Anil Moolchandani opened the first Archies store in Delhi’s Kamla Nagar when he was 19 years old and a recent Hindu College graduate. From selling songbooks and actor posters, Anil moved on to establish Archies as a household name in India and the home of greeting cards.
A product selection of 5000 SKUs, including gifting goods in the categories of beauty care, costume jewellery, soft toys, mugs, and chocolates, is available at the Archies brand today, which is handled by Varun Moolchandani, his son, who joined his father in 1999.
About 150 of the 300 locations are owned by the corporation; the others are operated by franchisees. In 2020–21, Archies reported a revenue of Rs 77 crore, a decrease from the prior year’s pre–Covid revenue of Rs 101 crore.
The company has started to concentrate on boosting its online visibility and has partnered with well-known e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Myntra, and FirstCry, where they have shown roughly 1500 SKUs.
The capacity of Archies to continuously develop, reinvent, and release new items has been a key factor in its success. Varun describes how Archies developed from a single store in Delhi in 1979 to a network of many locations, continuously changing with the times, launching new goods on a regular basis, and extending across the nation.
When his father got the notion to market songbooks to the youth of the moment, he had just finished college and was working as a saree shop assistant.
Varun examines the history of Archies beginning with a little shop in Kamla Nagar. The original Archies store offered songbooks with the lyrics to famous English songs of the time. The songbooks were helpful to the young people who couldn’t understand the songs owing to the western accent.
Anil gradually grew the Archies brand by introducing posters of automobiles, Disney characters, creative stationery, picture books, calendars, and planners. They were all geared at young people and their yearning for unique but cool items. After a while, he opened shops in Delhi’s Daryaganj and Greater Kailash Market.
As demand for the Archies goods increased, inquiries poured in from South India, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan. The firm quickly established a network of distributors to satisfy the demand.
Even as the company expanded, Anil was determined to create a flagship item for Archies that would come to represent the company, and in 1983 he came up with the concept of introducing greeting cards.
At first, he made cards for the holidays of Holi, Diwali, Rakhi, and New Year’s. Early in the 1990s, Valentine’s Day gained popularity in India, and Archies took advantage of the trend by releasing Valentine cards. Young individuals from all around the nation picked up their love-themed greeting cards to give to their special someone’s.
The popularity of holidays like Mother’s Day, Daughter’s Day, and Father’s Day also increased in the 1990s, which increased demand for Archies cards. The business also debuted additional items at this time, including soft toys, mugs, photo frames, and hats.
In 1997, Archies changed its status from a private limited company to a public one, and Varun joined the organisation two years later. Also in 1997, Varun graduated from Modern School in Barakhamba Road, Delhi, and was enrolled in IILM University’s BBA programme when he joined Archies.
Varun describes how consumer preferences have changed and how Archies stores have remained relevant in the modern era, when individuals only send greetings to one another on Whatsapp on major occasions like holidays.
20% of their overall revenue is still generated by greeting cards.
The brand’s design and creative parts are handled by Varun’s father, who is still actively involved in the company. Nerru Moolchandani, his wife, manages both their Kamla Nagar business and the home. Riana, 10, and Naira are the couple’s two daughters.