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It is no exaggeration that family-run enterprises dominate the business world in India. The next generations of tycoons are naturally expected to step into their parent’s shoes. Of course, one cannot but help wondering if they do it on their volition or simply compelled to do so. Whatever may be the motives, we find many young leaders, despite earning high degrees from prestigious world universities, taking up proactive roles in their family ventures. Some of them, blessed with an adventurous streak, tread new paths and further embellish their inherited glory. The 25-year-old Bommana Yuvaraj belongs to this category and is here to re-define the legendary empire in his own style. He launched MY Bommana Boutique, making it future-ready. He shares his business with his mother, Mrs.Sunitha. We rope in the son & mom team for some trade talk.

Succession is an inevitable reality in family-run enterprises, Do you agree?
Every family business is a startup once up on a time. It is not an easy task to create an trade empire. But once it is built with the help of family unity and honest efforts, it definitely dominates the market. It is obvious that the members of the family too come under the impact of the giant. Successors inherit the onus of taking it to the next level. My grandfather the late Mr.Bommana Krishna Murthy, a gold medallist in civil engineering, did not have money to travel to receive his medal. He later rose to the position of the Chief Engineer of the Nagarjunsagar Dam, yet he could not resist the pull of the threads as he hailed from a weavers’ community. However, winning a tailoring contest in which he stitched two shirts in 10 minutes, made him realise his true calling. He started his textile enterprise in a humble way and eventually established Bommana Brothers in Rajahmundry along with his brother Mr.Ramachandra Rao. My father Mr.Satya Raj Kumar took it to the next level by opening successful outlets in Tirupati, Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram.

Did you come under pressure to carry forth the legacy?
Besides enjoying the world of textiles, I have also felt that it is my responsibility. No pressure whatsoever! There is an uncanny similarity in my career path and that of my legendary grandfather. I too studied civil engineering. I obtained my degree from VIT, Vellore and went to Leeds, UK do my masters in International Business. Later, I moved to Harvard for an extension course in e-commerce strategies, following which I served as a manager of Mirchi Hotels, in New Jersey and returned home with the intention giving it back to the city I grew up in.

Family run show: Advantages and disadvantages
The readymade platform gives us an enviable headstart. The disadvantage is we have to obtain family permission before starting something new. We may lose individuality and act in the same monotonous manner as the previous generations.

Does it take away adventure from your life?
No, nothing can curtail my spirit. I am very independent. The main reason for my taking up this project is to involve myself in every aspect of business - from purchasing & marketing to accounts & sales. I invested the money I earned in the US in this venture as I did not want to take the support of my father. I also extended the premises to a restaurant. It is an additional source of income for me to run my store without raising any loans.

Bommana caters to middle class. What made you think of a high-end boutique?
Yes, till now we targeted the B and C classes. My strategy is to create a place for the A class without losing the B and C segments. Until now we are running the stores with sole proprietorship. I now plan to go for a franchisee concept.

How long will it take you to reach the high standards
set by your predecessors?
I am only 25 and I aspire and strive to reach those standards in another five years.

Are you better off compared to the previous generation?
Yes. my predecessors did give me a great platform and fame to earn my boutique customer base. But right from facilities like communications to transportation, we have an edge over them in terms of speed and efficiency. I am tech-savvy. Social media is the best blessing our generation is bestowed with.

Why did you choose Vizag?
I was born in this city and I know its potential and status. Especially after bifurcation of the state, it grew into a fantastic place with a great future.

Future Plans
In the pipeline are Boutiques in Gopalpatnam, Maddilapalem Chittoor and Amaravati in the state. I also plan to reach USA and Dubai.

Life beyond business hours
My day starts with a visit to F45 Fitness Studio and almost every day after work I play volleyball with my friends at Beenz Drive Inn. I am a big movie buff. I travel and explore different places when I get time.

Armed with the experience I gained in two developed nations, I conceptualised this unique boutique and executed it on my terms. The boutique along with a coffee shop is the first of its kind in the state. People can shop and also chill out in the café while those coming to the Glutton’s Garage may find something irresistibly attractive in the boutique.

We witness around 100 footfalls per day though we operate in a non-commercial residential locality. We provide the latest designs and a pleasant ambience. The customer reviews vouch for it. I experienced the success without any issues in my first project itself, which is a great boost to my future plans. Since it is a boutique, I have learnt to foresee the upcoming fashions. The best part is that we received compliments from the other boutique owners too.

Product range
We source material from all over the country- silk from Bangalore and Coimbatore, cotton from Ahmedabad, linen from Kolkata and handlooms from Uppada, Vnekatagiri and Mangalaigri. We have 200 purchasing points and weaving centres. My mom and I handpick products. Western outfits are brought from UK, Thailand and China. Generally, people sell the first copies of the handbags, but we get the originals and premium brands like MK and Coach. We have a very selective collection. We have tied up with MVS Jewellery Park to complement our service. Working with a team of four, drawn from our parent body, we have very strict quality checks and refresh our stock frequently.

Bommana Brothers- a Profile
Bommana Brothers has its prominent presence in Telugu states with 11outlets- Vizag, Gajuwaka, Vijayanagaram, Rajahmundry, Palakollu, Bhimavaram, Secunderabad & Tirupati. The annual turnover is a minimum four crores each.

Mrs.Sunitha again is the chip off the old Bommana block, as she married her cousin Mr.Satya Raj Kumar. Though not formally educated in business administration, she is very well versed with the nuances of textile world. She tells us how she groomed her sons with the hope that at least one of them would take the legacy forward.

Though, I have been a homemaker all through, my evenings were dedicated to the business. After their school, I used to take them to the stores to acclimatise them to trade environs and make them realise the essence of family business.

The new beginning
To our delight, Yuvaraj returned to the family business though my elder son Maniraj stayed back working in the US. The first letters of MY Bommana Boutique are derived from their names. I am also a partner of the boutique and our roles are defined. I select the cloth, design dresses and saris and am good at customer inter-action. I have my finger right on the customers’ pulse. Yuvaraj conceptualises marketing strategies.

Are you on the same page?
Certainly not, it is expected as we belong to different generations, there are very few things on which we agree. The differences start from the selection of the product. He, being a boy, doesn’t understand the feminine traits and trends. This necessitates a lot of explanation. We generally tour together to select the merchandise. But at times he has to plough a lonely furrow. He clicks the pictures of the items and whatsapps them for my opinion. He seldom accepts my suggestions without an argument. That is when his trouble-shooter father enters the scene. We both go by his decision as he is the most experienced one.

Education vs experience
Both Yuvaraj and I agree that experience is more important than education. What I have learnt in the stores is more than what he picked up in the classrooms.

Unforgettable experience
We had a soft launch of the boutique as Sankranti was round the corner and the entire stock got picked up by our friends, leaving me with nothing for the inauguration. I had to go on a panic buying spree. I returned home on the day of inauguration. Spending hours in tagging and arranging the store, I didn’t even have time to freshen up for the opening ceremony. It was an unforgettable day.

Fashion trend
We are first in the city to introduce linen saris. We keep limited stock and have a discount sale every month end. So our shelves are always full of fresh and in-trend stock.
Clothes have the power to transform lives, your take Yes, first impressions are the best. The first thing onlooker notices is what she wears and how well does she carry it.

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