Abbas Kabuliwala, General Manager of Envoy Interiors has a very motivating and inspiring journey. His business transition demonstrates diversification as an IT professional to a completely different field, interior design.
Hailing from Partapur, Abbas did his schooling from St. Pauls School, Banswara, Rajasthan, India. He completed his Bachelor of Commerce in 2003 from Pune University, Maharashtra and Bachelor of Science in 2012 from EIILM University, Sikkim. He had done various certifications in IT field like MCP, MCSE, CCNA, DCAP and MCSA. He also started working during college days to gain experience.
He arrived in Kuwait in 2004 and joined the British School of Kuwait as a System Administrator for 2 years. In June 2006 he joined Smart Applications as Senior Network Specialist. With his commerce background he was able to pick up quickly on preparing pre-sales quotes and tender bidding activities.
One Ramadan evening after Iftar, while he and his friend Aminji Azad were talking and joking, they struck upon the idea to start something and explore avenues for starting a business. Aminji was good at Graphics designing and working in marketing field. During this period he landed on a client who required someone to do design work for an interior designing project. They plunge on this opportunity as Amijni was good at graphics designing.
The first customer gave them a profit of KD 200 (Approx. USD 650), the second was a loss of KD 7000 ((Approx. USD 23,000). This was a painful, but very good learning and they learnt where they went wrong. Then they got into immediate action plan to fix these short comings.
To overcome the business challenges, they first tied up with a company which gave them official framework to operate, submit customer invoice and collect payments. Second, they roped in 2 part time designers who were willing to work with them. Third, they would sub-contract most of the interior works and Abbas would carry out the IT infrastructure part of networking and cabling.
In the third contract, their hard work and efforts paid off, they recovered their losses and then there was no looking back. An excellent combination of the duo, Aminji & Abbas, one would bring sales and the other would execute it.
In 2008, Aminji completed his transition into this business full time. They had to work long hours and there was no time limit to working hours. They had to attend the customer or supplier calls any time of the day. This was the time they starting hiring staff and paying salaries.
While luck would have it, while Abbas was growing in his current company, doing tendering and winning big IT contracts , the company he was working ran into some management and financial issues around 2009-10. This prompted Abbas to move to Envoy group of companies in the IT department in the mid of 2010.
In Jan 2011, he made a bold move and entered into agreement with his investor and Kuwaiti partner, the owner of Envoy group of companies and started “Envoy Interiors” and he merged his existing setup into this new division. During the same period he started another startup, Global Technologies which serves the Telecom operators in Kuwait.
Having completed 5 years, now they are in expanding mode. The interior business has the first branch office in Pune, India and as Global Technologies expanded into Qatar, Dubai (UAE) and Oman.
Abbas says :
“Always try to think different rather than duplicating things while keeping in mind that all the basic requirement is done and one of the basic requirement is education. One must at least complete graduation for the better prospective of the future.
With dual educational background, looking all the financials of the company lured me to jump into business where the motive is – To Give salary rather than taking.”