At Toit, our customers have always been our primary focus. They’re the ones who bring life to the place, create memories and end up giving the place its familiar, friendly vibe.
And there are so many different kinds of people who come through our doors daily, that we wanted to get to know their stories.
The Kudix Mug Holder of the Month is our little way of celebrating our customers, and their unique stories.
If it’s the starting of a startup, you’ll probably find him there. He’s a many-companies kind of guy, but definitely a one-woman kind of man—say hello to Mithun, a man who loves his startups, his beer and is also our mug holder of the month.
Why do you think you were selected as the Mug Holder of the Month?
I don’t know—I drink that much beer and I frequent this place so much. On an average, I’m here four days a week at least, and I drink at least 5-6 beers. Since we work out of Indiranagar, most of our meetings happen here.
So, work, friends, and evenings—we’re always here.
I’m actually a Malyali, but I was born in Bangalore, grew up in Africa
Are you from Bangalore?
I’m actually a Malayali, but I was born in Bangalore, grew up in Africa and then came back here after my 12th and I’ve been here ever since.
I did my graduation from Bangalore, engineering, which was just four years of scraping through!
Tell me a little about what you do here.
So my wife Nisha and I, run a startup named Duffl, which is essentially a peer to peer fashion re-sale and rental market place. It’s a place where you can sell your gently used branded items. Things you don’t wear anymore for whatever reason, you can upload it and we handle everything from door step pick up, quality check, packaging, shipping, payments to returns.
We are soon launching rental services for luxury items as well.
How long have you been running this?
We’ve been doing this for almost 6 months now. So it’s new. I was running a startup before this, which was into mobile application and e-commerce. That got absorbed into another company, and then after that I started this.
How did the concept of Duffl come about?
So Nisha is a fashion designer by profession.
Nisha: It was a personal pain point, when you look at your closet and feel like you have nothing to wear. So I just thought that what if this whole exchanging clothes between friends could translate into something bigger. That was the starting point, and we took it from there. We just started it on a whim, and today we’re 4,000 users and nearly 1000 products strong.
Mithun: The way online shopping is going right now, people are buying! They’re eventually, probably 3-4 years down the line, going to need an exit channel to get rid of valuable items and de-clutter. That’s when the hyper consumption will diminish and collaborative consumption emerge. We hope to actually be there when that trend sets in.
We just started it on a whim, and today we’re 4,000 users old.
Have you been doing this a lot? Startups?
Yes! From the time I passed out of college, I’ve been with startups. I was part of two startups initially where I wasn’t the founder. Then I moved out and started my own. The first one failed miserably, the second one worked out and this is my third one.
Is it because you started out with startups, that you ended up taking that approach forward yourself?
I have been part of a 9-5 job as well briefly. Again, I couldn’t adhere to the 9-5 part. As long as timings are flexible, I’m fine. Yes, but you could say, that is why I’ve gone forward with that approach.
…hyper consumption will probably die out and collaborative consumption will come in.
For people who are looking to do this, what advice would you give them?
It’s not easy. Not at all. The only thing you need to do is persevere. You just need to go out there and do it. It’s easier said than done.
We started out on a shoe-string budget with no steady income. Both of us quit our jobs, and started this—we were like we’ll see where this goes.
Secondly, you need to be a hustler by nature. Get work done somehow or the other in the leanest way possible.
How did Toit become a part of your life?
Right. So Toit opened in 2010, and I was travelling quite extensively in 2010 and 2011 between Bangalore and Dubai. I used to stay in Ulsoor that time and whenever my friends from Dubai would visit for work, we used to look for a place to hang out. Toit had just opened then and people were talking about it. So we thought we would just come over here.
You just need to not give up.
We came here once, twice, and what resonated with us, apart from the place, were the people—the staff. They are very friendly, and you can make out they are well taken care of here, because that actually translates into how they treat the customers. The managers, the doorman, the bartenders, the cleaners—we know them all by name. We’ve been coming here that often!
After work, we religiously come here. Like we just have to end up here and have a couple of beers.
Have you always been a beer drinker?
Absolutely! From day one. I do have rum and whiskey alternately, but then I’m mostly a beer guy.
Do you have a favourite type?
I love the Stout. It is my absolute favourite.
Do you also have favourite foods?
The Toit steak! Nisha always tells me that I should try something else, but I just can’t.
We used to be pizza people, but I think we had so much of that, that we decided to move on to other food.
Since you’ve been coming here for so long, and so often, what is the best memory you have of the place yet?
There are so many! I don’t think I can talk about even half of them.
The first time we came here was with our good friends Supriya and Rohan. That was a mad night!
But the start to a crazy night, is always at Toit!
One random guy kept eavesdropping, and a couple of Apple Martinis later, I looked up and was like “what’s up?”, and he was like nothing, you guys were talking about a startup and he started telling us about his job and it went on. Eventually we ended up in his house, drinking.
At least once a week, we end up meeting random people here and they end up either at our place or the other way round. Or some after party.
That’s a nice memory. What about some crazy ones?
We actually don’t make a scene when we’re outside. Especially in a place like Toit, where we know the people.
*Nisha interjects* But the start to a crazy night, is always at Toit! *laughs*
Here, we sit and talk. Here is where more conversations happen. That’s another reason we like coming here—we get to converse. Other places are so loud, you can just sit there and either drink or dance.
So how have the last six months been?
Horrendous actually! Everyday, we’ve had something or the other that would surprise us or challenge us, and to deal with that was really painstaking. But you kind of start liking it after a while, because it’s something you like doing.
Since both of us are married, and there’s no steady income, we somehow manage to make ends meet, and do our thing. Paying salaries, and all that. People wonder how the hell we manage!
How long have you and Nisha been married?
We’ve been married close to three years, but we’ve been dating for the last ten years.
What’s the one thing you love and hate about what you’re doing?
Nisha: The mentality of the people is something we would like to overcome. It’s hard to take something like this online because people are so used to physical consignment stores.
…married close to three years, but we’ve been dating for the last ten years.
Mithun: But that’s also the best part of something like this. We get to be part of the movement that changes bad mentality and will probably end up being called one of the first people who started something like this, if it works out. That would be a very big acknowledgement for us!