Saturday, 1 March 2014

Sweet Success Story of Mr.Avinash - Founder "Love for Choco" by Malavikka

Sweet Success Story of 
Mr.Avinash - Founder Love for Choco
By Malavikka Sridharan

It is easy to take up a business. But it demands some qualities to sustain in it. I’m a post graduate journalism student confined to my areas of writing. I hardly knew about business until I happened to interview Avinash Vasanth, the owner of an online chocolate store “Lovefor Choco”.  

First Generation Entrepreneur:

Avinash was an engineering graduate and an enthusiastic entrepreneur. He was not from a family of business people. But there was something that made him different from other engineers. He was not interested in engineering. The idea of being a leader excited him more than computers leading him into employment. He was willing to fail.

Baby Steps into Business:

He started the venture as a student, with an idea to start a journal that featured the events of various colleges. Being an amateur, he and his friends had planned to release just five books for publication until he realized that it doesn’t work that way since publishers order a minimum of 100 books and that each book would cost Rs.150 accounting to an investment of Rs.15,000 per month. Since they were students, they did not have that much of money to invest. Since his home town was Tirupur, a district which is famous for cotton market, he thought to try out his hands on T-Shirt business. With the minimum amount he had in hand, he and his friend bought T-Shirts from there and tried to sell it in Chennai. With the help of his friends, he was able to sell a considerable number in the beginning. But as time passed, he realized that a market needed a bigger circle than just friends and since the orders were in bulk, he could not sell the T-Shirts again to the same set of people. Moreover, he had to concentrate on studies and could not handle this business.

Birth of Love for Choco:

By the end of his final year, he was determined to do something worthwhile that would put him strongly into business. He took a survey from his friends to know if people were in need of anything that was not available in Chennai. A friend of his wanted some exotic chocolates for her friends from Bangalore. Avinash did a research on chocolates and found that it was an innovative idea to supply chocolates for special occasions. This concept was popular in the West but new to India and hence the idea was born for a serious business. But being fresh out of college, he had only his pocket money to spare with which he could not afford to rent or buy a shop.

This gave him the idea to start an online store. But before that he needed to have the necessary products for sale and he had to search for someone who could make chocolates. He flipped through the newspapers, sought the help of his friends and found out an article that had been featured in DC seven years ago about Ms.Chitra, who made quality chocolates. He immediately approached her for help. Initially she was reluctant to accept the offer and claimed that she was no more into that business. But Avinash persuaded her assuring an order of at least 100kg of chocolates per month and offered a trial for one month. She finally agreed to the trial although she was doubtful about how flourishing the business would be. 

Being an engineer himself, with the help of his engineering friends, he designed his own website “Love for Choco”. After one month of marketing through friends and the website, he managed to get orders for 60 kg of chocolates in the second month and this surprised Chitra which made her make chocolates in full fledge for the company.

Free Door Delivery of Chocolates:

Image Source:
One of the marketing strategies that he used was free home delivery, anywhere within Chennai. As soon as he introduced this scheme, he got an order for Rs.160, outside Thiruvallur, which was 40 Km away from his place. His petrol charges were Rs.300, which was higher than the cost of the order. Still, he was willing to do it for the sake of establishing a relationship with the new customer. Although it was a prescribed criteria mentioned in the site that orders must be placed minimum 24 hours prior the specified time, there were customers who gave a very short notice before their specified time and Avinash obliged them also. Once, there was a corporate order which required the delivery of chocolates in 15 cities. He was promised a 50% payment in prior, but received only 25% of the prior payment. He neither pressurized the financial crunch on his employees nor the customers but managed to pay Chitra and give salary for his employees with his own money and patiently waited for three months until he got the full payment.

The Dedication......

The next month, he met with an accident and was advised by the doctor, to take complete rest for two months. But Avinash did not budge to it, he spite the rains and his health and travelled every day to deliver chocolates. He believed in giving his customers the personal touch with a gesture of sweetness packed along with the chocolates. Even when he issued free chocolates, people were reluctant to taste it for the fear of being poisoned. He had to convince people to choose his brand through it’s design, quality and service. His happiness laid in the delight of his customers.

