Pramod Susare from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, completed his mechanical engineering in 2015 and began working as a maintenance engineer with a multinational company in Pune.
He earned Rs 12,000 a month and struggled to meet monthly expenses. “I used to send Rs 5,000 a month to support my family and had no scope to save any money,” he recollects.
However, a business trip to China in 2017 changed his life forever. During his visit, he saw a few businesses recycling used materials, such as drums and tyres, into attractive furniture.
“I realised that the same could be replicated in India, and there could be a potential market for the same. After returning home, I started researching the same and learned that there were hardly any players in the sector,” he tells The Better India.
Today, Pramod’s startup — P2S International, sells upcycled furniture that earns him lakhs.
Of Drums & Sugarcane Carts
To research and add knowledge to his venture, Pramod says that he spent hours on YouTube learning about how drums and tyres could be made into furniture and have commercial value.
The ultimate trigger came when one day, his bike was punctured. “I was waiting at a tyre shop when I inquired about the cost of discarded tyres. It turned out to be Rs 8 per kilo. I then calculated repairs, added labour costs and put a 30 per cent profit margin on the same,” the 27-year-old says.
Feeling confident about his lucrative business idea, Pramod invested a few thousand rupees to make chairs, tables and seating items from recycled tyres. “I launched the business in September 2018 but did not receive any customers until December. It was disheartening,” he recalls.
To make his products more visible, he displayed them on roadside sugarcane juice centres and food joints. “In January 2019, I received an order from a Pune-based cafe who saw the products, which earned me Rs 50,000. Fortunately, the cafe was inaugurated by celebrities and entrepreneurs as some of them appreciated the product, and in 2019, I bagged another project in Thane that earned me Rs 5.5 lakh,” he adds.
He says the order was a turning point in his career. “My annual salary was Rs 2.5 lakh, and the new project promised me to double the amount. I quit my job soon after completing the project that year to focus entirely on the business,” he adds.
Pramod says that there has been no looking back since then, and his business has scaled up exponentially. “The business generated Rs 1 crore turnover and has enabled me to manage a team of 14 artisans and staff,” he says, adding that he receives orders from Haryana, Punjab, Bengaluru, Goa and Chennai, among others.
He says that the business continued to flourish during the COVID-19 lockdown. “I brought variations in products such as creating hand sanitiser dispensers and other items. I also fabricated hospital beds, which helped me stay afloat during these tough times,” he explains.
Learnings From The Biz
About facing challenges, Pramod says that procuring good quality raw material becomes crucial when the items are made from used materials. “I am careful about using only worn-out tyres and not the damaged ones. I am also particular about sourcing the drums. Drums from oil industries are a strict no no, as once there was an incident of a drum catching fire,” he says.
He adds that he continues to face challenges at various levels but is confident that he can overcome whatever life throws at him now. “Currently, many potential customers are seeking my products from northern and southern parts of the country. I am unable to deliver to them from my workshop as it isn’t economical. So, I plan to set up factories in respective locations to meet the existing demand,” he says.
The entrepreneur says he plans to have outlets in Mumbai and Thane by 2022.
Pramod appeals to budding entrepreneurs to dive into the business instead of earning as an employee. “I believe that becoming an entrepreneur is truly more rewarding and satisfying than employment because of the unique experiences and confidence I have gained,” he signs off.
To order your upcycled furniture, contact Pramod at 9658635777.
Edited by Yoshita Rao