So are you Happily Unmarried? A phrase that manages to bring a smirk on most of the faces! And same was the idea behind Happily Unmarried – to be outlandish, humorous and to touch several “smiles stones”.
Founders Rajat Tuli and Rahul Anand, post-graduates from the renowned Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad started their company as a destination for unmarried people looking to settle in the city on their own. “ When we were single, nothing was working for us ”, quotes Rahul Anand, pointing to the reason behind Happily Unmarried. They focused to come up with a product in every category that is dull and boring and inject in it vitality and fun. The initiative wasn’t started with huge plans or a lofty vision or a target milestone. Moved by their own plight, they decided to provide utilities like rented accommodation, mattresses and curtains etc – the basic needs of the young people to set up their homes. And this is how Happily Unmarried was born in 2003.
But it didn’t work out the way they had planned it. This sector was completely unorganized and they were too small to change it. They decided to do away with their services and focus on products instead. The idea was to come up with products for single people – a market they felt in India was untapped. Nobody was targeting the segment which was young, emerging and single. There was nothing for unmarried people. Everything from movies to holidays was targeted to the needs of families and children.
Currently retailing online and stores in all the major cities of the country, the founders believe that the product offering, product and packaging design and the brand philosophy differentiates them from others in the same category. With about 120 different product designs as offerings at the moment, they want to add products every month with the primary aim of having 500 pick-off-the-shelf products and then provide franchising opportunities ‘to young people who hate what they do right now.’
They also claim that their biggest challenge was funding; they raised loans, borrowed from their friends and decided to sell a bit of equity. “We were working for a dotcom company which went bust, which is when we started Happily Unmarried with Rs. 50,000 as seed fund” explains Rahul, adding that at that moment the most sensible thing would have been to look for a job when they were not given salaries for six months.
The decision has marvelously worked for them. They have 12 employees and 13 designers who work with them on a project basis, a warehouse and a store in Delhi and Goa.
What has also worked for them is their event ‘Music in the hills’ which they hold twice a year calling all music lovers and anyone who just wants to take a breather. They do it in partnership with Parikrama. MiH has no agenda except to bring together good music, enthusiastic listeners and exotic locations. They have had 8 so far and India’s best bands have performed at Music in the hills. It is the longest running independent music festival.
Business today has ranked them as one of India’s coolest companies and they were even featured in the Limca book of records. Awards are for artists and sportsmen; running a business is its own reward.
As for future plans taking their company public would mean the most to them. It will mean that there are people in the world who trust them with their money and would like to share their dream. The company has been able to grow without compromising on their core values – honesty and originality, the stepping stones to success!! “If there is an idea in your mind, it does not let you focus on anything, it wakes you up in
“If there is an idea in your mind, it does not let you focus on anything, it wakes you up in the middle of the night and makes you dream all day. In that sense you can’t choose to be an entrepreneur, it just happens.