Gone is the era of brands like Chanel and Gucci ruling the shopping world. This is the era of affordable luxury.
According to yourdictionary.com: “Affordable luxury is an alluring good or service with a steep but affordable price.”
So these “affordable luxury” brands are telling us that they are going to provide us with goods that are comparable to the best products of Porsche and Rolex at a price that the common person can afford?
What are these brands? What is the idea behind affordable luxury? Is it real or just another marketing tactic to fool people?
Luxury in its Primitive Meaning
Just by definition, luxury in its primitive form is “excessive”.
It’s something scarce, made from the best of quality products, and has a sky-high price tag which only a person with a 10-digit salary cheque can afford.
These are products made for the finest of raw materials and have the highest standards for the use of their textiles, leathers, and craftsmanship.
If we go by the definition above, the entire craze about “affordable luxury” is just a play of words.
It is something that only the higher section of the society, the financially privileged people, could afford.
It is there to distinguish between the privileged and the lesser-privileged.
It’s Not Just The Brand Name, It’s The Quality
Think about Chanel, Gucci, and other prominent brands. It’s common among the masses that it’s the tag of these brands on their products that makes them different.
But can a tag justify the long life span of a commodity?
Most of the luxury products in the market have a long lifespan which not only makes them a hot item but also a one-time investment.
Lets share a story of a person who owned a Mercedes S550. The car was bought in 2007 and the owner sold it when it had travelled about 150,000 miles in 2017. Now, even when the car is at its 3rd owner, it’s still running strong.
That’s the beauty of a luxury brand. The higher price does not only define the long legacy of a brand but the fine quality of the product.
It’s a one-time investment that runs for a long time bringing customer satisfaction.
The motive is to generate an opinion among the masses that spending such money isn’t a bad idea.
Never on Sale, Never on Discount!
Has Porsche or Prada ever put up a sale? Or the grand items that are sold at auctions put up at discount? Well, no!
As strange and unbelievable it may read, it is common for big brands to destroy their prized products just so that the authenticity of their brand can be maintained.
So how is it possible that on one side, possessions worth millions are destroyed instead of being made accessible to the general public, and on the other side some brands claim that the common person can pay for it?
That’s where the dirty marketing gets born!
The Essence of Affordability
Due to the rise in the demand for luxury brands, the market runners have been issuing a new trend.
The idea of affordable luxury is not just on paper but is an actual scenario that’s news in today’s world.
The new monsters in the market like Coach, Kate Spade, etc have been claiming that their products are luxurious and are available at a rate that even the common man can afford!
Now the doubt that arises here is, if it’s luxury, then how can the common man access it?
Brands are definitely known for their prices. Luxury products have sky-high rates so that they can’t be easily accessible to the middle-class public.
As already mentioned that luxury in the raw form is scarce, then what is the motive behind the idea of making luxury affordable?
Also read: Best Luxurious Eco-Resort in India
Is it Noble?
Now, what would your reaction be when you hear that you can wear shoes comparable to Nike Mag self-lacing trainers that are worth about 200,000 dollars at a cheaper rate?
People would be swooning over such a hot commodity. The whole stock would be sold in seconds without any marketing.
But ever thought that the artifact that you bought at a cheap rate, thinking that it’s a brand product, could actually be a hoax?
It could, in reality, be a marketing strategy played by the companies to get their product sold?
Thinking about it deeply, Even the thought that such an expensively priced product is sold at an “affordable” rate is funny!
Don’t take the legitimacy of this article wrong, it’s good news that something cheap could compare to the rate of diamonds.
The bad news here is that affordable luxury hurts the legitimate brands whose motive is to provide the best.
Not only that, they lead wannabe luxury brands to be termed as cheaters, even if their products are not that bad, ultimately harming their reputation.
Affordable Brand Vs Luxury Brands
With a real luxury brand the most important factor is its dream equation. This dream equation depends upon the availability and the demand of the product.
The real luxury products in the market are made in small numbers and are only made available to customers who are willing to pay for the excellent quality materials.
These are the people who are willing to satisfy the short supply of these products and pay a lot, just to display them at their homes.
The minute these products start getting produced in greater numbers in order to be made available to the common public, they lose the authenticity to be called luxury.
Affordable luxury runs on the idea to merge the mediocre brands with the best, and such an idea does not result in a pretty scenario of “equality”.
There’s a strong difference between the actual luxury brands and these affordable luxuries. It’s their comparison that cements peoples’ opinion one way or another.