During Diwali they had lot of orders, but since it was a rainy season, transportation was difficult, the coco powder which was imported didn’t reach on time and he had to face a loss of Rs.50,000. As a leader, he took the blame for the mismanagement and maintained the team spirit by not letting down his colleagues with the blame game. He did a lot of mistakes right from the start of his career and learnt from them. He even announced free supply of chocolates if they were not delivered on time and in a month did eight free deliveries since he could not make it on time. That de-motivated his employees to deliver the goods lately and since then his deliveries have been punctual.

He knew that his relatives would discourage him if he revealed about his venture and kept it to himself for a couple of months. Even his parents knew about it only two months after the business started. Since then they had been supportive to him in his endeavours. Couple of years ago, he started with a capital of Rs.2,000 and now, he gets a turnover of around Rs.3,00,000 per month.

His Other Ventures:

Having achieved this, he wanted to prove himself worthy of his education as well and joined his friend in creating a website that offers IT enabled services. He also partners in a business that requires the supply of dental equipment for colleges and his profits have been used for investment into the three businesses he does, the fact being that he has decided not to take any profits for his personal use until the business booms big time. He has the true spirit of entrepreneurship, he did not do it just for the sake of money, and believed that money will seek him when he sought his passion.

Contact Details of Love for Choco:

Contact Number: 74015 10226 / 74015 10227

About the author (Malavikka Sridharan):

MalavikkaSridharan is an engineering graduate, pursuing her masters in communication. She is an eager writer whose passion lies in poetry, fiction and non-fictional story writing. She has published her writings in newspapers and books. Her style of non-fiction is mostly for children and occasionally for adults. She is presently a intern at The Hindu Business Line. She has interned at The New Indian Express and also explored the styles of writing for a newspaper. Kindled by creative writing by having the privilege of a wonderful library at school, her passion came from various authors like Wordsworth, Conan Doyle and Anna Sewel. Since the emergence of facebook notes, she prefer it more to blogging. You can spot her old works at

Thursday, 21 November 2013

‘’Way to home I across by…’' - A Guest Post by Simran Kaur

‘’Way to home I across by…’'

Way to home, satchel on my back

School is over for today, road, my track!

I was told at school not just to look at things

But to observe, being a science student, a blaring cling !

There is sensitivity in me that fails to procure with the subjects I learn

Living a life, unaware of own society and issues, significance burn

To know the society, its people, their lives, I decide to take a tour

Instances at sight were enough to freeze my steps, incentive spur

Amaze to see life struggle is different at different phases

Contrast of lives live behind the four walls, unlike scenario laces!

Image Source:
Editing :
I see there, a young woman strive hard to break the bricks, beat her hunger

when she look at her three months old baby giggling unknown of reality, Thunders!

I move my steps forward, There I see an old man walking along with a rough wooden stick

Image Source:
Credits: Nita Jatar Kulkarni

He was too lean and too weak to walk, a man in a grand car push him away, abuse and kick

I was shocked to see a man with such a cruel act, is this we are going to make our nation?

Crave for the respect is all I see in those moist eyes, still lying in the mid of the road, helpless,vexation!

Baba, are you okay? I am here with you! Is all I said, my heart drench in emote

His blinking moist eyes unable to recognize, hands of blessing, I see my hardships clot

When I look at the other side, I find children same as of my age, deprive of education

Image Source:
Credits: Nita Jatar Kulkarni

Each day to fight with poverty they beg and search for a kind heart, in hope of benefaction

They have no one to look after them, my heart weep! I put my hand in satchel for the tiffin

Happy to see sandwiches left in lunch box. I offer them! Their smile, bliss life puts in !

I want to walk further but abide by the end of my destiny for now, my home

Would walk further tomorrow to unfold the realistic stories, to find ways to help them and bloom

Amaze to see life struggle is different at different phases

Contrast of lives live behind the four walls, unlike scenario laces!

