Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happily Unmarried

When a couple of  talented desi guys come together and dream up an idea that is uniquely and authentically Indian, pair it with a great design sensibility, you have have something like Happily Unmarried. I follow the start-up activity in India and long to see desi ingenuity meet design and  technology in ways that have a distinctly Indian flavor.

All too often, the ideas I run across are borrowed from the West, with some vernacular thrown in to desi-fy it so to speak. Then ten other companies riff on the same cloned theme with minor variations. In the end, none of them stand apart from a crowd and or have any kind of Indian signature. Happily Unmarried is  very happy departure from the formula around a concept that is not "inspired" or "cloned" and could only come from India.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Rajat Tuli, one of the duo behind Happily Unmarried.

Me :  What was the moment of Zen that prompted you guys to come up with Happily Unmarried ?
Rajat : It was more an idea which evolved over time, based on our own experiences we realized that in our family oriented country there is nothing which targets the young.This made us quit our dull jobs and start to identify things which we could sell to people like us.And we are still evolving, getting into more categories.Oh its a lot of fun. 

Me : Is your store and idea too cool for the aam junta or does everyone get it easily ?
Rajat : Sometimes it is a little tough to explain to people what happily unmarried really means( try doing it in Hindi)but that apart the products are all well designed, they have an Indian sensibility most importantly they are things you use everyday. So the web is increasing. Initially we were only in the big metros but now we are even selling in Agra, Jammu, Coimbatore and other cities which one thinks are outside the cool zone. 

Me:  What are your social media outreach efforts like ?
Rajat : We have not done anything to promote the brand, thankfully the products keep getting picked up by magazines, we have been featured a few times on television but our best publicity is through word of mouth.There is also a sizable presence on Facebook now.

Me : How do you come up with the design ideas for your very unique products ?
Rajat : We actually identify products of mass consumption and then we try to inject in them a dose of irreverence and fun, there is a team of designers and a lot of effort goes into each product. 

Me : Does buying the Happily Unmarried brand supposed to say something about the buyer ?
Rajat : Yes, that she has a sense of humour,has a good taste,is going to make her Boy friend/husband/ dad very happy.

Me: If you could choose three tags to describe what your brand is all about what would they be ?
Rajat : Fun,Indian,Quirky

Me : What are the next big plans for Happily Unmarried ?
Rajat : Many, but the one I can speak about is a pub.The first HU bar and kitchen is being build even as I write this. Everything from the chair to the napkin is being designed by us.

Me : Would you consider taking on a serious social issue in India and put your creative spin on it to create a product that becomes a conversation piece ?
Rajat : Yes, we do sometimes. But since our tag line and with a name like Happily Unmarried we are morally bound to not be committed to a product, idea or cause for long.

Me : Did you face any unique challenges getting your business going ?
Rajat : Yes, lots when we started we would tell people we want to design funny products with Indian sensibilities, people said we would run out of ideas after 10. We have over a 100 now and ideas for may be 200 more. Ofcourse there were also minor issues like having no money to start the business with etc etc 

Me : Are the morality police (Ram Sena et al) keeping close tabs on you ?
Rajat : No, they have no reason to and even if they do we do not care.


lafemmereva said...

brilliant venture and how nice of you to have brought this to spotlight!!!!

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