Hopes of retail success for Norwich Indian craft seller

A Norwich entrepreneur is hoping to push his Indian craft business to the next level by entering The Mall Norwich's retail competition.

Manan Kotak entered The Retail Factor to try to win two months free trading at the shopping centre in order to boost his business, which sells unique hand-made craft items from India.

The 33-year-old from Magdalen Road, Norwich, only began his retail company, Kutch Craft, a months ago, but has already seen success with a stall at a craft fair in the Forum.

Mr Kotak said: 'The idea for the business came from my friends who were visiting me when I was getting married in India. We went to my local market and saw this beautiful craft and they said 'why are you not selling these things in Norwich?' So i decided to start the business.'

Kutch Craft sources all of its stock from Mr Kotak's hometown of Bhuj in the Kutch district of the Gujarat state. The products are made by local people and include Kutchi shawls, ladies' purses, hand bags, cushion covers, wall hangings and other accessories.

Mr Kotak said: 'I hope the men and women in my community who make these wonderful items will benefit from the launch of my new company.'

The Mall Norwich, in partnership with the Evening News, launched The Retail Factor to give start-up businesses the chance to win two months free trading at The Mall.

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The competition is worth more than �10,000, with each business chosen by the judges receiving a stall in a prime position on the shopping floor.

All entries will be judged by a local panel which includes Alan Day, general manager for The Mall Norwich, and Elaine Maslin, the acting business editor for the EDP and Norwich Evening News.

The Retail Factor was launched on January 17 and will run for five weeks until the closing date for applications on Sunday, February 20.

If you want to enter the competition, you can collect an application form from The Mall Norwich Ask Me point on level two of the shopping centre, or you can download a form online from www.themall.co.uk/my-mall/norwich/default.aspx

• Have you won a major competition? Contact Evening News reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772439 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk.