Conventional education. None! Advertisements, Publicity? He never believed in them. His only capital is his creativity. Rejected job offers, from the urge of creating something of “his own”. Started from zero, he is now on the top of success avoiding many obstacles. Clubb International’s Tarun Mullick’s world is the kingdom of jute. He opens up about the ups & down of success in the chemistry of creativity & brains before Newz Bangla’s correspondent Manisha Mukhopadhyay.
You have a weakness over ‘b’ I see. In fact you got a double “b” in your own brand “clubb”.
(Smiles) It’s not like that, initially it used to be single “b”, but when we started spreading internationally, we had to follow their spellings and grammars. Like in Germany they use double “b” while writing “club”.
You are from a royal family, your ancestors used to be kings. Then, why did you feel the urge to work with Jute?
Yes it is a fact that my ancestors were used to be kings but I am a son of very poor man.
If you can elaborate…
The time when I was born the royal treasure was emptied. I was the youngest among the ten siblings. Hence, the fight against poverty became my habit.
So you learned tennis in the hope of getting a credible job?
Yes, absolutely. I played tennis quite well from the childhood. I used to practice in Ballygunge. At that time I was in City College School. I loved playing more than studying. I became junior Bengal champion at the age of 16.
The distance from your to Ballygunge is quite far. Did you go to for practice every day? Didn’t you feel exhausted?
Even if I felt exhausted, I didn’t get bothered about it. I didn’t undergo tiredness. Actually being a poor man’s son, I was accustomed to hardship. I used to do the “physical exercise” every morning by running from Barabazar to Dharmatala. Often I had to return to home walking from Ballygunge as I didn’t had any money in the bag.
Well then your heart has more strength than your legs…
You feel so? Don’t know but you know, I never felt difficulty in walking.
Have you got proposals for job after becoming Bengal Champion?
Yes! I got at the age of 17.
Then why didn’t you do the job in spite of getting offers?
I understood that, there is nothing new left for me in sports. Also seeing my working friends, that’s there is no profit in regular jobs. Just a routine life of 10 to 5. The 3-4 thousand salaried jobs of those days could hardly afford a bike and a girl friend. So, I thought of doing something for myself, in my own way.
Why? What’s wrong in girl friend and bike?
(Smiles), No, nothing wrong in that but there was no scope for doing something for “my-self” in a regular job. Where is the creativity in a regular 10 to 5 job?
Poor kid, who turned down job opportunity to do something for “him-self”, I mean to do business. How did you get so much courage?
I am full of courage since childhood. And with that also the stubbornness. You can say that the mixture of two started my business.
So, how was the start?
It started with raincoats. Although it began from 1977, it was not able to do anything significant till 1982. Then suddenly came an opportunity to make “diary covers” for Peerless. Few thousand rupees arranged at once. I started feeling from then that my business has started growing.
You don’t have any conventional training. You only drew well and had the creativity. How did you master various type of sewing?
That’s a humorous chapter. If I found someone on the streets with a bag of new and attractive design, I used to end up asking for it from them. I promised them to return it after I am done with it. It’s not like everyone actually gave it. But most of them did. My work was to come home and mug up the needle craft and blueprint, staying awake in the night. Then making a bag of same blueprint with jute and give it to the bag owner along with the original bag. This tradition is still continuing. The person, who gives me his or her bag, receives the first bag made out of the same blueprint.
Why did you choose jute when many other materials are available?
I gave a good thought to the matter and found out that almost in every sector someone or the other has done something worthwhile. Only the jute sector is still untapped. What I will do will be exclusive. These were the thought…
But now you are not exclusive to Jute anymore?
No, other than jute & nylon now we have synthetic, imported material, leather bags in our galleries.
Once stepped inside your gallery one became spell bound. From wallets to flip flops, profile bags, suitcases and what not? The demand of these things in Kolkata must be at its peak?
(Smiles) Only customers can say it. But yes, I have never received any complain that one has been cheated buying a bag. Be it in the county or a foreign land.
Beside your own country, foreign countries also contributed much to your kingdom…
Yes, you have said it correct, every time I went foreign I returned with some knowledge. And I have also learned from the people whom I met. Actually, I don’t like wasting time in idle gatherings. I only talk with people from whom I can learn something.
If you can tell the story of going global…
Initially I wanted to expand Clubb in Delhi & Mumbai beside Kolkata.
That was a time.. I used to stay in the Mumbai station after reaching at night to stop unreasonable expenditure. Thus room rent was saved. Then after finishing my work in the morning I used to leave for Kolkata. Slowly Clubb started expanding to foreign countries. In the leading departmental stores of Germany, London, USA, Indonesia, Malaysia Clubb has started finding its place.
What are the new projects you have?
Work is going on a New York based project. We will be making bag based on their preffered sample. Offers of a huge quantity are there. Next we are thinking about a project of IIT USA. We are also into a work of “Bombay Palace”.
Where are your galleries now in Kolkata?
We still have the gallery adjacent to our factory. Beside this City Centre 1 and City Centre 2 also has our gallery.
What is the current number of staff in your company?
Approx 150 or so.
A sudden desire to do business. Have you got the support from the family?
At first, I didn’t have that much of support from my family. But my wife was with me all the way. She is also involved in my business. My son is also enthusiastic about the business.
Why you are always against publicity?
No, I don’t believe in publicity. In my opinion, if the work is done properly, publicity will come naturally. It makes no sense to run behind publicity separately.
That I understand but many feels that this is the era of advertising..
They are correct! My work is my advertisement. Why bother about giving advertisements if the work is done correctly?
Where do you want to see your business in next ten years?
Obviously, at a much better position from now. Growth is the ultimate aim. Even my son is very interested.
You also give classes in various management schools.
No, not like that. They only ask me to give speeches as a guest lecturer. I only try to explain the chemistry behind being an entrepreneur to the students.
Why the name of your company is “Clubb”?
That’s a nice question. Actually, I was into sports. So, my life was full of clubb & kits bags. Hence, “Clubb”.
And why you picked that small boat as a logo?
I had a t-shirt of the same print. I used to love that shirt so much. And from then I developed a weakness for the design.
Last question, how much do you rate yourself?
I don’t rate myself. My only identity is my work. Let them rate, I am not in it.
Published on: Monday, December 26, 2011