About the Author :

The Author of this post "Simran Kaur" is my youngest blogger friend. She is the class 11 student from Gorakhpur (East U.P.) and she blogs @  

I am a fan of her English and her poems. It not just ends here, She is good at photography too. She also won many awards for her blog. I must thank her for obliging to my request to write a guest post for my blog. And this one is undoubtedly an inspiring one from her. My best wishes to her for all her future endeavours.

With Cheers, 

Deepak Raghuraman 


The images used in this post are for representative purpose only and are obtained from the source mentioned in the caption. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Perfect LANDMARK for Books – Success story of Ms. Hemu Ramiah – Founder of Landmark Book Stores

The Perfect LANDMARK for Books :
 Success story of Ms. Hemu Ramiah – Founder of Landmark Book Stores

Source: The Hindu

I just compiled this document on Ms.Hemu Ramiah - Founder & Ex CEO of Landmark Book stores for my sister's assignment and I feel it would be better if I can share the same in my blog. Hope this post will be useful and motivate the budding entrepreneurs.

About Landmark:

Ms.Hemu Ramaiah, the women entrepreneur of the Year 2003, the founder/ex CEO of the Landmark chain of book/leisure stores, known for well designed stores, wide range of international products and legendary customer services that which changed the way people shopping in India. Landmark has a track record of continuous growth in sales and profits over the year’s right from the beginning. 

Landmark was the first Retail organization in India to be awarded the prestigious ISO 9001:2000 certification. Ms.Hemu Ramaiah also enforced the online presence for landmark book stores called one of the biggest e-commerce sites for online shopping of music, movies, games, toys, gift cards and buying books in India.

Ms. Hemu Ramiah’s Earlier Days : 

Ms.Hemu Ramaiah, at her younger days, as a daughter of an army man, get used to frequent change of residence, staying in towns and cities of India. Coming from a family not even remotely connected to business and not much crazy about books either, generally was growing up in a world where reading books was her pleasurable pastime and sometimes the only source of entertainment. 

Her Basic Instinct:

Ms.Hemu Ramaiah did follow her instinct by deciding early, that her life was going to revolve around the book industry. Ms.Hemu Ramaiah began studying literature. 

She did a Bachelor of Arts at Stella Maris College in Chennai.  Ms.Hemu Ramaiah got an assignment at the Danai Chain of Hotel bookshops in the Taj Coromandel hotel and went on to begin her career with books by joining the Taj Bookshop. 

Displaying great determination and foresight, pretty soon she had established nine hotel book retail shops and was ready to take the big leap. She planned to set up her own bookstore by the time she turned thirty and to preferably exit by the time she turned fifty. 

 “At 20, I will start working… Studying is a waste of time. Before 30, I will start my own business. After that, I won’t take risks. Before 50, I will retire.” thought of Ms.Hemu Ramaiah.

History of Landmark:
Source: Landmark Website

Landmark founded by Ms.Hemu Ramaiah started operations in over 5,200 square feet of basement, rented out at four bucks per sq ft, has spawned stores all over the country and recently completed 25 years with a kind of success that lives up to its  name Landmark. 

With a modest capital of Rs. 12 lakhs included a 6 lakhs from his brother, Ms.Hemu Ramaiah, set up the first book shop in Nungambakkam, Chennai in 1987. The location was the basement of an office building. No one would’ve thought this focus would end up in a Rs. 225 crore-turnover company when she turned 50 years old.

The Vision – Envision: Large Scale Expansion of Landmark:

When Ms.Hemu Ramiah first opened shop in Chennai and told her staff that the books on display could be thumbed by potential customers for as long as they liked, the staff was aghast. They told her that the goods would be damaged and remain unsold. 

Ramaiah stuck to her belief that if someone loved a book enough to come in everyday to read it, he or she would buy it – or something else – at some point. Just having the customer choose to visit the store was half the battle won, she believed. 

In terms of variety of titles too, there was really not much for readers to look forward to until then. There were some legendary individual stores in the country where the proprietor viewed books as his or her mission but these stores were small and had no branches anywhere in any other city. Large format bookstores were an idea waiting to happen. Ms. Hemu Ramaiah says like an entrepreneurial seer, “A successful business always finds a gap to fill.” And that is how she came in and changed the monosyllabic tenor of book retailing into a multi layered, endlessly exciting symphonic, shopping experience.

