, which unfortunately was something we did not anticipate. Plans of a flyover 500 mts from our location suddenly came up, which cut off about 30% of our customer base from even passing by our location. They were now forced to take a back route (longer route) to exit or enter their locality. A couple of months after the flyover work started, local bodies began digging the road right outside the salon. It started with a small ditch of about 6ftx6ft, and eventually grew to blocking one side of the road completely, including the access to our building. This road work ran almost a year, and was finally completed in the month of early Dec 2019.
Sales had now dropped from the 700K levels and we were staying afloat at 350-450K levels. Some months I even had to pump in more money, borrowed from banks and friends to keep the business afloat. All with the hope that the road work will one day stop, and we will get back to our regular business levels, if not more. What was disheartening through this duration was that I had to let some of my staff go. We had to have difficult conversations of pushing salaries beyond the first ten days of the month to after mid of the month. Had to walk the fine line of making purchases across multiple vendors hoping that the varying credit lines of the vendors will sail us through across months. However, sales in that December month showed an uptick, and I thought, "we're back on track."
Fate has a cruel way of proving you wrong I guess. Because 3 months later, we had our first COVID lockdown. No warning, no time for preparation, nothing. Just lockdown. Considering the industry that we operate in, physical contact is inevitable. So when the lockdown relaxed for salons in June 2020, the damage was already done, and clients were hesitant to come by the salon for months after. Unfortunately I didn't immediately see it. I think I took the decision to shut shop too late. Like any person that is personally involved with their business day in day out, it was difficult for me to see that maybe it was the end. That decision is not an easy pill to swallow. Being objective when something is so personal to you, something that defined my being, my independence, my self reliance; I still find it difficult to fathom.
Anyway, I digress...
So COVID hit, we weathered through the first lockdown, and opened up. A lot of the staff had left for their home towns before the lockdown, so we were working with minimal staffing. The result was disastrous. We were doing between 70-80K per month. I had in the meantime taken up another job to keep personal finances going. Also hoping that maybe the salary will provide for possible deficits in business and take care of loan EMIs for the business.
Needless to say, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. With each passing month, it got ever so difficult to keep the business running. Salaries were a stretch, rents were getting delayed, loan EMIs were getting delayed. Effectively the difficult decision to shut shop had to be taken. I set out to put the business on sale for an extremely low amount to cut whatever losses I was already facing. And kept a date of Dec 2020 as the last month to keep the business open. Unfortunately, a buyer came round only by March 2021, after extensive negotiations and bargaining. I finally closed out on a sale number much lower than I anticipated.
Unfortunately now, I have the banks at my doorstep threatening legal action for immediate settlement of dues. And after all consideration, even if I may believe in putting up a fight, the reality post the second lockdown is that I have no scope of surviving any legal battle. There is no money nor means to attend to cases they would file across the geography of India. And in a time of crisis, there seems no respite from any quarter. And especially no respite from a system that promotes the need to avail funding, but allows for little scope to service it to your best capability.
I remember the day my salon interiors were completed, and I was a week away from starting operations. I was at site through the day supervising last minute interiors and installations till about 3AM in the morning. When all the work was done, and the workers left, I remember sitting till late night, in the middle of my new salon alone, feeling proud for creating something, for starting something. There was so much hope then, so much potential. Today it feels like only cynicism and despair.
I am therefore here, of what can only be described as begging for help from you. Begging that you may empathize with my plight and donate to give me a second lease at life. I used to think that I am intelligent, innovative and hardworking. Despite my optimistic disposition, I do not think that any more. I feel depressed, aloof, distant and most days defeated. There are days I have difficulty getting out of bed because it feels a tad much.
That said, I want to be able to do something with my life. I want to have the power to be able to help another human being. I used to believe that the most charitable thing I could do was to give employment to someone. To provide and better their livelihood. My own betterment was supposed to be an automatic result of that. Today I am not sure anymore....
I can be reached at this email ID, [email protected] for any more details you may need. I will connect directly with each one of you if you need more details on chat, voice or video call.
Here's hoping to some humanity. Thank you
First WithdrawalUpdate posted by Joerique Kith Abishai at 09:00 am
I have some really good friendsUpdate posted by Joerique Kith Abishai at 10:42 am
Just wanted to update here that I have some really good friends. Feel so loved and grateful by some of the responses. Raised 350$ in a weeks time. Here's hoping to closing out my target. A big shoutout to all who donated! You've kept my hopes up. Thank you!