"My personality development class helped get rid of my fear to speak in public and also made me self-confident. Most importantly it taught me the art of persuasion - getting others to see things as I see them."
Son of Indian Navy’s veteran commander Arvind Singh Raghav and Princess of Koti (Himachal Pradesh) Veera Kumari, Daughter of Late His Highness Devesh Chand, Raghavendera Singh Raghav has always had a knack for luxury. With royalty running in the family, Raghav wanted to make the finer things in life accessible to all. He believes, “No one should sacrifice style for affordability – Fashion is for everyone!”
My Luxury Bargain started when he noticed that the price conscious Indian consumer was increasingly becoming far more brand conscious. He knew that he had to create something that could cater to this price conscious mindset. Months of research made him find a flourishing second-hand luxury goods market on eBay, as well as specialized pre owned luxury e-commerce sites in the US and Middle East. He observed that there was already a proof of concept for what he intended to do, and given the nascent stage of luxury in India, the idea of launching a website on the same lines made a lot of sense.
Raghvendera Singh Raghav shares his entrepreneurial journey and what he learnt along the way.
Q. What ignited the spark in you to start the business? How did the idea for your business come about ?
A. I think a certain restlessness to do something more creative and challenging ignited the spark in me to do something of my own.
I had just given my GMAT and was researching on courses for Masters in Finance in the US when I came across an article on the “Shared Economy” in Bloomberg. This was back in 2014. For some reason the concept of shared economy and its implementation in India really got me thinking. I had always fancied luxury and I wanted to make luxury part of the shared economy. This is how My Luxury Bargain was conceptualized.
Q. What is the best advice you ever got ? From whom?
A. The most effective advice that I got was from a friend who once said “listen to everyone and anyone, but do what you have to do to get the job done”. I am still looking for an advice that I would consider ‘best’ for myself.
Q. "Great leaders are also great speakers” Do you agree? How did your personality development classes help you in your business ?
A. Yes. In fact, I believe that great leaders are great communicators; it's not only what you say but also how you say, your body language when you are saying it and the tone in which you say it.
My personality development class helped get rid of my fear to speak in public and also made me self-confident. Most importantly it taught me the art of persuasion - getting others to see things as I see them.
Q. What are the key elements to starting and running a successful business ?
A. Without doubt understanding, your customer is vital to make your business successful. However, there is one thing that we often miss out on just when we are about to start a business – to create benchmarks. Figure out the best companies that do the same business (or are close enough) that you are about to start. Understand every aspect of their model and make that your benchmark, you have to deliver a website/product/service that exceeds this benchmark.
Before you commit yourself to run a business for the next five years, you must spend at least a thousand hours researching and creating these benchmarks. If one wants to be ahead of the curve she/he must understand the curve.
Q. Marketing is the most important aspect of a business. How do you market your business ?
A. I believe that today’s marketing wars are like A-symmetrical warfare – wherein you don’t fight strength with strength, rather you fight strength with leverage. If my competitor has a good PR team in place I will strengthen my online advocacy. If the competitor is doing brilliant display network marketing I will strengthen my SEO.
Most of our marketing happens online. A mix of social media advertisement, e-mail marketing, influencer outreach, SEO & SEM, online reputation management, and product or portfolio specific campaigns are what we concentrate on. A little offline marketing that we do is tie-ups with restaurants for specific events.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out what would it be ?
A. Actually, there are two pieces of advice that I’d like to give. First is simple- Read 'Zero to One' by Peter Thiel. Second - whenever you ask for advice remember to ask your self first - has that person read what you have, has he understood the market the way you have, has he researched what you have and has he understood the business ecosystem the way you have; be careful who you seek advice from. The best ideas are most often the most difficult to explain.
Q. What motivates you ?
A. A drive to create something substantial.
Q. What is the secret to your daily productivity ?
A. Focus. Having a single focus helps me clear my mind and prioritise my actions. Once this happens, completing tasks become easy and it happens in a flow - ensuring that the day is productive.
Also coffee - it really helps.
Q. Which other company apart from yours do you admire the most ?
Q. Your favourite quote ?
A. "If not you then who? If not now, then when?" – Hillel the Elder
Q. Your favourite designer? Dress?
A. Hubert Givenchy – the founder of the house of Givenchy. Although Coco Chanel is credited for the Little Black Dress; however, the one who made us fall in love with black dresses was Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany and that black dress was a work of Hubert Givenchy.
Q. Your favourite book ?
A. Zero To One – Peter Thiel and
The Mahabharat – Devdutt Pattanaik