Transforming the Act of Purchasing to the Act of Experiencing: 
Source: Business Line

From the onset, her aim was to create a bookstore which would change the way people perceived book shops in India. 

A bookshop without textbooks, 
A bookshop with open display, 
A bookshop where people could walk around, pick up a book, flip through it instead of coldly purchasing it from across a counter. 

In other words, Ms.Hemu Ramaiah converted the act of purchasing a book into an experience. And she went on to enhance this experience by adding on to the initial offering of only books, chocolates, stationery, toys and music.

The Brand “Landmark”:

Ms.Hemu Ramaiah by late 1990s having tried the franchise model, as well as the joint venture in Calcutta, Landmark grown as a brand to reckon with and it was getting a lot of attention from the right quarters. 

In 2001, Landmark was invited to operate a branch at Spencer Plaza in Chennai, the first mall in India. Soon word spread and in 2002 Landmark was operating from Forum Mall in Bangalore and what began as a book shop in a basement turned into an all-India phenomenon. The retail chain’s range has expanded beyond books and music to toys, gaming, technology products and even home stores.

Landmark as a Shopping Destination:

When she started out, there was no concept of book stores keeping publishing backlists. Nor was a book store a shopping destination for an entire family. “No one  knew anything about the book trade. Books were just commodities. No one invested passion in them,” recalls Hemaiah. She changed all that. 
Books for entire family

“Landmark allowed families to come, spend time in various sections, browse and find whatever it was that they were looking for. The idea was not to give them what we had but to give what they wanted. Be it a movie, a stapler, a glue stick or something for the house. Whatever was new, we had it. It was a place they could spend time in without having to spend an arm or a leg,” she said. 

One hugely rewarding thing for her personally, was to mentor women entrepreneurs whose unique products Landmark store stocked. “These women were running small units, sometimes from home and Landmark showcased their products on a big scale,” recalls Ramaiah.

She also says “If you approach any problem with a chip on your shoulder, you will find it tough to cope. Or you can see every issue as a plus-plus possibility. Running Landmark was not an easy thing in terms of logistics. The stock keeping was painstaking because the merchandising was so diverse. People with specific skill sets were needed to run the operations smoothly but we pulled it off.”

Sale of Landmark to Tata Group Company – Trent Limited:

In August of 2005, Ms.Hemu Ramaiah’s brother, Mr. Natraj Ramaiah, and one of the main promoters of the chain, sold his 76% stake in an all-cash deal for Rs 104 crore  to the Tata group company -Trent Ltd. 

At the time Landmark was taken over in 2005, it had sales of Rs 95 crore and four large stores across Chennai and Bangalore, along with a joint venture with the Emami Group in Kolkata for a similar store. 

From two cities then, the chain has expanded to nine cities and covers 2,00,000 sq feet of retail space with revenues of Rs 196 crore. With the distinction of having made a profit in every year of its existence, Landmark was in an enviable position. 

Ms.Hemu Ramaiah held the balance 24% in Landmark and continued to be CEO till May 2008, however true to herself; Ms.Hemu Ramaiah stuck to her plan and decided move on, when she invited Tata group company, Trent Ltd. to takeover Landmark in 2008.  When Trent bought out her entire stake for an undisclosed sum, she exited the company as well to establish a retail and design consultancy - “Shop 4 Solutions”.

Hemu Ramiah’s Other Ventures :

Ms.Hemu Ramaiah also founded a distribution/import/publishing company called “Westland Books” to establish the supply chain.

She also founded an innovative design & interior firm called “Ifrieze Design  Solutions”

With her 33 years of experience in retailing,  She now managing her new consulting business “Shop 4 Solutions” as a MD and

She is also a venture partner with TVS Capital funds, a private equity fund specializing in the retail consumer space.


