Yash Gangwal: The Man Behind Urban Monkey
Born in India and bought up in Hong Kong, Yash is an entrepreneur and the founder of India’s largest home-grown Headgear brand, Urban Monkey. He received his higher education from Swinburne University of Technology, where he completed his bachelor’s in commerce. He came back to India at the age of 24 and entered the domain of business with his two start-ups namely venture innovations and coppa food group. His main focus was to build social ventures in India. Being skilled in CSR, E-commerce, and brand management, Yash successfully implemented his idea of bringing skateboarding, music, and streetwear together by establishing his company, Urban Monkey.
From Where It All Started
While in Hong Kong, Yash developed a strong passion for skateboarding. He was very much fascinated by the street culture and eventually became a part of it. But when he came back to Mumbai after 2 decades, he noticed the lack of street culture. The brands which represented street culture were missing. He was astonished when he observed that there were no good skateboards available for amateurs. Sunglasses and headgear which are an essential part of the culture were nowhere to be found.
The influence of the Street culture was very weak. Then eventually, he joined a skateboarding academy and met people who shared the same interests. His friends used to tell him to bring T-shirts, skateboards, and caps from Hong Kong. This is when he saw an opportunity and used entrepreneurship skills.
Urban Monkey: The journey with a vision
In April 2014, with his vision of bringing skateboard, music, and streetwear together, Yash started off his journey by selling Skateboards. His main aim was to represent the underground street culture. Soon he realized that a single product was not sufficient and thus came up with other products like shoes, power banks, and Bluetooth earphones but unfortunately couldn’t capitalize. It was roughly a trial and error method which they adopted to expand thier business.
Then they moved on to accessories like headgears and sunglasses, which later turned out to be successful. Primarily the products were manufactured in China, India, and Bangladesh. He used e-commerce for selling his products. He partnered with e-commerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm mall but due to fluctuations in sales, he switched to an all exclusive website for sales. Today, the company is regarded as the largest headgear brand in India and has successful collaborations with people like Raaftar, Emiway bantai, Ranvijay Singh, and Bhuvan bam.
Contribution to the street culture and the community
Yash believed that for the growth of streetwear brands, the cultivation of the Street culture is very essential. He focused on community building, collaborated with over 150 events all over the country which supports the community. His goal was to build a culture around the brand and he succeeded in that. Currently, he has a network of more than 250 underground artists, athletes, musicians, and hype beats. He also owns a music channel and a recording studio where he supports and promotes budding artists.
His contributions to the community are immense which is easily visible as Urban Monkey products were worn and promoted in movies like gully boy and street dancer and also by celebrities like Ranvijay Singh in Roadies, Bhuvan bam in his YouTube channel and Varun Dhawan.
Current Scenario and future expansion:
Urban monkey has successfully established itself in the streetwear market and has gained a status in the community. The company is proud to cater to high quality 100% vegan products and has also contributed to the societal goal by donating 4% of its revenue for the education of underprivileged children. Apart from being the largest headgear brand, introducing watches, wearable tech, headphones is the plan for 2020.
Their motto is to promote the street culture, contribute to the community and expand thier homegrown business. Now thier primary principles include focusing on functionality over aesthetics and to take inspiration from Indian heritage, culture, and local artists and incorporate those elements in thier design.
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