1. What exactly do you do? Simple and non complicated.
I am a Retail Professional with over 17 years’ hands on experience in Retail Strategy, Marketing, Operations and Business Development. I am an Entrepreneur for over six months now and I run a baby care store based out of Chennai by the name “Smiling Baby”. It is an offline store, but am betting heavily on the Omni Channel Retail Model, i.e., to combine online/ offline/ mobile commerce and am working towards it while also trying to raise funds for the venture. Need about half a million USD… Considering Crowdfunding as an option too…
2. Why do you do what you do? Is it to make money, to become famous, to retire, to kill boredom, WHAT?
In Feb. 2014, I was recognized among Top 50 Retail Professionals in India by Asia Retail Congress. Have seen the best and worst of Corporate Life. Have always wanted to build something up, all by myself and hence the idea of Entrepreneurship. My company’s name (Confluence) was coined by me 18 years back when I was still in Undergrad College and I have been eagerly waiting to take the plunge. In the summer of 2014, I just decided to get started. And here I am…
3. Is there anything unique in what you do? And here ‘unique’ can mean anything – doing what’s been done for donkeys years and yet in a more cost efficient manner, or something new in a boring business or line or simply inventing something completely new?
I am in the process of building a regional retail store chain with presence across Tamil Nadu and catering to young parents and parents to-be along with a digital platform. Parenting is all about discovery, one thing at a time every day, every moment as I have realized myself as father of two little girls. And the first few years of parenthood are damn exciting. So, I am trying to make this journey as exciting as possible for others who begin this journey. And to build something a bit different than what is already available in the market is what I am trying to. Am calling it #MissionMarch16 when we will launch it. Watch this space.
4. What happens if this fails?
The idea (of Baby Care Retail) is too strong to fail. I may, however have to shut shop as and when I run out of money. As on date, I am covered for a year and I hope I will be able to raise the funding requirements well in time. God forbid, if this doesn’t work, there are half a dozen ideas that I have up my sleeve. Taking to Academics full time teaching Retail at Colleges and B-Schools, Pursuing PhD in Retail, Setting up a training institute for 10+2 Students for entry level jobs in Retail, Writing a Book on Retail, Retail Consulting to SMEs in Retail and of course, back at a job in Retail. But my current focus is to make Smiling Baby keep smiling for a long time to come!
5. What’s gets you most irritated? And what makes you most happy? (mention anything – private, personal, confidential, if you committed a murder and are felling guilty about it or just what you wanna)
When people don’t keep up their word, it irritates me a lot. I think it is basic courtesy to keep up one’s word. If one is unable to, then he or she should stand up and raise a hand and apologise. A lot of things make me happy. My supporting family – they keep me loved all the time. My friends, who support and encourage me in all my endeavors. Songs and Punch Dialogues of Superstar Rajinikanth on Tv, Radio, Web, Socmed or even a ringtone gets me happy. Filter Kapi is another one. And many others that I keep thanking HIM for.
6. What makes you tick? Why the hell are you doing this?
I have learned a lot of things in Retail from stalwarts of the industry although I claim to know very little about the subject. Have set up the Retail Businesses at Bangalore International Airport, 140 cafes for CCD and 160 Dealerships for Royal Enfield. And a few other things too professionally. I have been teaching at B-Schools for over 9 years and writing columns on www.myretailjourney.com for a few years now and that ensures I remain as updated as I can about the subject. Baby Care Retail is no child’s play. But with what little I have in my back, I guess I would be able to make a bit of a difference to my own as well my investor’s money!
7. Famous last words – if you knew you are going to be hit by a truck tomorrow, what would you like to tell the world (other than crossing the road safely)?
We all come in this world with a return ticket printed with date and time on it. Just that we remain ignorant of the fact most of our life. Life is too short. But the world is too big. I believe that as long as I live, I have “Miles to go before I sleep” and hopefully, if there is another birth, I shall continue this journey from where I left.
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