The author of the book “How Brave I Am” Anu Aunt and co-founder of the million-dollar company and one of the coolest entrepreneurs in the world Varun Agarwal believes that if a person is relaxed and expects everything to happen, they will never happen. “In order to succeed, you need things to happen. You have to do everything yourself if they don’t happen, ”he tells us.
His company, which produces custom hoodies for colleges across India, Alma Mater, serves more than 4,000 colleges across the country in 200 different cities. He says the company’s current goal is to become profitable and more responsible. Apart from Alma Mater, he is also promoting the seedling challenge, an initiative to make Bangalore green again.
Defeat it. He has been doing this since he was 22 years old. Varun says the excitement is that he’s an entrepreneur, that he’s always wanted to do it, and that people appreciate it. At the same time, he is not happy. “The happier you are, the more motivation you lose. If you ask me how I feel, well … I feel hungry and need to do so much more, ”he says.
He believes that many young people have become entrepreneurs in the last couple of years, but most of them just want to make money easily – an idea he does not approve of. “Please do not create a startup if you do not admire it and do not mock someone else’s idea. Try to solve a real problem, because it is in business. Do not depend only on funding;” does not determine the success of the company, “- he warns. On the other hand, many startups are also closing, and Varun says the main reason is the lack of original ideas.
The government initiative Start up India, Stand up India is what Varun likes. “I am very happy that the government is promoting entrepreneurship. Certain mental clubs are formed that give people so much knowledge. You also need to give them an idea of reality. I think these initiatives in the long run help the country… run, ”he says.
In a free conversation, he spoke about his work, about his now famous hoodies, and about the fact that another book is being prepared. Excerpts:
What is the work culture at Alma Mater?
We have really young people; the average age of the employee is 23 years. We do not have strict working hours as such. People come in, do work and go. Music will be played most of the time. It’s almost like a college canteen, but with work.
Do your employees also wear Alma Mater hoodies?
Yes! Not only hoodies, they also wear our t-shirts. Also, since we have launched a feature where you can customize one piece, many people buy them according to their interests and hobbies, even our staff.
Do you wear your own hoodies?
Of course. I love wearing them. The very first sweatshirt we did six years ago had “Cottonian” written on it. I still have and I still wear.
For meetings too?
If it’s cold, yes! But you can’t wear them all the time. But given the current weather in Bangalore I began to wear them often.
Are there any unexpected places where you found the Alma Mater hoodies?
I always see young people in our hoodies and I try to approach them and ask where they get it from. It’s always an honor to see. The very first time my friend and I saw a random guy walking in our sweatshirt after we set up the company was the most memorable. This was where we discussed the idea. Then we realized that the company was working.
You said your parents were not very good with the launch plan. Are they happy now?
Yes. They are very happy. The whole trend has changed now, hasn’t it? Now every parent wants their child to be an entrepreneur, which is a very dangerous sign. We don’t know what happens when someone becomes an entrepreneur. This is not an easy task. They just read about things and see that money is coming to them. I hope people who want to be entrepreneurs understand that this is a lifestyle, not a career. If and until you’re ready for something, don’t jump into it.
Can we expect a second book soon?
My second book is almost ready. I also write down my thoughts that will one day become a book. The first book was about how we started the campaign. The second will talk about the struggle after the creation of the company. The problems we faced, the problems that arose, the funding, the management of personal relationships, the communication with employees and what we thought we would never deal with. Aunt Anu is also present. It’s a sequel, and of course it’s a strong character.
What do you do on the weekends?
I usually relax with my friends. I mostly travel with reports. I love doing it. I enjoy telling stories that inspire people. I have never had such an opportunity.
Tales of an aunt
Well, not quite. But Anu Auntie has been an integral part of Varun’s entire “start with my own company” trip, so anyone who has read the book feels connected to it in a strange way. Varun wrote this book about how they set up their company, Alma Mater, and where it came from and became a national bestseller, making Varun a youth sensation in many ways
One day in the life of Varun Agarwal
I get up, check my email and go to the office. It’s pretty close to my house, so I usually take a quick walk to my office and just make sure everything works well, check all the teams, hold meetings, and then write a little. I write every day. I am working on a book I am writing. I’m also working on video ideas and catching up on the latest trends, news, watching videos and checking out what’s viral on Youtube. “
Varun believes it is very important to have Jugaad.
Moreover, you need to fuss before they come out.
Things Varun does to relax
- Watch movies
- Watch TV shows like GOT and “House of Cards” on netflix
- Catching up with friends over a drink
Reading books. He enjoys visiting Blossoms Bookstore on Church Street and finds new books. Although he prefers printed copies over the Kindle, he is now fascinated by a wealth of scholarly literature, especially William Dalrymple’s books. “It’s really interesting to read about what the Indians have achieved over the last 300 years, but little has been said about it,” he says.