My story for you with Vasunraz : The man behind Manipur Creations

The Global Shapers Community - Imphal Hub *

"The grit within was the strongest thread to have led me thus far"

"Standing under the burning sun in an unknown territory of Tirupur (Tamil Nadu) in the summer of 1999, with the love of my life by my side to start a new life with just Rs. 1400 in my pocket, to live the dream which I am living today ", Mr. Vasunraz Koijam along with wife Sanjita Lisham Koijam, in their candid interaction with the Global Shapers Community Imphal Hub narrated the story of how started to make them what they are today.

Influenced strongly by the then Headmaster, Father Sebastian at Don Bosco School, Chingmeirong, who with bullets in his stomach, is known to have chased away his attacker, the spirit to never give up was learnt early in life. After giving his HSLCE, young Vasunraz landed up in Bangalore with his father (Koijam Ibochouba) in search of Father Sebastian, who led him to one of the most prestigious institute, St. Joseph School, Bangalore.

Having come from a family of Government officials and academicians, he was expected to follow suit without any questions. Considered a spoilt kid for his refusal to pursue medical career, Young Vasunraz, still with a very blurry goal even after graduating in micro biology and further admission to do LLB, was still not able to strike the right cord of what he wanted to do. During one of his leisure activity at the snooker club, he spotted a friend who often came with the best of shirts. "You'll get enough shirts for a year with only 100 bucks at Tirupur", was all that the friend said.

One fine day in June, 1999, with only 500 bucks in pocket, Vasunraz and friend Paojel Chaoba landed up at Tirupur, a city they assumed to be in Andhra Pradesh. Narrating his first journey he quoted, "Landing up at Tirupur, i knew I hit the jackpot. I told my buddy "we are a millionaire now". Having relaxed for a while, returned back the same night without buying a single piece of clothes. The niche created in my heart about this place continues to haunt me with endless dreams.

Back at Bangalore he finds himself knocking at the door of his lover Sanjita for initial funding. Sanjita took the challenge of collecting gold chains from her hostel mates, which he pawned it for 20,000 to the broker. In a span of 3 days after coming back from Tirupur, these two friends had paid off the mortgage, set up their own shop (called Sky-High) and the profit sky rocketed and had started seeing stars with this business. Business flourished for the next two months until news travelled home about his venture which was presumed to be an insult for the family giving up education and doing business. Forced and dragged back home leaving behind the entire set up thus seeing the sky collapsed before him.

His heart would not settle for nothing. He decided to do nothing until those disapproving nods from relatives become irrelevant and at the news of his love dropping out of college only to follow him, he decided, "Now or never to let his dreams be buried forever or build upon' and thus exactly at 9 AM on the fateful morning of 09-09-1999, 24 years old Vasunraz, in his t-shirt and half-pant left home for good.

He took refuge in Churachandpur, the unlikeliest place to find him,as he waited for his lady to recover from her appendix surgery. He did the almost impossible task of convincing the nurse at the then JN hospital to get to talk to his lady and convey his whereabouts. Sanjita committed as ever just a day after being discharged from Hospital went straight to meet him. Vasunraz sold his gold chain, his only property at a price of 14000 and set forth to see his destiny.

With members of both families searching every bus and train compartments in Imphal and Guwahati, the Journey from Churachandpur to Tirupur must have been the hardest anyone could have ever imagined. Despite the gruesome 13 hours journey with pain in her stomach Sanjita bear it all along with him, but only to be welcomed by closed hotel doors and pouring rain.Left with no options, they took a huge risk by spending the night in a place where truck drivers take refuge between shifts.

By the time they reach Tirupur, the young couple was drenched with exhaustion and hunger, and with a balance of just 1400, they had less than they would need to start a new family. In this land of no Hindi or English, all interviews yielded no result, until one company "Mehta Export Corporation", where his Hindi would be appreciated. With not even a single certificates in hand to prove his credentials, he deicded ot start afresh everything from ground zero. " You wanna pursue your dreams, your background doesn't matters much it's the you that matters".