So the “noble” idea to make luxury affordable to all, well it’s not really that noble!
The Cycle of Repairing and Wearing!
Taking a hypothetical case of Ananya. Ananya is a normal worker with a monthly pay-cheque of rupees 50,000.
She saves for months and buys a watch for her father. The watch is from an affordable luxury brand and claims to compare with many luxury brand masters in the market.
Now of course the cost of this affordable luxury can not compare with the Rolex watches but these cannot be claimed cheap, too.
The watch looks good, her father is teary by the gift and everyone’s happy. And now the circle of “affordability” starts.
After some time when the “luxurious” watch stops working, Ananya’s father spends some money to repair it.
It’s not really disappointing as a few bucks are nothing against the value of a luxury product, but you know what’s disappointing?
It is the scenario during which the father will continue to repair the watch everytime it breaks down, thinking that it’s a luxury item so it’s okay to spend on it.
The cycle of repairing and wearing will continue and ultimately after sometime the total expenditure on the “brand” product is going to exceed the total expenses needed to buy a real luxury product.
This is the sad reality behind these quasi-brands. They claim to be affordable and yet are sufficiently expensive.
And the fact that they have a much shorter life span compared to a real luxury product proves that they’re a myth!
Know What an Oxymoron is?
Ever heard about an open secret? A secret that is known to all. A conversation, incident, or fact that is secret just in words but already known to all.
That’s the exact figure of speech used to define the term “affordable luxury”.
It’s a commodity that is affordable by all and yet known to be a luxury, so sorry to break your dream, dear reader, but the idea of being able to buy luxury at a cheap rate is not attainable.
The product you buy is just luxurious in words.
The oxymoron “affordable luxury” is a myth that should be dismissed forever, and instead, the affordable items should be termed as what they actually are.
Giving The Premium Items Their Desired Place
Anyone who’s bought affordable luxury products from the market, knows that their quality isn’t that bad.
Yes, it’s true that these quasi products are like peasants in front of the aristocrats like Prada, but if they are compared to the local products, sold in small shops, they don’t lose at all.
So why not instead of using an oxymoron to describe them, call them for what they are?
The idea is not to blend the best and the mediocre but to keep the best at best and the ordinary at ordinary. This is where the premium commodities come to play.
The quasi-brands attempt to condition the choices of customers and make them buy the low quality premium items under the hoax of “luxury”.
Well not to defame them, but it’s not like marketing them as premium could turn out to be a bad thing.
Why Affordable Luxury And Not The Real One?
After understanding the difference between the affordable luxury and real luxury, the one question that might have arisen in everyone’s mind.
Why is there a need for affordable luxury and Why does India not produce its own luxury brand?
The answer to that is the mentality of people here. The market owners know that there is negligent presence of big brands here.
Indians have a value conscious mentality. The drive to shop for something does not run on the idea of acquiring an asset but if that asset is going to be useful for them or not?
Indians do know that they can use their brand products as a status symbol yet chose not to buy them due to their exorbitant prices.
It is due to this that the tactics of affordable luxuries are born. At the same time the need to understand the real meaning of these affordable luxuries arises.
When people will know the difference between the affordable luxury products and the real luxury products, awareness will rise, along with the desire to own them.
India rather than using the tactics of “affordable luxury”, might through diligence and hard work, be able to build a Chanal and Gucci of its own.
Luxury is meant to be appreciated, regarded, relished, delighted in, and secured.
Genuine luxury has an expense and is an incredible satisfaction all by itself, so people should discover it and audaciously value it!
Private Company vs Public Company
The difference is more than literal
Do you know why you cannot buy shares of a private company?
So, can you only buy shares of a public company like ONGC, IRCTC, Indian Oil, etc.?
Then why are the shares of private companies like Infosys and Wipro listed on the stock exchange? Are these private companies to begin with?
Do you know a private company cannot have more than 200 members?
OMG! Somebody please answer all these questions.
Yes, the difference is more than literal.
Let us have a cut and dried distinction between a private and a public company.
Definition of Company
Let us take the bull by its horns and get the definitions out from the textbooks.
Companies Act 2013
A company is a legal entity that is formed by different individuals to generate profits through their commercial activities.
Majorly, a company can be classified into two strands- public company and private company.
Before knowing the difference between a public company and a private company, it is of utmost importance to check on the definitions of a public company and a private company as per the Companies Act 2013.
