It’s not as if writing food blogs or new recipes was tedious. It’s just that Sanjukta was looking for more in terms of challenges. She had always wanted to start a business of her own – one that would not just set her on the path of entrepreneurship, but also make spending time with her little ones much easier. It was during this phase that she heard about Amazon India looking for Service Partners to enable last mile delivery in Assam. Latching onto this opportunity, she set up her first delivery station in a 100 sq. ft. house in Guwahati in 2015, with a 5-member team, delivering around 100- 120 packages a day.
Growing in spite of difficulties
However, doing a business didn’t come easy to Sanjukta. Being a first-generation entrepreneur from an Army family she had no one to turn to for business advice. The region where she operated from was her biggest test, which later became the very hallmark of her achievement. With severe weather conditions at times and other challenges unique to the North East, establishing a delivery services team that provides a consistent delivery service to her customers was Sanjukta’s greatest challenge. A challenge she took head on which has made her an inspiration to other partners in the North East.
“I am very lucky to work with a company that just let me be, allowed me to make mistakes, learn and grow while it stood behind me as a constant support system,” she says talking about her partnership with Amazon India. A team from Kolkata came down to help her set up her first station and hand-held her through the entire process, providing her a platform to deliver great results which enabled her to further expand her business rapidly.
She received a great deal of encouragement and support not only from her husband but also from the community which motivated her to push her boundaries quite literally! Today, her company Etash Enterprises has grown by leaps and bounds. She has set up 5 delivery stations in cities spread across 4 States in the East - Guwahati, Imphal, Itanagar, Kalchini and Tezpur and is in the process of opening the 6th in a small satellite town called Baihata Kapali. Her 30X growth in volume and expansion in reach to 20 pin codes has given her an opportunity to employ more than 150 associates from the villages around her stations.
Impacting the community
Sanjukta hires and trains local youth looking for a respectable job. Being able to deliver and be associated in their own way with Amazon is a matter of pride for them and also gives them the opportunity to find meaningful jobs in their hometown without having to move away to a city. Mantu Kalita, a delivery associate says, “Compared to the work I did before, I really like the work I do delivering for Amazon, and my family is also happy that I work for a big company.” This has motivated her employees and most of them have stayed with her since inception and have now become like family and know the business inside out.
Door step delivery services being available in these regions has been a great boon to customers in the East. Come summer or monsoon customers are now able to sit in the comfort of their homes and order whatever they need online, enjoying the same selection and deals as their friends and family in large metros. This also gives customers in remote towns access to many products which otherwise aren’t available in their local markets. Sanjukta predicts that these are early days and that there is tremendous potential to reach more consumers in the North East and is constantly looking to expand the reach of her delivery services. The highest satisfaction she gets is in seeing a happy customer.
“I want to see more & more women in this field. Logistics is generally not perceived as a field for women, but we are perfect for this with our ability to multitask. There is nothing you can’t achieve with hard work and persistence,” says Sanjukta encouraging more women to explore the idea of joining this industry that has transformed her life.