On a bright sunny day earlier this February a shy Arjun walked slowly up to his former employer wearing a quizzical look in his eyes. He neither wanted his old job back nor did he come with a buy recommendation for his friend.
Arjun merely begged of his former boss a few seconds of his wisdom. At his persuasive best, he would not take a negative for an answer.
Well aware that time was at a premium, he lined up all his queries like a staccato fire. And answers he did manage, that too to his satisfaction. A not so amused ex-boss though wondered how and why Arjun chose him for the task. No sooner had the brief classroom session ended, a confident Arjun set out on his new journey and the makeshift tutor got pre-occupied by the routine.
This was until Arjun showed up in full colour ready for the kill at a busy intersection outside a prominent east Delhi residential housing society. This was February 14. The riot of colours that engulfed Arjun and his young team of executives gave him a new aura as he got down to business: firing love darts using roses.
From a car washer to being a personal driver until recently Arjun had done a full circle. He had shunned the safety of a regular job to embrace entrepreneurship leading the change from the front as the chief executive of his ‘roses for every emotion’ business.
Valentine Day this February indeed was the big day that his dream love would blossom. He wore the typical disarming salesman smile to sell roses as no less than diamonds. And he did it with élan. It was indeed a sterling performance from a man who knew little beyond keeping the steering in control.
Having learnt his tips well, discounts were a pucca no! Not even to his former employer and in this case the part time tutor who led him to his big date this Valentine. Arjun merely had a big ‘Thank You’ to say for the opportunity he got to slice into the estimated Rs 12,000 crore or $ 2.6 billion (Assocham survey) Valentine business this year in India.
Estimates put India to be among top valentine markets globally due to its demographic dividend: Two third of population is under 35, the average Indian is expected to be only 29 years old in 2020 as against 37 in China and US. An estimated 333 million is the number of young literate Indians that Arjun and many like him stand a chance to shower roses on.
Arjun obviously is not alone to have a change of heart; there are many like him who are slowly but steadily shaping up their first love: entrepreneurship courtesy the retail boom. No numbers are forthcoming though, for Arjun and many like him, are yet to encounter any ‘sarkari’ interface’. Luckily so!
But on the ground the Indian retail boom is at about $ 500 billion and counting. 90 per cent of this is from the informal zone Arjun represents. Damn the mom and pop versus organised retail debate! Every nook and corner here offers a business opportunity.
A Citi global report has just estimated that India is set to replace Japan as the third largest economy on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis in the world by 2015 and be the largest economy by 2050 at nearly USD 85.97 trillion up from USD 3.92 trillion in 2010.
Arjun, meanwhile, has got busy readying his brand new sales pitch: Say Namaste with roses!