Journey Of The Brand
After my FY-B.Com result, in which I had one backlog and had barely cleared other subjects, my parents were obviously not over the moon but they are the cool kind so it was not a problem. One day, police came to arrest me for apparently having friends who turned out to be criminals of sorts. But this time parents lost their cool and packed my bags along with me and sent me to London for further education.
In Feb 2002 a 19-year lad lands in the city of the queen with a lot of dreams. I joined college and found a part-time job for self-sustenance as my family was struggling to finance my education. This time I was determined that this time I will not let them down. Things were very difficult as most of my day was spent at college and hence there was hardly any time left to work but no work or less work meant no food and no house. However my strength lies in the fact that something my parents taught me. “When the going gets tough u get tougher” I felt challenged and I wanted to fight and win over it. Win, for not just myself but my parents back in India.
I did odd jobs like working at a construction site and even cleaning toilets at a restaurant. This might sound melodramatic but it’s true that there was a time I did not eat for 48 hrs at a stretch as I did not have money. Eventually it came to a point that I left my studies and started working full time. But right from young age I dreamt to be a successful man. I started putting up stalls in a Sunday market but every time it would be a new product since the last one did not sell well. I soon realized that the Indian market in London was completely saturated so trying to sell Indian goods was a waste of time I ended up importing Chinese snacks food from China, This worked as if I had mined gold. I sold all my goods within a month and doubled my income.
By this time I completed 4 years in London and I felt very lonely as I missed my family and friends. Above all, I missed my India. I had always criticized but after being away I realized that India is the best. I decided to listen to my heart and come back. I was confident that if I can do well in a foreign land then I can do well in my own country. Having moved to India and after a few flop business ventures I got offered to take over Cad B (now Café Chokolade) which had only 4 outlets at that time and was making huge losses. Since it was a loss-making company it was offered to me at a reasonable price, but it was enough to take away all my UK savings. I was in a huge dilemma as it was a huge risk to take because even though I had the money to buy the company but did not have the money to pay for the monthly losses which at that point were 5 Lakhs a month and I knew that if it doesn’t click I could be heading towards cleaning the toilets again. All my family & friends were dead against it but I knew to make it big I had to take big risks and as usual I did what I believed in and bought Cad B.
In the first month I brought down the loss from 5 lakhs to 1 Lakh. It was very difficult in the beginning and there were many bad days and several sleepless nights. At times I would issue cheques worth lakhs when there was zero balance in my bank but somehow arranged the money before the cheque would come for clearing. At times it felt more like war than business and during this war I even lost some close friends but have been lucky to find friends like Romi, Moiz and Shamika, without them this would not have been possible. Also, thanks to Mr. Vinay Dias who was the first one to introduce me to Cad B, (I would not be thanking him if things had not worked out.) There are 2 principles that have always kept my company afloat - Quality products and Customer Care, Currently we are in 33 different cities in India. We always see American brands like Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Starbucks and so on but I have dreamt of an Indian Brand that will make its name globally. Hopefully with all your support my dream will come true.
- Ameet Pahilani
(Not even a graduate, If I can fulfil my dreams so can u)