I, Karthi Easwaramoorthy, sat with Mr. Rajasekar famously called lotus Sekar hailing from Erode for a casual conversation in one fine evening and it lasted for 2 hours. He gave away lots of his wisdom in such a humble way. How he started his life in a single bedroom home in a housing board unit in in his native town Erode to till building the textile mall named Texvalley in 18 acres nearer to Erode with 1599 units of commercial shops at a volume of closer to 2 million (2p laks) square foot for the cost of 700 crore. I happened to visit the Texvalley, it is an example structure for locolite with an outstanding international quality. Amazing story. If you need some inspiration for your life, continue to read below to know our today’s hero.
“I was just telling Uma a year back that my generation and the current generation have parallel experiences when it comes to the journey of life”, he started. Isn’t that a bit vague for us to understand? By the end of the interview I clearly had an idea of what these words meant and so will you. Travel with me while I take you through an inspiring story of mere hard work and good deeds.
A START FROM THE SCRATCH
Every story has its own beginning. So does our hero’s tale. Lotus Rajasekar recalled his sweet 1BHK thatched house. I was totally astonished to hear this because I was literally set up with a mindset that someone with so many accomplishments in a short while should be born with a silver spoon. Those were the times when he used to wash his cycle squeaky clean with his father. And then they shifted to their maternal grandmother’s house. In 1979, his father bought their first housing board house, which they still live in.
Mr. Palanimalai Gounder Periasamy was very momentous when it came to the education of his son. Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it. He was sensible about this and the transport officer thus enlightened his son with the best of education. Half of Mr. Sekar’s childhood strolled in the hostel. After high school, he went to Kongu Engineering College for his higher studies. The tale of his hard work started while being a student. That itself was a fair reason to treasure a person like him. “I’ve seen everything in my life,” said our celeb as he recalled himself as a young adult. After his classes ended, he would go to the TVS showroom that his father had undertaken in 1989. Mr. Sekar looked back on the days when he used to look the transport contracts till 1 o’clock after midnight. Saturday nights were the only nights off from work for him. If you are wondering what it should have taken him to be this consistent to elevate the TVS agency to a great height, it is pure respect for all the efforts his father had put in to make him the person he is now.
A STEP AHEAD
I personally adore Lotus Rajasekar for the efforts he put into each of his works and the way he marks his presence wherever he goes. It was in 1991 he dived altogether into business. In 1999, Mr. Sekar took a dealership with TVS at Coimbatore besides the one at Erode. By that time, he got married and shifted to Coimbatore with his family. As a one-man army, he had to supervise two of his agencies located at completely different places. So he commuted between Coimbatore and Erode. He preferred public transport to his car. Remembering that they still reside in their old house, I was eager to know why he preferred simplicity to luxury even when he had all the ability to afford the luxury. He simply said, “There was no necessity”. I was astounded to see what a man of modesty he is. He smiled at me and said, “You do not feel hurt when you have no option. But do not deprive yourself of something and at the same time do not be extravagant.” And that was why the man of wits could achieve so much by 38 years.
Life is never easy on us and the way it mends us every time we fall determines the person we are today. Mr. Sekar talked about the other ventures he has stepped into. As he recollected those days of experimenting, he stated that he has shut down more businesses than he has run. “Quitting hurts your ego. You lose money and time. But if you have to cut your fingers to save your hands, do not hesitate. Leave it if it is of no good. If you cannot let go, then it’s a problem. After all, we have got just one life”, he said.
But despite so many shutdowns, the TVS showroom turned out to be the largest in the country. This was because of the commitment and the willpower to meet the expectations of the retailers. Even when the orders were made at 9 o’clock in the night, Mr. Sekar made sure that the products reached the workshop at 8 o’clock in the morning the next day. Isn’t that enough to attract 2500 distributors across the state?
CONNECTING TO THE ROOTS
Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots. Amidst all the hard work, Mr. Sekar’s mind always connected back to his native. Initially Erode was well known for textiles. But the fabrics were being sold like commodities. When the price of the thread dropped at the time of sale, the selling price dropped too. So people started cultivating turmeric as they were able to gain more from it. This was the reason why they had no confidence to pass over the textile business to the next generation and slowly they drifted away from textiles. On studying and researching, Mr. Sekar found out that they lacked front-end marketing. So why not create a market for marketing. That was exactly the dawn of Texvalley. You may wonder what made him do so much when he had already established a greater business. Money paves way for new ideas and when the thoughts were concerned with home, it seemed even more significant to pursue.