According to the Companies Act, 2013, a “public company” is a company which—
(a) is not a private company
(b) has a minimum paid-up share capital of five lakh rupees
According to Section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, private companies are those companies whose articles of association restrict the transferability of shares and prevent the public at large from subscribing to them.
According to the Companies Act 2013, a public company has to mandate all legal proceedings which are not mentioned in the definition under Section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, which pertain to a private company.
Difference Between a Public And Private Company
Let’s look at all the major pointers which differentiate a public Company and a private company.
Minimum Number of Members
In a public company, a minimum of 7 members is required to form a company; whereas a private company requires at least 2 members to form a company.
Maximum Number of Members
In a private company, a maximum of 200 members can be present to form a company; whereas in a public company there is no such restriction on the maximum number of members to form a public company.
Invitation To Public
A public company can freely invite the public for subscription, which implies it can issue a prospectus. On the other hand, a public company is prohibited from inviting the public for its share capital, which means a private company cannot issue a prospectus.
Number Of Directors
In a private company, a minimum of 2 directors is required; whereas in a public company, a minimum of 3 directors is required.
Transferability Of Shares
There is no restriction on transferability of shares in a public company; whereas in a private company there are complete restrictions on transferability of shares, through its article of association.
A public company must disclose the annual financial report; whereas for a private company, there is no such obligation to disclose their annual report to the public.
Index Of Members
In a public company, it is mandatory to maintain an index of all members in the company, whereas in a private company, it is not needed to maintain the index of its members.
The minimum paid-up capital for a private company is Rs. 1 lakhs; whereas the minimum paid-up capital for a public company is greater than that of a private company. It is Rs. 5 lakhs for a public company.
In case of a public company, it is defined that total managerial remuneration cannot exceed 11% of net profits and in the case of inadequate profit, the maximum amount to be paid is Rs. 87,500. Whereas in a private company there is no such restriction on the maximum cap for directors’ remuneration.
Quorum For Meetings
In the case of a public company, it is mandatory to have a personal presence of five members in a meeting to constitute quorum, whereas in a private company, it requires a minimum of two members to maintain a quorum for meetings.
Below is an array with a list of pointers that differentiates a public company and a private company.
|S.NO||BASIS||PUBLIC COMPANY||PRIVATE COMPANY|
|1||MINIMUM MEMBERS||AT LEAST 7 MEMBERS||AT LEAST 2MEMBERS|
|2||MAXIMUM MEMBERS||NO MAXIMUM LIMIT||CAN’T EXCEED 200 MEMBERS|
|3||INVITATION TO PUBLIC FOR SHARE CAPITAL||POSSIBLE WITH THE HELP OF PROSPECTUS||CAN’T INVITE PUBLIC FOR ITS SHARE|
|4||NUMBER OF DIRECTORS||MINIMUM OF 3 DIRECTORS||MINIMUM OF 2 DIRECTORS|
|5||TRANSFERABILITY OF SHARES||FREELY TRANSFERABLE||RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSFERABILITY|
|6||ANNUAL REPORT||COMPULSORY TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORT TO ROC||NOT A MANDATE TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORT TO ROC|
|7||INDEX OF MEMBERS||MAINTAINING INDEX OF MEMBERS IS MANDATE||NO NEED TO MAINTAIN INDEX OF MEMBERS|
|9||DIRECTORS/MANAGERIAL REMUNERATION||CANNOT EXCEED 11% OF NET PROFIT||NO LIMIT / NO RESTRICTIONS|
|10||QUORUM FOR MEETINGS||5||2|
“The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.”- Benjamin Franklin
It is always better to be well versed with the tools of one’s own trade and the management of the inflows and outflows.
An avid tradesman associates their trade to generate profits and simplify the trade complexities by forming a company. These differences stated above lay down the basics of companies and form a guided path for a better approach to start with a company.
Here Is Why Entrepreneurs Should Go Out and Start Networking
Don’t hide behind. Face your circles. It’s high time you start networking.
We have often watched Hindi films where protagonists aspire to be a rich men as a kid. And hence they start thinking of different business ideas to be successful.
Well, this happens in reality as well. Who doesn’t dream of starting their own business one day, right?
However, business is not as easy as eating a piece of cake. And no, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. or an MBA degree to start a business.
You just need to have clarity of thoughts; about the business idea, sales and marketing, and most importantly, NETWORKING.
Today, everyone needs everything. The circle of needs and demands has become wider. Everything in entrepreneurship is becoming more interconnected. Just like the Past, Present, and Future in the web series “Dark”.
