Published: 27th September 2017
He did the write thing: My mother wondered why I was selling notebooks, says the 27-year-old CEO of three customised notebook companies
This entrepreneur quit his job at an e-commerce site to set foot into the notebook industry. He talks about how he found his love for notebooks not by passion, but by opportunity
Start-ups here. Start-ups there. Start-ups, start-ups, everywhere! The entrepreneurial world is made for anyone who doesn’t fit inside the proverbial box. And Gokulraj Kanagaraj, CEO of MadCap, MyCopie and Hazel, three stationery companies is as out-of-the-box as one gets.
This entrepreneur quit his job at an e-commerce site to set foot into the notebook industry. Wow! He must really like notebooks! But Gokulraj tells us that we presumed wrong. “I had no clue that I would get into the notebooks industry. I always loved cars, bikes and anything that had an engine and wheels. I even dreamt of owning an automobile showroom,” he says.
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“It all began in 2013 when I decided to launch MyCopie notebooks. It was the conviction that students would show love if I give them the right products that drove me towards the industry,” explains Gokulraj, who was a mechanical engineering student.
Reminiscing his college days, he says, "A few of my classmates showed me the essence of hard work and determination. I think that’s what motivates me to be a perfectionist in everything I do."
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And, "Who would say ‘no’ to going back to college?” asks Gokulraj. “Going to colleges with the team and talking about our products was fun. I was surprised to see students, like those from Anna University, working with great dedication," he adds, excitedly. But it wasn’t all fun and games. During their initial days, they were like nomads as they hadn’t signed on distributors.
"I used to stockpiles of notebooks in my bedroom. My mother would wonder why I was selling notebooks and not pursuing a master’s abroad. Like most mothers, she was worried and slightly not-so-proud that I was selling notebooks," says Gokul.
Who would say ‘no’ to going back to college? That too for someone who believes that college days were the best part of their life. Going to colleges with the team and talking about our products was fun
Gokulraj G Kanagaraj, CEO of MadCap, MyCopie and Hazel
MadCap too had experienced a rollercoaster ride during the 2015 Chennai floods, much like every Chennaiite. Their sales channels were affected which led to the lack of stock. "A week after the floods, we started receiving calls and messages on WhatsApp and Facebook, asking for MyCopie notebooks. That is when we realised our strength among the student groups," says Gokulraj.