My Business: Indian youth brand Happily Unmarried - BBC News My Business: Indian youth brand Happily Unmarried - BBC News

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Business: Indian youth brand Happily Unmarried - BBC News

My Business: Indian youth brand Happily Unmarried - BBC News

Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli on how they created a youth brand for India

What makes an entrepreneur? The BBC's Saima Iqbal and Tom Santorelli speak to Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, about turning an idea about making products tailored specifically for young, upwardly-mobile Indians into a thriving business.

Business partners Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli first met while pursuing their Masters degrees.

In 2003 the software company they had joined together went bankrupt and they decided it was time to take the plunge and start their own enterprise.

They had the notion that there was a niche in the market for a brand which catered for India's youth - a demographic which they thought up to then was being underserved.

At the time a large number of foreign companies were setting up their outsourcing arms in India.

Rahul and Rajat realised that this would mean there would be more young employees with disposable income, but there was no brand completely dedicated to India's youth.

"The youngsters these days are independent, they have opinions and they like to make a statement with the T-shirts they are wearing or the glass they are sipping their drink from" says Rajat.

The idea for their business hit them while they were both out jogging. They were so excited by the brand name they immediately ran to a cyber cafe and registered it.

My Business

What does it take to build your own business from scratch?

How does a US expat navigate Russian bureaucracy? Or illiterate Moroccan women learn to sell their own wares? Or a Brazilian designer win over Western celebrities?

BBC World Service reporters speak to entrepreneurs around the world about their inspiration, struggles and successes.

Happily Unmarried would be a fun brand which made a vast range of products from household items to clothes and beyond which catered for young Indians. The sort of well-designed yet functional items a young single - or taken - person might like to be seen with.

Seed capital

But their former employers had not paid them for the last six months and they had no capital to get their venture off the ground.

Pawning a laptop given to them by their old company raised 25,000 rupees ($450) - which was not even enough for them to hire office space. "So we said let's give the impression that we're a really cool company! So we got nice visiting cards made, very fancy posters made and put them everywhere. And then we got a website...we were operating out of cyber cafes, out of buses, out of other peoples' offices, and that's how we managed in the first couple of years" says Rajat.

Their efforts at raising their brand awareness paid off. Starting out with a small kiosk inside a mall in Delhi, they now sell in 25 stores across 80 cities in India. "We also have stores in smaller towns in India and the sales are encouraging, it shows that Indian youth in smaller cities also like to spend and they are opening up to products that are in your face and make a statement" says Rahul.

Design ethos

The partners employ four designers to come up with new product concepts: "The basic surmise is very simple. It has to make you smile", says Rahul. Their products are colourful, funny and are often emblazoned with somewhat irreverent text which makes them a hit with the younger generation.

But their goods are also designed while keeping the utility factor in mind, says Rajat. "We have designed some innovative laundry bags, toothpick holders, key holders for walls, door-mats and tea-cups that are not just great design ideas but we need them in our lives too".

They are open to new ideas and one need not be a professional designer to design for them according to Rahul: "People from all walks of life write to us sharing their ideas and if we like the idea and decide to turn it into a product then they get royalties and credit".

E-commerce is also one of the fastest growing platforms for their products and the past year alone has seen the highest online sales of their products. "People have better access to the internet and they are opening up to the idea of shopping on the internet" says Rajat.

Youth connections

They have been able to leverage the ubiquity of social media sites to increase sales and create a sense of community in their customer base. "It just reaffirms your's a feel-good factor!" says Rajat, checking the number of friends Happily Unmarried has on Facebook - 63,00 and counting.

One of the aspects of the business the partners enjoy the most is putting on one of India's biggest independent music festivals - called Music in the Hills - in different venues each year. It helps introduce people young and old to the Happily Unmarried brand. "It's a big party for two days and two nights" says Rajat. "It works as a huge promotion for us and we love doing it".

Operating out of an office in Delhi, most of their 200 or so products are made in smaller towns closer to Delhi like Saharanpur, Roorkee, Moradabad and Panipat which are the traditional industrial hubs of northern India. "These cities have seen huge losses due to a lot of manufacturing industries going to China, but the cost of production is low and fits our needs" says Rajat.

With an annual turnover of 5 crores (roughly $900,000; £570,714; 707,247 euros) Rajat feels the industry is taking them seriously now. "We're not just designing products we are also designing restaurants, organising events and giving them our touch by making it more fun".

US STOCKS-Futures hit by euro zone, Dell concerns - Reuters UK

Wed May 23, 2012 1:16pm BST

* Stage set for Hollande-Merkel showdown at EU summit

* Papademos clarifies euro remarks but concerns remain

* Dell revenue outlook weighs on sentiment

* Futures down: S&P 7.8 pts, Dow 88 pts, Nasdaq 15 pts (Adds quote, adds byline)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Wednesday as caution prevailed ahead of a meeting of European leaders and on mounting concerns over Greece's future in the euro zone.

