Anjana Reddy named as one of the top 30 e-commerce and retail entrepreneurs in the Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for Asia 2017 is founder of Universal Sportsbiz Pvt Ltd (USPL), which owns the brands Collectabillia, Imara and Wrogn. She is a go-getter who works 18-hours a day, loves cars, cares for eight dogs and builds Lego sets to ease her mind after a hard day’s work. If one meets this 28-year-old on the street they would not be able to tell that she runs a Rs 100-crore business. Nevertheless, her tenacity to succeed is what made her to break away from the beast of legacy that kills many a fertile mind in business families.
In this interview Anjana Reddy talks about her incredible journey to success. Reddy will be delivering the keynote address at an entrepreneur forum organized by The National Human Resources Development Council in Colombo today.
How did you get your idea or concept
USPL started its business venture with its first brand Collectabillia, which is into retail of Memorabillia and fan-based merchandise where the idea was to get the fans closer to their icons. However the venture into fashion happened around Sachin’s retirement where the range of Collectabillia T-shirts was launched for the fans on his retirement and a showcase of their support. The sales numbers were unprecedented and we were stocked-out in no time.
We realized the potential around celebrity fashion and thus the shift and we own three fashion brands.
What product do you offer at USPL?
USPL group a Fashion Retail organization with a list of brands under its portfolio.
WROGN, men’s casual wear inspired and co-owned by Virat Kohli, Imara, a contemporary women’s ethnic brand, Ms.Taken a women’s western wear brand.
Did you have major competitors when you started, how did you plan to compete with them?
Yes, we compete with all the international brands from the likes of Zara, A&F etc., when we started we had a lot of players in the industry competing with us, however we have been confident about our offering. The idea was to create a niche with the positioning of our products offering them at the right price which would be the differentiator for us. Competition is always good and helps to keep a check on our work as well. The grounds are equally levelled and the offering is the differentiator.
What were the biggest hurdles that you had to take as a young woman entrepreneur to start your business and how did you overcome them?
I had a dream and the toughest part was to find people to join me who would help me change the dream into reality. I just had one thing by my side that kept me going, it was not the age, experience or my contacts. It was just the confidence in me that kept telling me that this is a big dream if turned into reality would be revolutionary.
How do you feel working in a Men’s World?
The business environment is fast changing and evolving with every passing day, in today’s day and age when the world talks of equality I think it has helped to change the mindset of people as well. Now what I observe is that there has been a lot of acceptance for a women entrepreneur.
How do you facilitate a positive work environment that attracts and retains talent?
We mostly onboard people with entrepreneurship drive which is most important for a start-up to function. The key driver for each member in our organization is the sensibilities of owing the task/business. Members are the owners of their respective processes and domains and I believe this ensure that there is sustenance.
What is the most influencing factor of your business’ success?
Core values, ethics and the unrelenting ideas to stay true to the brand’s DNA, coupled up with product offering at right pricing.
What advice can you give to the future leaders and young entrepreneurs who are waiting to take over the batten?
Take the plunge, there is never a perfect time.