1987 December: Launched with a fully computerized customized billing and query system developed by IIT ians

1991:  Introduced bar code, invested heavily on stock and warehousing and became the first store to work on Sundays

1994:  Broke monopoly in alliance with Westland Books

1996: Doubled carpet area, introduced open displays, music section and became the first store to have listening stations

1999:  Opened store in Kolkata, a joint venture

2001:  Set-up shop in Spencer Plaza, got ISO 9001 certification and started

2004: Started the 45,000 sq.ft. flagship store in Forum, Bangalore

2005:  Trent, retail wing of Tatas, acquired a 76% stake in Landmark to set up stores in Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon and Baroda

2006:  Stores launched in Mumbai, Baroda, Gurgaon and Pune

2007:  Completes 20 years

Ms. Hemu Ramiah’s Words of Advice for the Budding Entrepreneurs:

“The idea should be to outdo an idea. The next big idea has to be better than another ‘me too.’ Don’t copy. Innovate.”

“I went from a small format book retailing to a large one and I had no one to emulate. The dynamics were different. Today when I consult other entrepreneurs and mentor their business ideas, I realize that businesses fail because people don’t do their homework. My advice to anyone starting out with a new business is that they must know everything they need to know. Always know the answer to the question, ‘What if I fail? What is the worst case scenario?’ Be prepared or be humble enough to ask for answers, if you don’t know.”


Money is not the only criteria to become a successful Entrepreneur. It require much more attributes than money like Determination, Foreseeing, Dedication etc and we could see all these attributes in Ms. Hemu Ramiah. This is not just a story of a successful woman entrepreneur, it should also serve as a seed which can produce more entrepreneurs in the days to come.

References :,,

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Off Topic : How to stop getting posts from a group in Facebook news feed

:: How to stop getting posts from a group in Facebook news feed ::

I have seen many of us doesn't want the Facebook group's post to be seen in their news feed. What makes them wonder is, even after selecting the "Notifications - Off / Friend's posts", they still receives almost all posts in their news feed. Turning off notifications in group's settings will only stop the  notifications about the group's post and not on the news feed. There is a way to solve it and  it worked well for me. I feel its better to make a post and share it with you all. 

Step 1 : 

Click on the drop down like button on top right of the Group's feed on your wall

Step 2 :

Click on "I don't want to see this"

Step 3 : 

Click on "Hide all posts from ABC Group" 

Thats it !!! 

Step by Step Screen Shot for Reference :

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Add Blood Group to our Profile - A Request to facebook

Add Blood Group to our Profile - A Request to facebook : 

It is a constant endeavour that people scouts for a particular blood group and couldn't get it on time. Everyone is trying all the possibilities of having it. Be it a facebook wall post, SMS, posting it in groups etc., But the problem is not the unavailability of the blood, but the problem is in finding the person. 

There may be the instance where we have a friend with the same blood group as we want, But since we don't know about his blood group and his inaccessibility to our Posts & messages, we couldn't get the right thing at the right time. 

It could be better if facebook can add another option titled "Blood Group" which can be visible to public & friends and they can contact us instantly during emergency. 

In facebook, we have an option to edit our profile name and there we have an option called atlernate name. I thought that adding our blood group as alternate name or editing our profile name would help. But unfortunately, facebook doesn't allow the special characters & numbers to be used in these fields. 

I just felt that it would be better to have our blood group along with our profile name. Like for eg, my blood group is A1 +ve.. I would like to have my profile name as "Deepak Raghuraman (A1+)". It will make it easier for those who are in search of a particular blood. Also, adding it to the profile name will help those who are in need without even going through the entire profile.

I know, it is easier said than done. But this one would really help us and expecting all your view in this regard. Also, let me know if there any other option in facebook whereby we can update our blood group.

Thanks for reading my post, share it and make a better tomorrow. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Completing 1 year of Blogging. Thank you all !!!!

Completing 1 year of Blogging. Thank you all !!!!

