Lakshmi Shivakumar: The Chamrajnagar Phoenix

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Humans tend to stay risk-averse, especially in business as there are more cons when compared to the benefits. Business does not offer stability, especially during the initial stage, as incidents from losing money, to falling victim to the plotting of one’s adversaries, and so on. And when people do receive a loss, a majority of them tend to never try again. However, there are exceptional humans who never give up, no matter how hard they fall into rock bottom. They stand as prime examples of Nike’s slogan, ‘Just Do It’, as they keep on pursuing success till they finally capture it.

Lakshmi Shivakumar is one such strong-minded individual, with willpower strong enough to bend reality. Born in the town of Challakere, Karnataka, she resided with a joint family of 18 members. Her father was a businessman who had fallen gravely ill while she was studying in 10th standard. He eventually succumbed to it, which forced her elder brother, Harish Shinde, to drop out of college during his second year to take care of the family. He acquired a dealership for Seal Enterprises, a company that dealt with stamps and seals in Davangere. He undertook the responsibility of marrying Lakshmi off successfully in Chamrajnagar for better opportunities.

Lakshmi has been involved in the business world for over 14 years, with the first run involving her father-in-law’s utensils shop, which had a debt of 80k rupees. He had rented the shop about 50 years ago in a temple complex and had entrusted it to her a year before passing out. She and the rest struggled with it for two years, before a transaction of 10-50 lakh rupees elevated the shop. However, some members began to object to the shop’s existence, stating reasons such as the need for devotees to perform pradakshina around the temple.

This battle even went up to court for four years, as there were no other means of livelihood for Lakshmi and her family. However, when miscreants vandalized her shop, Lakshmi and her family packed and shifted the remaining goods to their house. They opened another shop with a 10 lakh rupee investment, adding 3-4 lakhs for the furniture required and began to sell kitchen-related machinery. It went well for 6 months before the shop caught on fire one night. A passer-by noticed it and gave Lakshmi a call, and when she and her family rushed out at 2:45 a.m., all they saw were the melted appliances flowing out.

Not yet discouraged, she decided to convert her interest in cooking into a business as she opened up a hotel. Named as Poornima Hotel after her daughter, they served reasonably priced meals on a banana leaf. This gained a reputation amongst the locals of Chamrajnagar, while also attracting jealousy. Lakshmi would face problems with gas and fire every time she tried to operate it, and would discover a few lemons and kumkum at the doorsteps of her hotel. She realized that someone had been practising black magic upon her, and she eventually evicted the hotel due to her family’s persuasion in regard to her safety.

Without losing an ounce of courage, Lakshmi started an online business of selling clothes for ladies. On seeing a glimpse of success, she decided to go further, and obtaining a loan of 1 lakh rupees from her elder brother, Harish Shinde, she travelled to Chickpet in Bangalore and used it all to buy sarees and other dresses. She came back, created Facebook and WhatsApp groups and promoted her business. Soon, customers began to increase in number along with the profits, as they would come to buy clothes from her.

Initially, Lakshmi converted one room of her house into a temporary shop to conduct business. The profits gave the idea of opening a shop to her, and she took another loan of 10 lakhs from her elder brother to establish Lakshmi Creations in 2017. From there, she rented a former toy shop, shifted Lakshmi Creations to that shop and established Lakshmi Metals.

Lakshmi Shivakumar is also a part of the International Inner Wheel Club, involving herself in social issues related to women. She has two kids, who are successful models, with her daughter having acted in a soap opera. We at Icons of Indian Business magazine wish her and her family the best in their future endeavours and hope they always attain success and stay at the top with consistency, hard work, and determination.