“Entrepreneurs are not just risk takers. They are calculated risk takers.” is the term that has been floating in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for years now. Deep diving into the phrase, the difference between ad-hoc risk takers and calculated risk takers is the distinction between failure and success. A very limited number of entrepreneurs can make their first idea work while most never stop trying out new ideas to settle for one they believe in and make it happen.
One of the risk takers from the second batch of Rockstart Impact who made their way to success is Cotton Mill, a start-up run by two sisters – Prasanna Basnet and Priyanka Basnet. Cotton Mill manufactures and sells wide range of unique, hand-printed, decorative and daily home textiles. Cotton Mill’s products are customized to meet the needs of individual as well as corporate customers such as boutique hotels and restaurants. Starting with the coffee business and then moving on to importing home textiles, and eventually manufacturing home textiles, the amount of hardships that the duo has been through makes them stand out today. With an aim of opening chains worldwide, Cotton Mill got connected to Purplefield Investments, an investment firm from Netherlands and signed their termsheet two weeks ago.
We asked Prasanna what she feels about the investment for Cotton Mill, she shared with an excitement spread across her face, ‘It was a very proud moment for us! Growth of our company was always a dream but receiving an opportunity like this never crossed our minds. When we started the program with Rockstart Impact, we were apprehensive about the unknown, which I guess is natural. However, during the course of the program we could see our confidence rising towards our business. After meeting the investor, all of the worries vanished and we were keen on signing the deal as soon as possible. If you ask me how I felt while signing the deal, I can just feel the rush in my heart but strangely, I can’t put that into words.’
Now that the investment deal has been signed, Cotton Mill got a chance to bring all their thoughts and plans for the future of their company into reality. The milestone that they are focusing on as of now is growth. Prasanna objectifies, ‘Growth might seem vague- to streamline it, we plan on having a better production facility, multiply the number of stores, create a better visibility for the store and creating an eco-friendly and staff-friendly space where people would not just come to work but to exhibit the passion they have.’
The main idea behind Rockstart Impact was to help ambitious entrepreneurs scale up their businesses and Cotton Mill’s idea of scaling is multiplying the number of the stores by 6 so that people can find them at an arms length. When asked about the 5 year plan for Cotton Mill, Prasanna responds, ‘We plan on becoming a household brand for home textile in Nepal. Our main goal has always been for the Nepali from and by Nepal.’
‘Rockstart Impact has helped us to reshape our business model. In spite of running a successful business since 2011, we were confident about our product but after being in the program, we are aware about the numbers as well which was not taken care for before. The program made us realize that what we thought was a small business had a big potential which was a great wake up call. Rockstart Impact is like going to school, the practical knowledge that we had from the past merged with the theoretical details that we are now learning. This is helping us reshape our current business module and work on our future’ shares Prasanna.