For a company called Hurban, it is difficult to define in a line. A conglomerate with quirky ideas and elegant products, Hurban is best known through its brands that have carved their own space in the consumer’s mind through unique product placements to reach an audience that is anything, but ordinary.
Not long after graduating from Indiana University, Aayush Bhasin chanced upon a unique blend of unprocessed Arabic tobacco and herbs called- ‘Dokha’ in the Middle East and was surprised to find that despite being a traditional blend being smoked for over 500 years in Persia, it was not available in India. He and his childhood school friend Aviral, who was studying Aeronautical Engineering in Florida, decided to explore possibilities with the product.
This discovery led to the foundation of his very first entrepreneurial venture that they named ‘Herbal Tobacco Company’. “Today, HTC imports, packages, distributes and markets ‘Dokha’ across 15 states with a network of 25,000 stores in India,” tells Aayush, Founder, Hurban. “HTC also manufactures in India a specialized wooden smoking pipe called Iranian ‘Medwakh’ that has made presence of daunting scale in the Middle-East region,” he adds. Talking about his second venture, he says, “I love watches, and perhaps was fascinated with wood while working on Medwakh that we got the idea to create unique lifestyle brands ‘Wristwood’ and ‘Tocca Di legno’.” What is different about that? Well, the material to be precise.
“It caters to the affordable luxury market,” he tells while showcasing an enchanting handcrafted beauty- a stunning wooden (Indonesian black sandalwood) wrist watch with a contemporary styling (Swiss machinery for movements on dial) and a classic elegance that is sold online under the brand called ‘Wristwood’. Similarly, alluring are the wide array of wooden-frame sunglasses with its classic retro look and a high quality polaroid vision that Hurban sells under the brand name- ‘Tocca Di legno’.
“I love watches, and perhaps was fascinated with wood while working on Medwakh that we got the idea to create unique lifestyle brands wristwood and Tocca Di Legno," Aayush Bhasin, Founder, Hurban.
Unlike Dokha and Medwakh which are sold in retail stores in India, Wristwood and Tocca Di legno are mostly sold online and so have a strong presence in overseas markets while also gaining traction in metropolitan states in India. Talking about his passions, Bhasin says, “I have found my forte in retail and consumer goods. That’s what excites me.” But he also says that dirty surroundings disgust him. So, Hurban, hopes to help MCD clean up Delhi as well.
Just in case we are not yet surprised at the diversity of ideas that this young entrepreneur’s mind has exploded with, we find that Hurban utilises its experience and network at HTC and in a parallel endeavour, provides consultation in retail management services to budding entrepreneurs, helping them to launch and market their consumer good products in the retail sector and emerge as entrepreneurs themselves. Not just that, a project by the name of ‘Houseofpreneurs’ is also in the pipeline.
It is hardly surprising that at the Small Business Awards 2017, a serial entrepreneur of sorts, Bhasin was crowned the winner in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Category. This, he says, would not be possible without Tanaviz and the rest of his team.
(This article was first published in the April issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)