It has been a year since I started blogging.  I can say it as the 1st Birthday to Get Inspired Blog. I started blogging on 14th July 2012 

How does it Start : 

I always like to read and know about the success stories of the entrepreneurs, which includes the Rags to Riches stories.  I used to post these success stories as a wall post in my facebook profile.  Later one of my friend suggested to use blog for posting these stories and it just gave birth to the Get Inspired Blog :)

Since then it has been a wonderful journey for me.  Have made some 40 odd posts here which includes various genres like Success Stories, Social Awareness, Finance, Personal etc.,

Motivation : 

This point is debatable.  Of late, I came to know that the readership & followers were the driving force behind updating the blog on a frequent basis. My blog was a bit idle for several months. I used to update it very rarely. It is worth to mention here that, The Chennai Bloggers Club - A group in Facebook plays a vital role in motivating and re-invented the blogging skills in me and it made me a active blogger. Have got few followers and many frequent readers. Especially the feedbacks and discussion about the posts has motivated me the high time. It has made me update the blog frequently and also made me to add a new blog NAMMA AREA.  I have got the contact of lot of good people in this one year because of this blogging. Got some good friends too.

A Personal Note : 

I must thank you all for the constant motivation, I am sure you keep motivating me :) As I was happy to get the contacts of many good people, I was also a bit sad to lose few good people's contact. As I thank all my friends in this occasion, I should also say sorry to those whom I have made feel bad. An open apology and also a whole hearted thanks to you all. 

If you have any feedbacks or suggestions, feel free to write to me at 

Let us make a wonderful tomorrow. 

With Cheers,

Deepak Raghuraman

Monday, 24 June 2013

CBC Meet : 23rd June'13 - My first ever get-together

CBC Meet - 23rd June'13

:: CBC Meet : 23rd June'13 - My first ever get-together ::

It was a wonderful evening on 23rd June'13 @ The Pizza Republic, Adambakkam. It was the meet of The Chennai Bloggers Club - A group in Facebook whereby we , the chennai bloggers interacts and discuss about our blogs among many other things which also includes social causes.

I missed the earlier meets including the IndiBlogger meet. Personally, its my first-ever get together, not just in blogging arena. I have Never been with a group of friends, me restricted myself with a limited circle of friends who are almost like me, hesitant to come out and be part of social gatherings. I was waiting for the opportunity to come out of this circle and the CBC meet happened at the right time when I needed it. 

I was in a dilemma whether to go or skip this, as I have never been with a group of people and don't even know how to behave socially. I must thank Bragadeesh Prasanna for his motivation and he is the one who made up my mind and made me come there.

Finally I have made it to the pizza republice @ Adambakkam where I got a bunch of good friends and got to know about some wonderful personalities.  When people were recognised with the work they do , that supposed to be THE MOMENT.  The exact thing happened in the meet, we the bloggers recognised each other with their Blog names and not by their face or name. The moment we saw each other, it was not like we are unknown. We just started discussing as if we were known for years. 

A special thanks to Susan, Jothivel, Gitanjali and many other who are behind in organising this wonderful event. It is not an easy task to organise an event and its regular follow-ups. You people have done it.
Susan & Gitanjali

Have got some good bunch of friends. Glad to meet the "lord of words" Sunder Rajan, Sundar Gopalakrishnan, Mahendran Thiru, Bragadeesh Prasanna, Ram Thilak, Gokoulane, Vinod among others. 
Me with Ram Thilak

Me with Sunder, Mahendiran & Sundar

It started with the brief intro. Some people inspired me with the way they speak. I thought of speaking many things but ended up very few lines because of my inherent limitation :) 

Then comes the man of the moment Mahesh Iyer, one of the visionaries of CBSA (Chennai Bloggers for Social Action). I must say that he is one of the inspiring speakers I have seen. He talked about various things on how the bloggers can take part in social causes. It was a wonderful discussion and I should mention that the members like Kirtanya, Bhushavalli, Somu, Aravind Kumar, Harish Kumar, Karthick Kamalakkannan have made some valid points and it resulted in having a good discussion which can make us into action.

Harish Kumar

Mahesh Iyer

Bragadeesh Prasanna & Jothi

Somu Padmanaban
Overall, it was a wonderful evening started with funny talks, Intro and ended up thinking something for the society. For me personally, It is one such which can bring about some positive change. So many things I noticed and so many people I got inspired with. 

If the day which makes you feel pleasured is a happiest day , then this is one such day. Looking forward to meet you all in some other occasion.

Thanks for being patient in reading this  post :)

Photo Courtesy : Vinod Velayudhan