Namit Bajoria introduced Kutchina chimneys in the year 2002. The company now offers a variety of kitchen and home appliances and clocks a Rs 300 crore turnover.
Namit Bajoria, 49, the creator of Kutchina, a Rs 300 crore turnover home and kitchen appliances firm based in Kolkata, was a youngster when he decided not to work or join his father’s business.
His father, Bimal Kumar Bajoria, had a small-scale sodium dichromate plant in Ranchi, with a branch in Kolkata. Namit, on the other hand, had little interest in the business and was resolved to be self-sufficient from an early age. He began working part-time jobs after finishing Class 10, and at the age of 22, he created his first firm after graduating in 1995.
“I borrowed Rs 1.30 lakh from my father and opened a fax machine and digital phone dealership,” Namit explains.
At the age of 29, he eventually created Kutchina, a kitchen chimney brand, which has now developed into a composite kitchen and home appliances brand over the subsequent two decades. While Kutchina is still known for its chimneys, it now also sells modular kitchens, microwaves, dishwashers, induction cookers, hand blenders, and toasters.
Kutchina began with chimneys and has now expanded to include microwaves, dishwashers, induction cookers, and a variety of other home and kitchen appliances. Namit graduated from St Paul’s School in Kolkata in 1990 and began working in an office, where he went out to collect payments and deposit cheques at banks.
He then enrolled at St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata to pursue his bachelor’s degree in business (B Com). He went to a walk-in interview for a sales job during his first year.
The company needed salesmen to sell office equipment such as EPABXs, fax machines, and cordless phones. Namit was engaged as a sales representative with a monthly salary of Rs 1,200.
“I went to residential and commercial complexes to promote the products,” Namit recalls, nostalgically reliving the time when he refined his sales and marketing talents.
As a result, by the time he graduated, he was ready to start his own firm. He established the office appliance dealership in 1995.
The company was performing well, but Namit was eager to grow and became a dealer for a cosmetics brand that sold talcum powder, nail paint, and other items.
He did, however, lose all of his money since he sold on credit and the distributors and retailers did not pay on time.
He quickly ran out of funds. “I became bankrupt during the 1998 holiday season.”
I had lost everything in the market. Namit’s initial business collapsed, but he quickly found work as a distributor for a chimney brand and recovered his fortunes.
“I invested the Rs 30,000 I had with me and bought a few chimneys on a half-cash, half-credit basis and launched my business,” Namit laughs.
The profit margin in the business was substantial, and he made a lot of money between 1998 and 2002. He rose to become one of the country’s leading chimney distributors, and his repressed dreams awoke. “I figured if I could sell someone else’s brand, why not sell my own?” In 2002, Namit spent roughly Rs 20 lakh to import a container load of German chimneys and sell them under the Kutchina brand.
He did, however, have difficulties in developing his brand in a market dominated by MNCs. Kutchina was Kolkata’s own brand, but no one wanted to preserve it.
Namit staged a number of shows in order to directly demonstrate his items to buyers. He was able to rapidly establish his footing in the market because he had worked in the business of sales and marketing since his college days. He realised that the vast majority of chimneys sold in India were imported from European countries.
He discovered that their suction was inadequate, necessitating the cleaning of the filter every 15 days. Unlike in Europe, food in India is cooked with oil, ghee, or butter, and the fatty residue in the smoke clogged the filters. To combat this, Namit created chimneys equipped with self-cleaning machinery.
“I informed consumers that if they were satisfied, they could pay 15 days after we installed the chimney, or we would take it back. It sunk in, “according to Namit.
The company went through many ups and downs, but he stuck with it and it grew.
In the first fiscal year 2002-03, he earned about Rs 1 crore in revenue. Over the years, he increased his product line, and his business grew.
In 2011-12, the company’s revenue reached Rs 100 crore, and five years later, it reached Rs 200 crore. While running his own firm after college, Namit earned PG certificates in import – export and sales and marketing.
In 2013, he also enrolled in a three-year management development programme at Harvard, which he completed by attending classes for one month each year. Today, Kutchina Homemakers Private Limited sells a variety of kitchen products, but the chimney remains their best-selling item, accounting for over 60% of their sales.
The brand is distributed and sold through a nationwide network of distributors and dealers. Their products are available through ecommerce portals as well as retail shops.
They have 16 showrooms in Kolkata alone, with an additional 70 around the country.