The Entrepreneurial Streak
During his stint at the pottery unit, he gained vast knowledge of the trade which gave birth to the desire of starting his own enterprise. As a child, he had seen the local potters making earthen pans and hot plates (known as Kaladi/Tavdi) on the manual potters wheel (locally known as Chhakdo). With the help of this wheel, one person could make only 100 pieces per day. But he had seen the roof tiles getting manufactured in bulk quantities on hand press at the factory, which made him wonder whether earthen pans could be made in similar manner.
He finally took the plunge by quitting his job in 1988 and taking a loan of INR 30,000 from a money lender to establish his own earthen plate production unit. With the loan money, he purchased a small piece of land, where he built his factory and installed dyes and presses, soil mixing machine, electric potters wheel and other scrap objects in it. He put his years of knowledge to good use and modified the roof tile making hand press to transform into a hand press machine that had a large capacity of producing 700 earthen pans every day.
The Turning Point
The defining moment of Mansukhbhai's life came in the year 1995, when a business man from Rajkot, Mr. Chiragbhai Patel came to his native place in Wankaner in the search of a reliable vendor who could supply good quality of Clay Water Filters. He was an exporter who had to fulfill a client order that was bound to Nairobi, Kenya. Upon learning about Mansukhbhai's business venture from Jagdamba Potteries, where he was previously employed. Then Chiragbhai contacted him for looking at the water filter designs, which was very much appreciated.
The Road Ahead
Mansukhbhai has several accolades to his name. He has taken part in Saatvik-the Traditional Food Festival in 2008 where showcased his innovations apart from the regular clay products he sells. There, the traditional black haandi (pot) he had made, grabbed the attention of many visitors at his stall. They asked him to improve it which gave him an idea to make the Clay Cooker. Ever since then, he has developed several earthen utensils design of eating plates with separate dish holding sections, glasses and bowls. He has also unveiled a new range of cooker and kitchen utensils at Saatvik- the Traditional Food Festival at IIM Ahmedabad in December 2009.
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