Saturday, May 3, 2008

A rose by any other name-brand

There are many ways of earning money. Some people choose to toil away in a farm and earn money from the rice or wheat that they grow. Others work in factories, for which they might be paid a daily wage. Or you can buy T-shirts with pirate skulls painted on them by people in China and sell them for $154 a piece, which is what one Ed Hardy does.

I have nothing against Ed. Indeed, I envy him his easy lifestyle. Pay the Ching Hou Garment company of Guangzhou for 10,000 tee shirts at 0.82 per and sell them at $154 less retail commission. I'm not much of a mathematician - I would readily acknowledge Newton and Leibniz to be my superiors - but I know enough to tell that Ed is rolling in the stuff. What I marvel at is that the supply of suckers in this world seems endless.

How does someone like me who, lets be frank here, has the style consciousness of a hippopotamus in a mud pool, cash in on this abundance of suckerness? I thought I would list down a few business plans and pass it around the blogosphere for some free advice. Please don't steal them. If you do, please send me my share .

Business plan 1

Product - Designer bread

USP - Available in bold colors and post-modern shapes.

Designer logo - Five grains of wheat stuck on the wrapper

Target Customer
        • 1. Style conscious professional who needs to make a statement with the sandwich he/she takes to work.
        • 2. Sucker

Retail price - $49.95 per loaf.

Manufacturing - Sourced from The Ching Hou Designer Bread Company of Guangzhou @
$49.95 per 20 ft. container

Quality policy
- We will tell the chaps at The Ching Hou Designer Bread Company of Guangzhou, "Chaps, make sure it is of a good quality, ok?

Do you think Kleiner Perkins will fund it? I guess so, can see no downside.

Business Plan 2

Service- Designer appendicectomy scars

USP - Available in bold colors and post-modern shapes.

Designer logo - Five distinctive stitches on the abdomen

Target Customer
        • 1. Style conscious professional who needs to make a statement when he/she undresses, for various reasons.
        • 2. Sucker

Retail price - $4,995 per scar. (The operation is extra)

Manufacturing - Outsourced to The Ching Hou Designer Scar Company of Guangzhou @
$49.95 per scar

Quality policy
- We will tell the chaps at The Ching Hou Designer Scar Company of Guangzhou, "Chaps, make sure the knives and needles and stuff are clean, ok?

Kleiner Perkins should be able to fund this one as well.


Anonymous said...

Lol, reminds me of those countless products I see here. Not one is made in USA. All Made in China or Bangladesh, Myanmar.

OK said...

When I thought I will buy some sweaters in India people told me it's cheaper and better in the US. When, I finally bought one here, I notice later that it was made in Bangladesh.

Partho said...

I have since long had this business plan. A bit more workable than your examples, I think. Again, please don't steal etc.
Let me, at the outset, clarify that I do not hail from the illustrated state of Bihar. But I've lived in the vicinity long enough to have tasted, on many occasions, a Bihari delicacy called litti-chokha. Recipe here.
. I'm sure the downmarket version you may also notice as street food in regions of Mumbai infested with Raj Thackerey's favorite cousins. Do note that it makes for an ultra-healthy, wholesome vegetarian meal. It can also be made cholesterol-free by making the ghee dip optional.( won't taste the same, of course)
So, here's my business plan :

Product : Microwavable designer litti-chokha

Product description : Baked Doughballs in dip with veggie mishmash

Suggested Brand name : Choklittoes

USP : Wholesome nutrition of wheat grain cereals, gram and assorted vegetables in designer ready-to-eat

Designer logo : A piece of sal leaf
laminated into the wrapper ( OK OK so I borrowed that one)

Target customer : 1. Health and style conscious professional who needs to make a statement with the workaday lunch he eats, preferably in the company of peers.
2. Sucker.

Retail Price : $ 19.95 for a pack of two doughballs with mishmash and dip(optional).

Manufacturing : Sourced from Bhojpuri designer litti company of Chhapra, Bihar@ $19.95 per 100-pack carton

Quality Policy : Will tell the Bhojpuri fellows....forget it, they invented quality, right?

Apart from the obvious profitability of the proposition, it will also generate a good deal of employment locally, and hopefully ease some irriation of the Mumbaikar's mind. I'm sure the scheme will find instant support from Nitish Kumar and Laluji.

There's one small catch. Unlike in Guangzhou, they do not have an existing facility for every manufacturing need at Chhapra. A small investment of $10000 will be needed to help the chaps set up their packaging unit. Which will pay itself back in a matter of weeks, of course.

Since you seem to hobnob with a number of VCs, would you consider selling the plan to one of them, for a handsome 2% of the profits?

narendra shenoy said...

@partho - HaHaHa, enjoyed! And great blog you have too. I'm blogrolling you instantly.

wolf - China makes the "Free Tibet" flags too

ok - I have bought Indian made stuff in the US which is not even seen here.

GVK said...

Heard on NPR the other day that among the products shipped out from factories in China are flags of various colours, and causes. And workers often didn't know what or for whom they make these colourful flags. NPR report had it that some workers watching TV recently spotted a group waving flags shipped out from their factory. They happened to be the 'Free-Tibet' flags.

Amrita said...

that designer bread idea has definite possibilities but you've got the wrong target audience. You really need to send it the way of those sad skinny people who don't eat carbs and instead spend all their time staring at the fat, happy people who do in restaurants.

Everytime their body screams for some of those carbs, they can whip this one out and lick their temptation away. Ta da!

It can be the carb equivalent of Vitamin Water - weak overpriced sugar water that you buy because you're too good to buy that cola junk and instead want something "healthy".

Cynic in Wonderland said... are being too modest with the price ji..add a few zeroes liberally! and if u want to know what morons DO exist in the world - please to take a look at this Bling H20 ( bottled water which retails at obnoxious price), and my favorite (premium toilet paper for the style conscious)..i swear it, these exist. you wont believe WHAT people buy - i had done a paper on luxury consumption once a 25 gms skin cream for 25 lakhs?

PREETI said...

And they say the stuff sold abroad is "Export Quality" and hence better...So, in all fairness, yes we are suckers...Cuz we go there and by the same stuff for $154, which is sold in Tirupur for less than 154 Rs...!!!

narendra shenoy said...

@gvk - Yes, I read that. Ironic!

@amrita - :) I know just the people you mean

@cynic - You have reinforced my faith in the human race!

When I first read your comment, I thought you were just pulling my leg. I mean, designer toilet paper! And water named "Bling"!

Turns out you are Abraham Lincoln herself. I was happy to note that both products exist and are doing well, by all appearances. Paris Hilton's dog drinks Bling bottled water, retailing at $55 a bottle.

This makes those coffee places that sell Kopi Luwak look like community kitchens!

Drenched said...

Hahahahaha! This was awesome! Yeah, they sell all this Made in China stuff at mad prices abroad. And even Made in Bangladesh or Made in Morocco and once I even saw a a rugby ball at a Nike store for 15 euros... and it was Made in India! And a stupid desi was buying it. Bwahahaha, buying a "phoren" thing is all that matters, I guess.

Gravity Eyelids said...

good one :) though i would cut costs by doing the operation myself...i do have a few rusty nails