By Malvika Khatri W’08; President, Penn Club of Mumbai; Events Chair, Wharton Club of India
On October 6, 2013, the Penn Club of Mumbai and the Wharton Club of India were proud to host The Bazaar Brunch. Open exclusively to Penn and Wharton alumni and their families, the Bazaar served as a platform to encourage and promote entrepreneurship from the Penn and Wharton community in India. There is tremendous entrepreneurial talent among our alumni in India, and we wanted to showcase the range of ventures—and give a chance for everyone to network!
The Bazaar included these terrific alumni enterprises:
An Indian Couture Line by Aarti Kochhar (ENG’11)
Aarti is a consultant by day and an entrepreneur by night. Her keen sense of fashion design has helped her build a blossoming line of beautifully hand-crafted Indian traditional wear. Her designs at the Brunch were a hit with all the ladies, who were seen inquiring about orders for the upcoming festive season of Diwali (the Hindu New Year)!
AnonymousCo.com – Juveca Panda (ENG’10)
Anonymous Co. is an online fashion retailer that provides the aspirational Indian woman with affordable fashion. While the website caters to the needs of its fashion forward customers through its home grown brand Anonymous Co., it also provides a tempting selection of products from upcoming brands and designers. Juveca showcased an array of accessories from her website that were loved by our young and fashion-forward alumni.
bedbathmore.com – Amit Dalmia (W’98)
Bedbathmore.com is India’s first dedicated online shopping portal in home furnishing and lifestyle segment. Bed.Bath.More understands style and comfort and aims to help Indian consumers make their homes a better place to live in. On display at the Bazaar were top-of-the-line home furnishings and linen from Bed.Bath.More.
Hector Beverages – Neeraj Kakkar (WG’10)
Hector Beverages are, in their own words “the people bringing the functional beverage revolution to India!” Makers of the highest selling Indian energy drink Tzinga – that contains natural ingredients such as lemon and ginseng and choice fruit flavor, Hector is often heralded as one of the coolest start-ups in India. Hector Beverages is rapidly expanding and the founders plan to have a retail presence in the country’s top 30 cities. Their website states: “Hector Beverages is a foolish idea. A new entrant, in an unproven space, out to take on giants with the deepest of pockets.” However, it is evident that this foolish idea has turned into a flourishing business proving the reference to Greek Mythology to their company name on their website that they “know that Achilles does not have the most powerful heels.”
At the Brunch, Hector had on display their newly launched PaperBoat Drinks. Their kiosk saw a lot of traffic with alumni children and parents sampling the delicious locally flavored (Aam Ras/Mango and Jal Jeera Masala) drinks and making paper boats for a good cause. The branding on the tetra packs and on social media is interestingly positioned towards invoking nostalgia of childhood memories and simpler times. (Editor’s Note: Hector Beverage was a finalist in the 2010 Wharton Business Plan Competition.)
Hokey Pokey Ice Cream – Rohan Mirchandani (WG’12)
“Fun, it’s what we believe in,” says the Hokey Pokey website. And Hokey Pokey’s bazaar kiosk definitely infused a whole lot of fun into the Brunch with Rohan Mirchandani encouraging alumni of all ages to try out his delicious ice cream and toppings. Hokey Pokey was the first ice cream parlor in Mumbai which gave customers the freedom to create their own ice cream flavors through custom mixing ice creams on a cold stone slab. Hokey Pokey has since expanded, introducing the larger Indian audience to its ice creams by setting up parlors in more areas of Mumbai as well as cities like Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat and Bangalore.
One Thousand Petals Jewelry – Angana Shroff (C’93)
Angana designs, produces and markets unique studio jewelry. Her strong design aesthetic and statement wristbands and necklaces adorned with religious symbols and crystal embellishments were admired and appreciated by all the alumni attendees.