Networking is the one and only way to get to know what’s around you. From having conversations with your parents to your fruit vendors or even your house helps, you never know what brings you to the peak of your business.
We will share our two cents to convince you enough to go out and start networking if you are a budding entrepreneur. Pardon us if these two cents become 4 or more, but you will definitely not regret reading this till the end.
Entrepreneurship And Networking
The first thing that any budding entrepreneur does, while starting their own business, is to spread the word about it.
The first set of people that they talk to are their family, friends, and even banks (for financial purposes). Although these efforts may or may not materialize into something fruitful, you learn a thing or two about the ABCs of networking.
Networking is one way to get clarity of thoughts about your business. It’s like building a blueprint of your business in mind. You not only know the industry better but also get to know the loopholes and healthy shortcuts that will save time and increase efficiency.
In the ABCs of business, “A” stands for “recognizing the needs and expectations of people around you.”
Networking is the first step to recognize the gap between demand and supply. It’s similar to providing electricity to those areas with no light, and the idea and motivation behind it.
So now that you are still reading, let’s go further and discuss the importance of networking in entrepreneurship:
Builds Trust And Respect
You may or may not earn money every day from your business. But once you earn trust and respect in the market, there is no way that people will forget you easily.
It’s a fact.
Earning money is easy.
But earning trust and respect takes more effort.
Networking with your business peers or veterans will get you noticed. Initially, you won’t find them paying heed to you, but once they do, they are never going to leave you.
People believe in aggressive marketing to increase sales and business. But try aggressive networking instead, and there will be no stopping for you in the future.
Remember, making friends in schools and colleges? It’s a similar situation in entrepreneurship, too.
Going social is one way you get confidence in networking with people in the future.
Did you ever come across someone who would go to a restaurant with you and start talking to the waiters and receptionists?
Well, you may feel awkward about it, but that’s their first step to get to know the surrounding market.
Start from a party that you attend, be it a family party or a party with friends. Join a group of your choice and listen to the conversations. Once you get the grip of it, start by putting forth your views and then turn it around to your business idea. This may look boring and slow, but slow and steady will definitely win the race.
Today, there are many millennial-made apps, like Bumble, LinkedIn, etc. that encourage people to build an entrepreneurial network in any industry of their choice. Start posting. Start swiping right to the connections that interest you.
For that matter, you can even join dating apps to build professional connections. Your first conversation about your business will be a good ice-breaker (You’ll thank us later for this pro tip).
Don’t Be Selective In Your Own Circles
A very common mistake that most “choosy” or “picky” people do, is being very selective in deciding who to network with.
Today, almost all industries are interconnected. A top-class hospital will always need catering or food services for their staff and patients. A hotel will always want to have options for good clothes vendors for room and restaurant linen.
So if you limit yourself to one or two industries, and sideline others, chances are that you may lose a lot of opportunities.
Expand yourself. Even if you are not sure about it at first. Take that first call that says “our budget is low”, when you know that you have a different area of expertise to explore.
Your Shyness And Fear Will Only Put You Behind The Race
Entrepreneurship requires you to go “out-of-your-circles” more than going “out-of-the-box”.
You are likely to face uncomfortable situations all the time. You have to become an extrovert if you are a highly introverted person. You can’t hide from people who you dislike. You can’t say goodbye to those people whom you are done working with.
Your fear, your shyness will start putting you behind the race of a successful entrepreneur.
You have to be outspoken. Pave your way and lead it too. Take others along the way and build a huge business “family”.
Remember Abhishek Bachchan in the film “Guru”?
No, you need not be exactly like him, but you are expected to know why to be like him. And take your own decisions from the existing lessons.
It’s A Long Road That Will Definitely Lead You To Your Vision
Networking is a continuous process. You don’t stop after a certain level of achievement.
Starting a business is not enough, you have to keep it running. And for that purpose, you may need to explore your potential networks.
It’s often expected from budding entrepreneurs to network only with business-minded people to start and run a business successfully. What they don’t realize is that business is made by people, for people, and with people.
So start networking – whether virtually, or face-to-face. Get that business idea in place, get started with your plans, and you will surely reach a place where you can write “successful entrepreneur” in your social media bio.
2021’s India Is Atmanirbhar: 10 Desi Unicorn Startups
With 10 startups joining the unicorn club in just 4 months of 2021, is India moving towards Atmanirbhartha?
The Many Firsts of a Fantastic First Quarter of 2021!
The Indian startup ecosystem got an impressive start in the first quarter of 2021. As per Venture Intelligence, Indian startups witnessed the highest investment in two years, and the capital flow was $4.2 billion!
