SupportBiz presents an exclusive conversation with Rajat about Happily Unmarried. Edited excerpts:
Tell us about the background of the founders...
Both Rahul and I are post graduates from MICA, and held advertising jobs before we decided to start Happily Unmarried. Rahul worked with JWT, while I was with Mudra.
How did the idea of starting Happily Unmarried come about?
The idea came about when we were hunting for a place to stay. In most places, we were refused a place because we were single. This led us to think. We figured that since everyone is targeting families in our country, it made sense to target the singles. That is how we started, and it worked!
Tell us about the initial investment needed to start Happily Unmarried...
We started with very little, actually. After quitting our advertising job, both of us took up a job in a software company, which went bust without paying us salaries. That company also gave us a laptop, which we pawned for INR50,000 and started Happily Unmarried.
Which of your products are the most popular?
Our chini cups, the iconic sandaas, our shot glasses, animal coasters and the anti estd bag are some of our most popular products.
Do you source your products or do you create them in-house?
All our products are designed in-house and then manufactured in India. We try to use local materials and resources as far as possible.
Where in India and elsewhere are your products available?
We have four exclusive retail outlets in Delhi, and one each in Goa, Chandigarh and Shillong. Apart from that we sell in over 60 outlets across all major cities in India. We also have a small presence in the UK and France.
How big is your team, presently?
We are a team of 30 people now. Presently, we are looking for more people to join the team.
How do you cope with competition from similar stores?
We enjoy competition! It keeps us charged, and inspires us to do good work.
How do you market your business?
Mostly through word of mouth, and through our Facebook page. We have never aggressively marketed ourselves. We believe that if we do good work, it will be spoken about and word will spread. The rest automatically happens.
What are your expansion plans?
We plan to grow our customer base in double digits every quarter. At the same time, we want to ensure that the work satisfaction of our employees doubles every year.
What are the major challenges that you face? How do you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges we face is capital, and its efficient use. We are working with the right set of people to help us improve in this aspect.
What are your views on the market for quirky products in India? How do you think the market will grow in the next couple of years?
I think the market is at a very nascent stage at present, and that it will grow as retail expands. We are on the tip of the iceberg, and the potential is enormous.
Corporate Website: Happily Unmarried