Recalling his going for the interview in his wife's pant because he couldn't afford one of his own and grabbed the one position this company could offer, a sweeper with a monthly salary on 1750.They narrated how during that time, Sanjita was offered a job to teach in a school, and how on the first day of school, where she was supposed to wear a saree, did not have an inner skirt. "I tore out my lungi and stitched the under skirt for her saree",Vasunraz added with a smile.

The enthusiasm to learn new things and the dedication in his work was so strong that while he working as a sweeper during odd hours, he also spent the rest of his day assisting the Administrative Officer in his work. Within a short span of 2 months he rose to become Administrative officer, then went on to become patent master, internal auditor, Quality Control Manager all because of his keenness and dedication to learn.

However, due to some internal differences with the boss over an extra day's leave, for which he never took a single leave in the last two years, Vasunraz left "Mehta Export Corp.", but was soon invited to be the General Manger at Classic Polo where he worked for 18 Months, until one day Mr. Mehta called him to come back. Now in a much established position and with stronger bargaining power he even got his new car to the surprise of his wife. He continued till 2010, while also starting his own side business, a checking center for manufactured products before being taken to the market under the name "24 x 7 checking center".

On 26 November 2011, he joined "International Trading Company"(ITC) at Salem, Yercaud as "Work contractor" where he was in charge of the whole procedure of making garment and soon became a partnership in 8 months period. Giving up the good one and taking up a tougher challenge to attend the best, sometimes you have to be crazy enough. He left everything again and came back to Tirupur, the place which always gave him endless reason to dream beyond the existing realities.

On 16 October 2013 "Manipur Creation" was born and with it, the long awaited dream saw daylight and started penetrating the market by tying up with Aditya Birla Group and sport giants like Nike, Addidas, etc.

By the beginning of 2015, Manipur Creations made its inroad to homeland although the idea was first not too welcoming from many quarters including the Government establishment yet everything fell into place with his persistency and dedication. In the midst of political chaos, the first assembling of his unit started on 4th July 2015. Now with 6 showrooms in different districts and another 3 coming up in the next 15 days, Manipur Creations will have an outlet in all 9 districts.

Vasunraz visions a Manipur where people will be able to produce their own clothes and save money by providing the same products that is being produced by some of the best brands in the country at half the price. His future plan is to give to the people the standard of quality they seek and at less than half the price, thus and thus saving on the individual spending.

When asked what his biggest hurdle was, Vasunraz narrates about a shocking incident where there was a restriction to register his company due to an outdated law which restricts an enterprise to take the State's Name. He at last ended up registering the company as "Mani-puri Creations"

Today as parents of two lovely kids, Vasunraz and Sanjita wishes to see their children make decisions on their own. Their message for all parents is, "Don't impose our dreams on our child, rather allow them to fly to attain their own's calling".

According to him, entrepreneurship is to be encouraged to the brightest child in a family because "a good entrepreneur will be in a position to render services much better to the people around".

As an entrepreneur his greatest joy is in seeing the happiness in the eyes of his employees that he is able to bring changes in their lives through his works and empowering them .

At present, Manipur Creations is a Big family of over 200 staffs with sales of over 17 lakhs per month and with an asset worth over 5 Crores.

Today as it celebrates its 3rdfoundation day, the Global Shapers Community: Imphal hub and all readers wishes "Manipur Creations" the best to lead the baton of making Manipur truly worth the gold as we all desired to see as.

Global Shapers are a network of Hubs in all the major cities of the world formed by young achievers who are under 29 years of age working for the betterment of the society all over the world. Imphal Hub is the 450th hub in the world. Global Shapers is an initiative of the world Economic Forum, Geneva.

* The Global Shapers Community - Imphal Hub wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reach at globalshapersmphal(aT)gmail(doT)com
This article was posted on October 19 2015.

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