This is not all.
Most of the startups saw a three-fold hike in valuation in their recent funding rounds. And among these, 10 got valued at more than $1 billion.
And hence, the Indian startup ecosystem received its new set of unicorns.
The unicorn story of 2021 is unique.
Because it is the one with many firsts.
The first health tech, social commerce, e-pharmacy, and infrastructure technology that made its way into the unicorn club.
According to the NASSCOM report, India will have 50 unicorns by the end of 2021.
But many industry experts and research firms believe that, if the current rate continues, India would easily surpass this number.
Here is the list of 10 Indian startups that gave 2021 a pleasant start.
- Digit Insurance
- Five Star Business Finance
The Beginning of Unicorn
If you know any entrepreneur personally, you may have an idea how difficult it is to raise the funds for a startup. It is definitely not a cakewalk.
The fundraising usually begins with family and friends. And as the company expands, it approaches angel investors, and then goes for the venture capitalists for the fund acquisition.
Even though it is a tough task for any startup to gain the investors’ confidence, some horses pass this race and achieve the unicorn tag.
For those who are new to the concept of unicorn, it is a startup that has a valuation of $1 billion or more in the venture capital industry. And Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures, coined the term ‘unicorn’ in 2013.
And since then, startups are continuously striving to attain this prestigious status.
India Didn’t Have a Great Start
When Aileen Lee coined the term ‘unicorn’ in 2013, the United States had 39 unicorns.
You may ask, what about India?
There was only one company called InMobi, the mobile-advertising services provider, that could make it to the unicorn club.
India was nowhere closer to the US in the matter of unicorns. The reasons were many:
- Limited funding
- Inadequate infrastructure
- A plethora of social and cultural challenges
- Lack of talent
- College students found entrepreneurship unappealing compared to the management jobs in large IT firms.
- The aspiring entrepreneurs often got rejected by the prospective brides and their families.
India Slowly Picked Up the Pace
Even though India’s unicorn story had a not-so-brilliant start, the current scenario looks promising.
As per Venture Intelligence data, there were only 10 unicorns until 2018, and since then, there has been the addition of 28 unicorns.
For an Indian startup, on average, it would take up to 8 years to turn into a unicorn.
India’s oldest startups, like Naukri.com, MakeMyTrip, and Justdial, which began its operation prior to 2005, took 15 years to achieve the unicorn title.
But this period has shrunk in recent times.
A recent report by Orios Venture Partners shows that the newer technology firms are hitting the billion-dollar mark in less time than their older counterparts.
The younger enterprises such as Swiggy, Rivigo, Razorpay, and Unacademy joined the unicorn club in 5 years on average. Whereas, Udaan, Ola, Electric, and Glance took just 2.4 years!
What could be the reason for this transition?
As per the Orios Venture Partners report, the reason behind the younger startups turning unicorn sooner could be:
- The prior entrepreneurship experience of the founders of these companies
- These founders know how to secure the funds more efficiently
- The growth mindset
There are two other reasons the investors from India, and all over the world, are backing the Indian startups with their funds:
- Indian startups leveraged the changing consumer behavior and quickly tweaked themselves to satisfy the needs of the customers
- These companies started functioning on the fact that “Focus on the market and the customers will ensure your growth”
Will ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ Soon Be a Reality?
India’s honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, raised a clarion call to the country to be self-reliant, aka Atmanirbhar in all senses.
He also outlined the five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat:
- Demography, and
You may ask, how startups can help in making India self-reliant?
The Indian startup ecosystem had a slow and steady evolution from one sector to the other, ranging from IT/ITES to e-commerce, deep technology to hyper delivery networks.
Today, startups also have the most favorable conditions to survive and flourish, starting from the funding, development of regulatory infrastructure, global mergers and acquisitions, the influx of global investors to internationalization.
Do you know what brought this revolution to the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem?
It is the government’s mission to get as many entrepreneurial stories as possible through its programs like Startup India, Stand up India, Digital India, and Vocal for Local.
And the unicorn forms one-tenth of new industries coming into existence every year.
The increase in the number of tech unicorns is driving the investors’ interest in India’s startup ecosystem.
According to a report by NASSCOM, the startups in the technology field alone have created 60,000 direct jobs in 2019.
These data show that, if more startups come into existence, and get support from the investors and from the government, India could see a greater spike in job opportunities.
Atmanirbhar citizens make Atmanirbhar Bharat, don’t you agree?