A weaker-than-expected revenue forecast from computer maker Dell also weighed on investor sentiment.

Leaders of the 27 EU countries are to meet in Brussels later in the day for a summit expected to deal with Europe's economic woes but also ways to prevent debt-mired Greece from skidding into a chaotic bankruptcy. The leaders are to consider ways to generate growth and discuss the idea of regional bonds to be jointly underwritten by all euro zone member states. However, Germany has already reiterated its opposition to such a move.

Dell Inc shares fell 13 percent to $13.10 in premarket trade, a day after the company forecast disappointing second-quarter revenue as U.S. and European corporate tech spending weakens and consumer personal computer sales continue to shrink.

Fears that Greece may have to leave the euro grew after Dow Jones earlier quoted former prime minister Lucas Papademos as saying Greece had no choice but to stick with a painful austerity program or face a damaging exit from the euro zone. His clarification in a television interview later offered little respite.

The "ex-Greek PM was just stating the obvious to anyone paying attention over the past month since the election. He doesn't want Greece leave but it could happen and it would be ugly if it did," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak + Co in New York.

"This said, the markets are on edge and sensitive to every possible out of control scenario coming out of Europe."

Facebook Inc will also be eyed, after sources said that while company officials traveled the country to talk up the company's $16 billion initial public offering, the social networking giant advised analysts for underwriters to reduce revenue and earnings forecasts. The stock was up 0.8 percent to $31.20 in premarket trade.

S&P 500 futures lost 7.8 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 88 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 15 points.

Ariba Inc will also be in the spotlight after top European software company SAP AG said it plans to buy Ariba in a deal valuing the business and commerce network company at $4.3 billion, its latest maneuver against Oracle in the fast-growing Internet-based computing market.

Wells Fargo & Co does not employ the same kind of hedging strategy that has triggered a trading loss of at least $2 billion at rival JPMorgan Chase & Co, the bank's chief risk officer said on Tuesday.

PetSmart Inc posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year outlook on strong sales across all its product categories, sending its shares up 8 percent in after-market trade.

On the macro front, investors awaited home price index for March, due at 10:00 a.m ET (1400 GMT), as well as new home sales for April, also due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

U.S. stocks closed mostly flat on Tuesday after volatility late in the session, with weakness in materials and energy shares offsetting strength in financials. (Reporting By Angela Moon, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

German Stocks Fall Before Euro Meeting; Banks, SAP Drop - Bloomberg

German stocks declined, halting a two-day rally before today’s euro-area meeting, amid renewed concern that Greece will leave the European currency union after comments from former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, Germany’s largest lenders, slid. Deutsche Boerse AG fell 3.5 percent. SAP AG, the biggest maker of business software, dropped 0.9 percent. Thyssenkrupp AG (TKA) fell after Fitch Ratings downgraded its outlook to negative from stable.

The DAX Index (DAX) retreated 1.8 percent to 6,321.36 at 1.12 p.m. in Frankfurt, snapping two days of gains that saw it rise 2.6 percent. The broader HDAX Index decreased 1.7 percent today.

“Comments made by Papademos about the possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone being more likely are a major reason why the DAX Index has had losses,” said Christian Schmidt, a market analyst at Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen in Frankfurt. “Market sentiment about today’s summit is also not that positive.”

Papademos said that while it is unlikely the nation will leave the euro, it’s still a risk, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

European leaders are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the region’s debt crisis that has wiped almost $4 trillion from equity markets worldwide this month.

“We believe the decline in the German equity market is not justified by either economic or corporate fundamentals,” said Rob Smith, investment manager, Germany, at Baring Asset Management.

Bank Losses

Europe’s banks, sitting on $1.19 trillion of debt to Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland, are facing a wave of losses if Greece abandons the euro.

While lenders have increased capital buffers, written down Greek bonds and used central-bank loans to help refinance units in southern Europe, they remain vulnerable to the contagion that might follow a withdrawal, investors say. Even with more than two years of preparation, banks still are at risk of deposit flight and rising defaults in other indebted euro nations.

“A Greek exit would be a Pandora’s box,” said Jacques- Pascal Porta, who helps manage $570 million at Ofi Gestion Privee in Paris, including shares in Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas SA. “It’s a disaster that would leave the door open to other disasters. The euro’s credibility will be weakened, and would set a precedent: Why couldn’t an exit happen for Spain, for Italy, and even for France?”

Deutsche Bank fell 2.1 percent, the most in more than a week, to 29.05 euros. Commerzbank lost 2 percent to 1.42 euros.

