Quirky and Funny, the New Mantra for Millennials

Among the glut of quirky products, planners and journals are increasingly taking over millennials' desk and bag spaces.

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Of late, social media platforms are brimming with millennial-centric products. From Harry Potter-themed planners and notebooks to phone cases, with patakha (firework) written on them, all of it is available across Instagram, Facebook and multiple websites.

Odd Giraffe

Among the glut of quirky products, planners and journals are increasingly taking over millennials’ desk and bag spaces. These diaries track productivity, menstrual cycles, habits, sleep patterns, symptoms of anxiety and other mental health-related issues, among many other things, on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Some planners are all in one, catering to every need, while others can be singularly focused on daily planning.

These products can be pop-culture inspired or have minimalistic designs in many different colour palates and sizes.  

American social media influencers have been vital in promoting such habits. Many influencers promote and swear by the positive effects of journaling through YouTube channels, Instagram accounts and Twitter handles. The idea is to plan your day in advance and being mindful about how someone is spending their time.

Kanaka Pandit started using a planner about a year ago when she was 18. “I started my undergraduate course in designing and none of my days would be the same. With classes, I was also freelancing. So, I had to keep a tab on many aspects. Planning my day was very important or else, I would forget or miss out on a lot of things,” said Pandit. Initially, she would jot down everything in a notebook before switching to a planner. “There is just something about writing things down and completing a list. It has made me much more efficient and less anxious about missing my deadlines,” she added.

Therapists have also been increasingly recommending journaling as a method of coping with mental health issues. A patient suffering from anxiety, for instance, finds it difficult to break his/her negative train of thoughts. Putting thoughts on paper helps in breaking the uncontrollable thought cycle.

“Journaling is a cool culture in the US, which is now rubbing off in India. Planners or journals are very high in demand. We get demand from people between ages 16 and 35, “said Karan Joshi, co-founder and chief creative officer of stationary start-up Odd Giraffe.  “Earlier we thought it was only an urban phenomenon but we constantly get demand from places such as Srinagar, Kanyakumari, Kottayam and Assam,” he added.

Mumbai-based Odd Giraffe was founded by Joshi in January 2018 and has been an Internet-first brand since its inception. Other players in this space include minimalistic stationary seller The Paper Company, wooden-cover notebooks and accessories seller Woodgeek Store, and Papeljam.

A planner costs anywhere between INR 500 and INR 2,000, or even more. The manufacturing cost is usually between INR 100 and INR 400. The marketing cost depends from company to company. Influencers on YouTube, Instagram and TicTok play a huge role in promoting these products. Instagram and Facebook advertisements, among other marketing tools, are also quite effective. Being low on capital with good profit margins make these businesses sustainable as well.

Other product lines also include to-do lists, meal planners, calendars, phone cases, backpacks, laptop bags, and apparel. 

Bengaluru-based Chumbak Design is a successful example in the quirky lifestyle product space. Founded in 2010 by Shubhra Chadda and Vivek Prabhakar, the company started selling accessories such as fridge magnets, across retail stores. Chumbak later opened their own retail stores, added apparel and home décor, among other product categories, and created a strong online presence. With backing from venture capital firms including Matrix Partners, as of 2019 the company has more than 60 retail stores and a strong online fanbase.