Chatting with Karan Joshi of Odd Giraffe
We all love stationeries. Some to a moderate extent and some perhaps a little too much (looking at you!). The bottom line is... stationeries add an extra dose of joy in our daily life. Meet Karan Joshi, the creative brainpower behind the cute AF lifestyle brand known as Odd Giraffe - who's design philosophy is centered around the idea to simply "have fun and be happy."
Launched late December last year, Odd Giraffe is Joshi's latest creative project.
*rewind* Before we dive into the Odd Giraffe brand, let me tell you a little more about Joshi...
He's a 26 year old Mumbai-born marketing graduate who has previously ran his own boutique advertising agency called 'twentythree advertising' that saw him land clients like Discovery, Disney, Animal Planet, Bacardi and others. Oh and he's also the founder of the Twitter account @WeAreMumbai who's gained more than half a million followers - NBD, right? But if you ask him, Joshi will describe himself as "an advertising graduate who loves Harry Potter (YES, mentioning that is VERY important!), a shy guy who hates to socialise, who would rather eat noodles at home while watching Friends and a workaholic who's focused entirely on my (his) new baby, Odd Giraffe."
Now that that's established, let's dive in:
At its core, Odd Giraffe is a lifestyle brand that designs stationeries, clothes, accessories and others with four things in mind: fun, friendship, happiness and colours. Joshi elaborates that: "There's an underlying statement that each of our product makes which is have fun and be happy. We want our customers to feel empowered but not in a rebellious way. We want to make them feel special, that they are loved and they are amazing how they are."
"We actually started with the idea of making phone cases under the brand name but we realized that there are already tons of small-time companies doing that and there won't be much innovation in it. So we came up with the idea to start with stationeries. Planners to be precise."
Why planners, you may ask?
"Cause there are hardly any brands in India who sell planners! We saw an opportunity there. There was no one making them here. We started by conducting a survey and found that not many people are using planners and so we decided to make a planner. And since we also saw that there are not many lifestyle brands in India that's focused on design, we decided to make one that is fun and well-designed. We introduced stickers and even included a back pocket. Each of our planners also come with a little compliment each week. My favorite is 'Even if Beyonce were my friend, I'd spend my evenings with you' which I think is lovely. So overall, the idea was to create an innovative and useful planner at an affordable price that people will love to use and not just stack them up," said Joshi.
Odd Giraffe's most popular item the 'Work Work Agenda' was an immediate hit among stationery fans, bloggers, writers and even among Bollywood stars like Sonam Kapoor - selling out quickly and proving to be so popular that it was even featured in none other than Vogue (India).
The launch of the Odd Giraffe site placed them in the global top 3% of Shopify stores that launched the same week! To put into perspective, statistics from Shopify Unite reported that there were over 200 000 new merchants in 2017 alone and in total there are over 600 000 merchants globally. Top 3% is an extremely remarkable feat.
Okay, okay I know what you're thinking... let's focus on one very important question we all have for Joshi: why the name 'Odd Giraffe'?
He humorously explained that: "There was no particular reason for naming it Odd Giraffe. We knew that we wanted to tell our customers that being different is ok, being weird is ok. So 'odd' was in the picture but phrases like 'Stay Odd' or 'Stay Weird' was not very brand-like. That's where the word 'giraffe' came in. Giraffe in its own way, is odd from many other animals. Plus, giraffes are super cute. And together 'odd' + 'giraffe' has a very nice ring to it, hence Odd Giraffe."
And as for what's in store for the brand in the near future, he said that the brand will be branching out to create lots of new products in different categories. Such as drink ware, home decor and adding more clothing into their existing collection.
Fun fact: Joshi loves brands like Kate Spade, Lazy Oaf, Ader Error and Typo ❤️!