Inspiration plays a pivotal role in materializing an idea. For them, this inspiration emits from the energy and vitality of the youth. The initiative wasn’t taken with huge excel plans or a lofty vision or for that matter, a target milestone. Rather, it began with an intent to be whacky, fun and hit multiple “smiles stones”.
iamWire presents to you, the success story of Happily Unmarried- from the point it started- up to being one of India’s very own youth destinations for quirky products.
The conceptualization of this fun hub happened when Rajat Tuli and Rahul Anand, alumni of MICA, decided to splash every grey and dull area with jollity,humour, wit and colour. “We started or as we say at Happily Unmarried, we were ‘anti-established’ in 2003, with an aim to provide everything to the youth, from accommodation to furniture. And we wanted the whole business to be fun. However,the only thing that actually took off was the products”, says Tuli.
As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, success didn’t come to them overnight. They have had their share of a fairly long and adventurous struggling phase. Drawing an account of the olden days Rajat said, “For a long time there were just Rahul and I. We wanted to create desi merchandise but most people we spoke too were not too encouraging. A lot of designers felt that we would run out of ideas, there is no market blah blah. Since there were no reference points or examples we could show it was difficult explaining people what exactly did we want to do. Even to us clarity emerged as we spoke to more people. We made a lot of mistakes. Everything was a struggle, what complicated matters more was the fact that we had no capital. In 2003 there were no malls and certainly no social media. So, the only thing you could fall back on was, word of mouth. Mukul Goyal was one of the first designers who bought into the idea of Happily Unmarried, and we did our initial range with him. We would make stuff and then go to offices where our friends worked to sell them. The response was good from day one but the lack of money and infrastructure, and not having enough places to sell was a big issues.”
Like every beginner, Rajat and Rahul have been through the goods and bads of time. But what sets them apart is the fact that they chose to look at the silver lining through the clouds. They exploited the unfavourable circumstances to their better benefit and took the tough phase as a lesson learned to back themselves and never to get discouraged by challenges. The struggle prepared the duo to handle any eventuality that could pop up.
Further, these times taught them never to compromise with their core values- honesty and originality, under any circumstances.
Upon being asked to call a moment a watershed in the history of Happily Unmarried, here’s how the man responded, “There is hardly a day which goes without an incident. However, the one big day would be when we decided to go in for funding. That was when we started seeing this as a business as opposed to a fun activity which gave us enough money to lead the life we wanted. It meant readjusting our idea about how we viewed Happily Unmarried and also set ambitious growth targets. We are happy that we have been able to grow without compromising on our core values. And now we want it to become the world’s most loved brand.”
The path to the ultimate glory has never been a cake-walk for anyone. With every step, the number of challenges only multiplies. One of such challenges, especially in business is to keep up with the market. Although Happily Unmarried is already an established name; companies like Chumbak and Quirk Box have also registered themselves in the competition. However, the team believes, competition is good, for it keeps one on their toes. Responding to the comparisons drawn between the two aforementioned companies, Tuli asserted that a lot of people club these brands together with Happily Unmarried, but they all have individual path and customer-base. He also maintained that in the next 2-3 years, the differences will evolve and become more conspicuous as the market would grow bigger.
Take on Fundraising
Tuli opines that fundraising is a great option but it should not be exercised in a hurry. Their company decided to raise money after almost a decade of bootstrapping. He believes, a company should be very sure about the amount it raises, and utilization of the fund should be optimum and wise. As of Happily Unmarried, it is now heading for a series B round of funding.
Adding his views on venture funding, Tuli stated, “one of the hazards of a venture funding is pivoting your business to grow at a much faster rate than you would organically. This involves expenses which take a hit on profitability. Most ventures follow a hockey stick curve. So, currently we are on the low end of the curve. Also, we plan to be profitable by next financial year.”
iamWire wishes Happily Unmarried the best for their future endeavours. Cheers!