Nikhil Ranjan is an Engineering graduate from the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore. Right from his days at college, he was clear in his mind of what career path he would choose. The comfort and security of an established family business in manufacturing of office stationery did not attract him. Even though he had a brief stint at IBM as a software engineer, it was more to get his bearings right and test waters and at the age of 24, he had time on his side to tread carefully.
In 2002, Nikhil established William Penn a retail store for high end stationery. Starting a venture from a scratch with limited resources and being a one man operation, was a real test of entrepreneurial material. More so, the decision to specialise in writing instruments and enter an hitherto untested markets was a decisive moment. Nikhil soon discovered the potential for writing instruments in the country and more stores were established in quick succession not only in Bangalore but in all major cities of the country. Outlets at major airports in the country contributed to the sale and strengthening of the brand. International brands showed interest to stock their products in William Penn outlets. Along the way, Nikhil established a trading arm of William Penn to represent a few select international brands of writing instruments and men’s accessories. Through this division, William Penn distributes products to other retail chains and has a growing corporate presence.
Many think Nikhil’s extent of delegation of work is inadequate as he is hands on when it comes to the retail arm of the company. But Nikhil argues that meeting the customer and understanding their needs, often standing behind the sales counter is like feeling the pulse of the business. This according to him has helped to make quick course corrections
To Nikhil, it is not ‘all work and no play’. He enjoys spending time with his young family and friends. He is a member of the Round Table India and is on the board of the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) . While in Bangalore, seldom does he miss a game of tennis with his friends. The 1962 model Vespa scooter which he used to go to college is still his prized possession and in a fine running condition !