Ten years ago, just out of Mudra Institute of Communications, friends Rajat Tuli and Rahul Anand realised that designs for everyday products lacked a youth connect; and in a bid to add colour to all those workaday things, they started Happily Unmarried—a business of selling fun, say the two. The duo design products themselves and everything in their shop comes with its own wacky twist—whether it is the sandaas ashtray, or the doormat that tells you exactly what to leave outside (your ego and shoes!). “The production is the only thing that is outsourced,” points out Tuli.
Having started at a time when ‘funky’ and ‘quirky’ were rarely acted upon, investments were scarce and budgets even tighter, Tuli and Anand chose to sell in the only, ‘free’ way—social media. What started on Facebook with a seed fund of Rs 50,000 and personal loans now has its own website, is on every other online shop and brick-and-mortar stores. “Social media put us on par with big companies that spent a lot of money on advertising and marketing,” say the chirpy partners. Happily Unmarried garnered 7,000 likes almost overnight, and now has almost six lakh likes. “Social media allowed communication, and not one-way comment,” says Tuli. Blogging and Instagram also helped drive traffic onto the website.
Tuli and Anand’s successful marketing strategy included using customer photographs with products as advertisements. “It brought us down from a pedestal that most brands sit on, and made us one with our customers,” says Tuli. The brand now has over 200 products, work with more than 20 designers and have multiple stores.
The two recently came up with a new range—Ustraa—a unique range of grooming products for men, and the brand is a social media baby. “ Ustraa has shot up...because of the social media craze created around the products,” says Tuli. Add to it a formidable word-of-mouth buzz. “So much so, there were Ustraa unboxing videos that were doing the rounds!” Social media has been a great boon, but “you can’t get away with anything,” says Tuli. “Being nominated for the Outlook Social Media Awards ‘New Age Brand of the Year’, just makes our belief in our work on social media, even stronger,” says Tuli.