Bringing Metal Industry to Online Marketplace

Saloni Mardia Kothari, Founder, Director & COO – Mtlexs Online Private Limited.

Saloni is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Masters in Accountancy & Finance from London School of Economics, London, UK.  After completing her post graduate studies from LSE, Saloni thought of doing something which would interest her & started making plans keeping in mind a more balanced life, having a flexible work schedule & taking a personal vision to make a lucrative business.

She had a couple of job offers from MNC’s but none of them challenged her intellect the way she wanted them to. At this point the biggest challenge for her was to convince her father to let her join the family business, Non — Ferrous Metal Industry which is predominantly male dominated.  The company’s manufacturing unit located about 200 kms away from Mumbai added on to her woes. However, Saloni believed that women can also be a successful part of an otherwise male dominated industry and make a significant difference in their own ways.

Combining the expertise and knowledge she had gained through education & from her father on the non-ferrous metal business, she decided to do something revolutionary in the industry as a whole. Realizing the huge potential in the B2B space, Saloni decided to  digitize their thirty-year-old family business in Non-Ferrous Metals (NFM). After a lot of market research and brain storming sessions with friends and professionals, Mtlexs was born. ( www.mtlexs.com and www.mtlexsspot.com)

Mtlexs is an online marketplace for Non-Ferrous Metals that provides Prices, Tenders, Projects, Import and Export data, technical data and much more including a trading platform facilitating physical delivery of NFM products. A mobile application is in the making where users will get all NFM market content on the mobile phone by downloading the app. The company already has a verified database of over 36000 registered members.

Here are some more insights shared with team ABT.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my Father, Mr. Suneel R Mardia.  Even before you go to school, your parents teach you a lot of things and they are technically your first teachers. There are some very valuable life lessons that my father has taught me which are not only relevant for our business but also relevant in my day to day life. From him, I learnt virtues for life like Patience, Hard Work, Never Lose hope and never give up

In a business with constant fluctuations in prices, orders etc. one needs to learn to be patient and deal with all of this in a calm and composed manner. There would always be good days and bad days, but one should never get adversely affected by the same and must always keep the hope and look at the silver lining, is what I picked up.

What motivates you the most?
Constant Learning & Hope is what drives me and motivates me to work harder, so that I can see the change that I want to bring about. My father has taught me one very important thing and that is to be humble and never let success go to your head. Stay grounded and never consider yourself superior to your competitor or your employee.  One of the most valuable lessons that he has imbibed into my mind is to be willing to learn and be receptive to change as that is key to the growth of any business. If my father wasn’t willing to learn, he wouldn’t have let me start Mtlexs.

Please tell us about the most satisfactory & happy moment in your career
Some of my most satisfactory and happy moments in my career have been the day Mtlexs.com went live on May 9th 2014, after that seeing the website grow to this stage and achieve so much has been a pleasure. Another remarkable moment was the day I signed the agreement with NeML (a subsidiary of NCDeX) on Sept’ 2015 for starting MtlexsSpot which is our online trading platform. Along with my team, I am working to educate the industry members and bring them to do their business online.

Please describe your leadership style
I believe as a leader I am more hands on and a team player. A clear thought process, focused approach helps me take important decisions in a calm and correct manner. I believe that it is the team work which always makes things work and get things done.  Being a leader does not mean you have all of the answers & the more open you are to learning from everyone around you the more you can grow in your role.

How do you see the opportunities for women to create a niche for themselves today compared to a decade ago?
Today women are not only playing a supportive role in business but are also innovating and breaking traditional barriers to take their business to the next level. Women today are much more fearless and are not averse to taking risks.

What were the challenges as a women entrepreneur/leader?
The non-ferrous metal industry is perceived to be an extremely male dominated industry and not a place where a woman should ideally be. About a decade ago, I don’t think anyone would have taken a woman as seriously as they do today. We yet live in an extremely patriarchal society, however, with people becoming more and more aware and educated, mindsets are surely changing. We have a long way to go when it comes to shortening the disparity between how men and women are treated at work and gender bias.

With more and more women joining the corporate workforce & becoming independent it is very important to encourage them so that feel & become self-sufficient. We at Mtlexs are trying our best to get more and more women to work with us so that we can be a small part of their journey to becoming self sufficient and independent and grow as they do.