Pico India Gourmet Foods – Asheesh Malaney (W’93)
Pico India showcased its packaged gourmet food products business at the Bazaar. Alumni loved Pico’s hot chili oils, mango dips, and various other appetizing condiments. Asheesh’s fund, Nilgai, runs Nilgai Foods which under the brand name PICO, operates in three different verticals of the burgeoning food industry in India, integrating back end food production with customer facing Cafes and Express outlets. PICO branded products are inspired by recipes and cultures found across the globe, whether they are dishes on Pico’s fine dining Cafe menus or the jams and marinades that help Indian consumers prepare exotic meals at home.
Pipa & Bella (pipabella.com) – Shuchi Pandya (WG’12)
Pipa & Bella, founded by Shuchi, is a revolutionary social-selling company, offering trendy fashion jewelry to women in India. Their innovative social shopping concept combines the best of e-commerce, social media, personal service and great rewards. Pipa & Bella also provides entrepreneurial opportunities to Indian women by making the jewelry available exclusively through online shopping and Trunk Shows run by Independent Stylists. These Stylists receive the opportunity to run their own jewelry business while Pipa & Bella manage the backend, from sourcing to shipping to PR. Shuchi’s table at the Bazaar saw tremendous activity and interest from all the alumni present.
shop.inonit.in – Namrata Kothari and Meghna Mittal (both W’06)
InOnIt offers online shopping solutions across India and internationally from India’s favorite indie labels, independent brands and designers. The website hosts a wide range of affordable and trendy products for women, men, kids, and the home, with unique handpicked merchandise, that has been carefully selected by Namrata and Meghna. Their website offers select products from over 100 independent designers and homegrown labels like QuirkBox, India Circus, Chumbak, Bushirt, The Big Bag Theory, The Elephant Company and a constantly growing list of new and upcoming designers.
At the Bazaar Brunch, shop.inonit.in had on display exceptionally trendy and kitsch home décor items and accessories that were lapped up by many who thought they made ideal gifting options for the Indian festive season.
Sweetish House Mafia – Anonymous Wharton Alumna
The anonymous alumna behind Sweetish House calls herself Mumbai’s “secret purveyor of all things sweet.” An ex-investment banker turned baker, she delivers sweetness in the form of cookies and cupcakes made using only premium ingredients. Her business model scores full marks on all the 4 P’s of marketing – Quality Product: (the Nutella filled sea-salt cookies have been often likened to heaven!); Moderately Priced: making them accessible to all demographics and especially young college students; Place: these smart cookies travel to consumers in Mumbai’s hip and happening spots in a Tata Nano (India’s smallest and most fuel efficient car!); and Extensive Promotion on Social Media: delivery dates and times are announced to digitally connected fans and followers a day in advance on Facebook and Twitter!
Sweetish House Mafia’s participation in the Brunch was unique in that it was the only enterprise that was located outside of the Brunch venue in a cute white and blue Tata Nano delivery vehicle.
Bhandare Opticians – Rhea Bhandare (C’06)
The family-run business of Penn alumnus Rhea Bhandaregave our alumni a chance to make a difference at this Brunch by way of the Bhandare Opticians donation box. Rhea’s business has launched a new initiative to donate frames and sunglasses to India’s urban and rural impoverished areas and to physically challenged children from lesser income households. Alumni and their family members were encouraged to bring their spare or old glasses to the Brunch to donate to this cause.
The success of the Bazaar Brunch would not have been possible without the stellar efforts of the Penn and Wharton Club committee members, our alumni donor Poorvi Choothani, a Penn Law grad who generously sponsored 2 exquisite gifts for the raffle prize, our brand partners Glenmorangie, All Things Nice, and Jean Claude Biguine.
It is our hope to make The Bazaar Brunch an annual event wherein alumni entrepreneurs get the opportunity to introduce their products and new businesses to the Penn and Wharton communities, enabling our strong Indian alumni network to support their ventures.
Bio: Malvika Khatri was born and raised in Mumbai. After graduating from Wharton, she worked briefly in investment banking in New York, followed by a stint in film production. She is currently back in Mumbai working in a business planning role at Disney UTV Studios (part of The Walt Disney Company). Malvika is an active member of the Penn Club of Mumbai and Wharton Club of India committees. Her other interests include cinema, travel, reading, and cooking.