Sunday, October 20

Student entrepreneur: A tag that fits to a tee

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It all started in 2015 when an IIT-Kharagpur boy found the t-shirts sold by his department seniors during fests steeply priced but not of great quality or design. Aman Kumar (23) of metallurgy and materials department seized the opportunity and decided to start his own “line of t-shirts”, which would be good in quality, have eye-catching graffiti and would be easy on the pocket.

Next year, Kumar and his friends, Debopam Roy and Paras Prateek who became the co-founders of his company, came up with some designs and presented them to a board of selectors. The innovative ideas were an instant winner and Kumar got to sell more than 750 t-shirts in the two fests lined up one after the other. “We saw students wearing branded t-shirts. We thought, ‘Why can’t we make some ourselves?’ We convinced our team and took orders from students and eventually sold more than 750 t-shirts at Rs 300 each,” said the 23-year-old. Kumar used the money earned from the sales to buy machines and fabric so that they could take more orders in future.

Thus TEESHOOD was formed, a startup success story that began with zero capital. Its current monthly earning is Rs 12 lakh to Rs 13 lakh.

Running a company while studying at IIT is naturally not easy. “After my classes end around 2pm, I take a train to Kolkata to check on printing work,” said Kumar. But what was more difficult for the IITian was to convince his parents of his venture. “I did not tell my parents about the company when I was in my first year. When my father learnt about it eventually, he said no to it straight away. ‘Did you go to IIT to sell T-shirts?’ was his argument,” Kumar said. But the youngster was not ready to give in or give up. He continued to slog and soon, the company started making a name for itself and brought in money. As the company grew, Kumar’s father, himself a businessman who started with zero capital and went on to own multiple electronics stores in the city, asked him to work with him so he could learn more about finances.

Headquarted in Kolkata, TEESHOOD currently has its units in Jamshedpur and Bangalore. As the sales grew, rather shot up, instead of outsourcing, the company started manufacturing the products at its own factories in Kharagpur and Chennai. Every month, TEESHOOD sells around 1,800 t-shirts, each priced between Rs 180 and Rs 450. “We mostly cater to students and corporates. So, we have kept the rates affordable,” said Kumar, now in his fourth year.

One of the biggest selling points, according to the young entrepreneur, is that they get 60%-70% returning customers, thanks to the product quality assurance they offer on t-shirts for one year.

 

Source: Times of India

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