“Banks are under pressure because it is unclear what the future will bring in terms of Greece,” Spain and Italy, said Helaba’s Schmidt.

Deutsche Boerse Falls

Deutsche Boerse dropped 3.5 percent to 39.54 euros. Germany’s main stock exchange may fall out of the Euro Stoxx 50 next week, as it continues to suffer declining equity volumes and increased competition from new trading platforms in Europe, said Petra Grafin von Kerssenbrock, a technical analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.

SAP dropped 0.9 percent to 47.39 euros. Its acquisition of Ariba Inc. for $4.3 billion would be the largest enterprise software deal since Hewlett-Packard Co. bought Autonomy Corp. for more than $10 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“There are fears in the market about the prospect of a counter bid by Oracle,” said Schmidt.

ThyssenKrupp fell 4.3 percent to 14.75 euros. Fitch reduced the outlook of Germany’s largest steelmaker to negative from stable, while affirming its long-term rating at BBB-.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at

Glamour and business to mingle at Rajasthan Fashion Week - Daily News and Analysis

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The three-day Rajasthan Fashion Week (RJW) extravaganza, the Pink City's first ever, promises a heady mix of creativity, innovativeness, business and glamour when it kicks off on Thursday. Organisers Raahul Dhyani and Sharad Patel of VCS Events and ...

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    May 23, 2012 1:34 pm

    Morning business round-up: Eurozone fears mount - BBC News

    What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

    European Union leaders will meet in Brussels on Wednesday as fears mount over the region's debt crisis, amid concern that Greece may have to leave the euro.

    Leaders are expected to hear the new French President, Francois Hollande, challenge the EU's German-led austerity drive.

    The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, is also keeping up the pressure on Greece to fix its finances.

    In an interview with the BBC, Ms Lagarde said there had to be more tax collection and structural reform.

    That is despite the deep unpopularity of austerity measures imposed on Greece by the IMF and European Union in return for bailout funds.

    Greek politicians are divided over whether to continue supporting those measures and face a 17 June election.

    Meanwhile, the World Bank has warned that the eurozone crisis could harm the growth of East Asian economies.

    The bank said that a "serious disruption" in the eurozone could hurt growth and dent demand for exports from East Asia.

    It said that East Asian countries needed to boost domestic demand to rebalance their economies and sustain growth.

    In company news, Fiat and Mazda have formed an alliance to develop two-seater sports cars.

    The alliance will work on a car for Fiat's Alfa Romeo brand and a roadster with a different engine and styling for Mazda.

    The cars will be built at Mazda's plant in Hiroshima. Both will be based on a new version of Mazda's MX 5, the car that Mazda is best known for.

    Business headlines

    The Indian rupee hit a record low against the dollar in early trade on Wednesday.

    The Indian currency fell to 55.82 rupees against the US dollar, down from 55.39 on Tuesday.

    The slide comes amid concerns that slowing growth and a high rate of inflation may hurt India's economy.

    Lenovo, the world's second largest PC maker, has reported a big rise in annual profits thanks to strong demand for its products in China.

    Beijing-based Lenovo made $473m (£300m) in the year to 31 March, compared with $273m in the previous year.

    Japan's exports rose less-than-forecast in April, hurt by a drop in shipments to China and Western Europe.

    Exports rose by 7.9% from a year earlier. Most analysts had forecast growth of close to 12%.

    Reebok India has lodged a police complaint against two former executives, accusing them of commercial and financial irregularities.

    The firm alleged that former managing director Subhinder Singh Prem and ex-chief operating officer Vishnu Bhagat set up secret warehouses, fudged accounts and indulged in fictitious sales.

    It said such activities by the two had resulted in a loss of almost 13bn rupees ($233m; £160m).

    UK defence giant BAE has signed a £1.9bn ($3bn) deal with Saudi Arabia to supply aircraft, including 22 Hawk trainer jets, and training equipment.

    According to trade union Unite, 218 jobs at the East Yorkshire factory where the aircraft is made will now be saved.

    Retail sales volumes in the UK fell by 2.3% in April, largely because of a record fall in petrol sales, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

    Sales of fuel were down by 13.2% in April. In March, motorists had panic-bought petrol ahead of a threatened tanker driver strike.

    Sales of clothing and footwear were also affected by April's record rainfall.

    Luxury fashion retailer Burberry has reported strong growth in annual profits as it continues to expand around the world.

    Pre-tax profits were up 24% to £366m, with sales also up 24% to £1.86bn.

    The company said the Asia Pacific region accounted for 37% of both retail and wholesale revenue. The firm plans to invest £200m this year and open 12-14% more space.

    The latest Business Daily podcast considers the impact that a slowdown in China could have on the rest of the world.

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