Atul Garg launched a stationery brand with Rs 5 lakh from his home basement. The business called, Oddy, clocked a turnover of Rs 100 crore in 2020.
After seeing his father’s stationery business expand, Atul Garg chose to forego his post-graduation education and joined the family business after finishing his first year M Com examinations. He was 20 years old at the time, and the year was 1998.
After assisting his father at the store for a few years, he was well-versed in the trade. Shri Niwas Garg’s father ran a stationery business in Chawri Bazar, Delhi, called Nai Sarak.
“Alankar Stationery Mart was founded by my father in 1978 with a capital of Rs 25,000.
It was a 50-square-foot store at the time, and he supplied stationery to government agencies,”, according to Atul, he has now evolved the company into the Oddy stationery brand. In 1998, Oddy was founded with Rs 5 lakh and five staff in the basement of Atul’s Delhi home.
The company has grown over the years and is expected to reach a revenue of Rs 100 crore in 2020. Soon after Atul started working full-time for the company, he realised that establishing their own line of stationery would be a game changer.
“We needed a name that would work with a variety of stationery goods, so we came up with ‘On Demand.’ We abbreviated the name to Oddy since it was too lengthy. In 1995, my father formed Atul Paper Pvt Ltd as a distributorship company, but we opted to concentrate on Oddy instead. I set up a modest office in the basement of my house and worked with my small team, using the expertise I had obtained while working in the shop with my father during my graduation.
From the basement of his home, Atul established Oddy with five employees. He began by selling a few items, including OHP sheets for projectors, copier paper, sticky notes, and STD PCO rolls, which were used for billing calls in the public phone booths that were common at the time.
Correction pens, glossy paper, paper label stickers, scribbling pads, POS rolls, glue sticks, and origami sheets are among the items offered by Oddy today.
Atul, on the other hand, got his early commercial skills from his father Shri Niwas, who married Sunita in 1976. Amit Garg and Sachin Garg are Atul’s younger siblings.
The brothers attended Delhi’s Mahavir Senior Model School. Atul was a diligent student who consistently ranked in the top five students in his class.
He also participated in discussions and athletics as part of his extracurricular activities.
Atul says, “We grew up in a pretty middle-class family. We had everything we needed, yet we never went overboard. Because we didn’t have any pocket money, we had to beg our parents for money anytime we needed something.”
Atul has been working with his father since he was in college. He graduated from Class 12 in 1995 and enrolled in the SGTB Khalsa College of Delhi University’s B Com programme.
Atul says, “When I started college, my father gave me an Opel Astra automobile. My college was about 2 kilometres away from my house.”
Atul, on the other hand, has no regrets.
He says, “I didn’t have the great college life that everyone speaks about. But I learned hands-on from someone who created a firm from the ground up in a period when startups were unheard of.”
By the end of 2017, distribution was completed. After finishing his M Com first-year examinations in 1998, he opted to get into company full-time. They now owned a 20,000-square-foot building across the street from their old (50-square-foot) shop in Chawri Bazar, and their business had expanded as well.
That was the year Atul and his father founded the company Oddy, and they were off to a strong start, with a first-year revenue of Rs 25 lakh. Their store began to stock Oddy as well as other brands.
In 2000 and 2002, Atul’s brothers Amit and Sachin joined their father’s stationery company. Atul, on the other hand, continued to focus on Oddy items.
In 2004, the family opened a 12,000-square-foot production facility in Delhi’s Okhla Industrial Area. Oddy was given a countrywide distributorship two years later.
In 2008, as their business increased, they opened a second facility in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. By 2010, the family had stopped distributing other stationery goods and had focused only on Oddy.
By this time, his father had established himself as a fixture on national television, appearing on business shows as a paper industry expert.
“In 2014, the firm received ISO 9001 certification, and for the first time ever, the turnover exceeded Rs 50 crore,” adds Atul, who would soon embark on another big endeavour.
Atul spotted a hole in the aluminium foil they had packed their lunch in while on a picnic with friends and family in January 2016, perhaps owing to the pickle reacting on it. Atul immediately saw the need for an environmentally friendly alternative to aluminium foil and formed a team to do research on a paper-based solution As a consequence, Oddy Uniwrap was born, which he claims is a more durable product that is ideally suited for fatty Indian cuisine. In 2017, Atul founded Oddy Uniwraps.
Atul Garg says, “You can reheat meals on a tawa or OTG without removing the paper wrap using Oddi Uniwrap, something you can’t do with aluminium foil,” expl
“By the end of 2017, we had begun distribution.” In 2019, Oddy Uniwraps Innovations Pvt Ltd had a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore, which grew to Rs 4.5 crore in 2020 and Rs 7 crore in 2021. We aim to close at Rs 9 crore in 2022, and we hope to perform better after the schools open.”