Entrepreneurs today are all about new ideas, concepts and schemes that they seek to realise in novel ways. They have the pulse of the market which conveys them into the limelight and eventually become sought-after names. This week, You & I talks with many such young entrepreneurs from Hyderabad who have in them the ardent desire to not only make a name for themselves but also enhance that of their city.
After finishing her BTech from VIT, Pranathi Reddy started out as an ace stylist for southern film industry stars like Nagarjuna, Chaitanya Akkineni, Kajal Agarwal, and Anushka Shetty. Pranathi has always had an innate sense of style and a yen for design. After studying at the London College of Fashion, she launched her eponymous label ‘Pranathi Reddy’ in January 2013.
Defining her brand’s aesthetic as contemporary Indian silhouettes blended with a modern spin, she has focused on the use of antique embellishments, patchwork details, and western cuts to ensure each ensemble is relevant; the end result is chic elegance.
The young label has already built its network of discerning customers who look no further than the brand when it comes to choosing the perfect Indian outfits with a modern twist.
An MSc from Manchester Business School, UK, and an MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennslyvania, USA, Vinita is the executive director of the Surana Group of companies. Wearing several hats – business development, expansion strategy, general management of companies in the energy, real estate and finance sectors – she’s made a go of every role.
Vinita recently founded Zenith Plus, a venture focused on start-ups and providing a variety of solutions such as creative digital marketing, technology-based events and strategic consulting for the same. She says, “I love the start-up ecosystem. I have recently started mentoring and coaching young entrepreneurs and all my new endeavours are focused on inspiring them to live a better, more successful and meaningful life.”
She’s on the State Council Board for CII-Telangana, is a managing committee member of the Federation of the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTAPCCI), and is a mentor on the board of the Founder Institute, the world’s largest entrepreneur training and start-up launch programme. Not only is Vinita a successful young entrepreneur and start-up coach, she’s also a motivational speaker, a yoga enthusiast and a classical dancer.
Shweta Keerthi and Nitya Jalan
Set up by Shweta and Nitya, Purple Martini Events deals in event management, PR and brand management. Since its conception in 2014, they’ve successfully organised and executed over 30 events, some of which were lavish ones carried out on a very large platform, such as the Smaaash Hyderabad launch with Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian Luxury Expo, fashion designer Archana Rao’s flagship store launch, the relaunch party for the Diesel store in Hyderabad, and many other designer trunk shows and restaurant openings.
Although they come from different backgrounds, their journey together has been interesting. Shweta who was earlier handling PR and Business Development for the Taj Group of Hotels in Hyderabad, looks after the curation of the events while Nitya who’s from a finance background, takes care of the financial side, and they make a great team! After organising several prestigious events at the Taj, Shweta came to realise that she enjoyed this work and wanted to branch out on her own. It was, however, a casual discussion over lunch when the two came up with the idea of partnering, and there has been no looking back ever since!
Telling us about how they love their work, they say, “Although we are popular faces on the city’s social circuit, it feels great to be recognised for our work. Being a fairly new company and having big brands trusting us with their events is a big motivational factor and gives us a great high.”
Rohan Lepps and Meghna Rao
The talented and dynamic duo, Meghna and Rohan, are the brandchildren of Oh So Stoned – the chain of ice cream joints, Purple Leaf Hotel, and Saffron Mantra. In 2007, while the two were still studying at ISB, the thought of getting into the processed food and gourmet desserts sector cross their minds. However, after marriage they moved to Delhi where Rohan worked as head of brands for several hotels in the advertising and marketing fields, and Meghna was in the financial sector working for a wealth management firm.
They quit their jobs in 2009 and returned to Hyderabad in order to start a chain of boutique hotels for New Age corporates. “Purple Leaf caters to young corporates who want to stay at chic, urban hotels that are easily accessible and comfortable to stay in,” says Meghna. After the success of their first venture, they decided to follow their passion for desserts and start a unique brand of gourmet desserts. Oh So Stoned began in 2013 in Karkhana, serving up quirky and innovative ice creams and desserts for folks who like to try out new things. The brand now operates out of three outlets in the city and is quite a favourite. Given their drive and initiative, expansion plans are on the cards.
Kunal started his journey into body building back in 2003 out of the sheer desire to build up his physique. During this time he was interested in finding better ways of getting fit and skeptic that he is, took time to understand every aspect rather than take them at face value. This led him to meet new people and pick up various nuances. He likes to be called a ‘teacher’ or ‘coach’ instead of a trainer because he ‘teaches’ people the right way of pursuing physical culture and putting their bodies to optimum use. His work goes way beyond training, he says, “A trainer is one who instructs people about what to do in the present, but a coach is one who offers them a bigger picture.” His touchstone is a saying of Thomas Alva Edison: “The doctor of the future will not prescribe medication to cure diseases, but he’d rather prescribe a way of life to prevent diseases in the first place.” Kunal has decided to take his passion to the next level by opening a supplement store called Six Packs and later start his gym – Steel – in Jubilee Hills. His company, Kunal Gir Fitness Solutions Pvt Ltd., undertakes online coaching, personal training, creation of supplements, and also teaching gym trainers. It was Kunal’s hunger and drive that have made him the success he is!