THE DAWN OF THE LEGENDARY ARENA
All the thoughts about keeping the strings attached even when flying high marked the beginning of Texvalley. Mr. Sekar drafted a rough idea as to make an exhibition center where the visitors can look at the products and buy them at wholesale price. The ministry was not convinced at first when the idea was presented but later granted Rs 12 crores as a subsidy marketing Centre. Only then did he catch the tiger by the tail.
With a creative group, he made a design for constructing a market like ChandniChowk at Rs 450 crores. Texvalley has now grown to be a roof under which everything a textile businessman or businesswoman expects is provided. Be it solutions, inventory, or marketing. To date, he is working on adding values to the place with the sole reason of meeting the expectations of the people who come in intending to grow their businesses. This evolution of Texvalley went in the right way only because it connected the purposes of different businesses. “If it was just to make money, things would’ve been different,” said MR Sekar. “The person who has rented a 6 x 8 store at Texvalley 6 years back has now invested to buy more than 10 shops (worth 5 Cr) . This sense of satisfaction and fulfillment settled sweetly inside me.” Let us not forget that he has got his hands on the other businesses that support each other.
THE TALE OF TEXVALLEY
“Texvalley is more like a Chinese Bamboo Tree. It took time to grow but the purpose was crystal clear,” stated Mr. Sekar. The place is now strictly providing opportunities to the people in the textile industry. Out of 1599 units, 1000 units are for sale. 700 units have been sold already. The remaining units will be retained because to benefit more, the creator should always be there inside.
Besides just being a place for marketing, Texvalley has also assisted around 4500 fashion designing students by its Fashion Design Club so far. It covers everything right from industrial visits and projects to getting the new creations sold at the right price.
Promising a 6% assured rental for the investors, Texvalley also targets the small businesses who can rent a space inside the arena by providing them a rental subsidy. A survey conducted in 2018 predicted that Texvalley will turn out to be a Rs 12,000 crore business. The business was progressing just when it got disturbed by demonetisation and Covid-19. Even then, Mr. Sekar stated that he saw a lot of positives. “Gut feeling and god willing kept us going. Now things are all good.”
Mr. Sekar was very stubborn and clear with the idea that Texvalley should not make the beneficiaries worry about product maintenance. With this as a base idea, Texvalley was founded on 18 acres with its construction plan summing up to Rs 18 lakhs Sq. Ft. It is a single large building without any expansion joints. The cables run inside the busbar to avoid any fire accidents. Each and every material chosen for construction are of sterling quality to eliminate the problem of maintenance for another 20 to 30 years. Texvalley connects both the posh and socially deprived customers under one roof. At the end of the day, all that matters is if the products have somehow reached the customers.
Texvalley is huge and it takes at least 3 days for a person to visit all the shops there. It has drawn a lot of people. Around 45000 retailers from 5 states buy products in bulk from here. Texvalley, being a unique place that showers opportunities and reaches for small businesses, not only marks its presence at a geographical location. When it jumped into an online business, it literally took care of everything for the vendors. Right from website maintenance to packaging, Mr. Sekar made sure not to trouble the vendors. Texvalley served as both a cluster of shops as well as the warehouse from where the retailers can collect their orders. “Any income we get, it goes back to the investors as a dividend. Anyone who has set up a store at Texvalley should grow. Let them have a wider reach,” said Mr. Sekar wholeheartedly. The tale of Texvalley is eternal. It will continue to keep its promise now and forever.
I wanted to know how he had a diversified interest. “My interest lies in experimentation on different things and that is why I got my hands on everything I could,” he said. “That is how Hyundai dealership happened and it is getting established in Erode and Coimbatore. Six years back, Mr. Sekar stepped into creating the BNI chapter and now Erode has 15 chapters with 780 members and 1300 businesses. As an Executive Director, Mr. Sekar extended this foundation to Tirupur where there are 5 chapters.
“I took my baby steps into business with dad. The responsibility to take care of the money my father saved automatically falls on me,” said as Mr. Sekar remembered those days as an amateur. He always believes that profit from a business is not for personal leisure but for the business itself and also made sure to pay the worker his dues before his sweat had dried up.
“Nothing is more significant than reputation and commitment.” Abiding by the words of his father, modest yet wise, Mr. Sekar still proves to be an inspiration. Everyone has a purpose to live. The Japanese call it an Ikigai. You just read Mr. Sekar’s Ikigai. Now it is time to find yours.
Visit to learn more personalities here