Tucked away in a quiet lane off Road No. 12, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Hoozinc is a quirky, geek store loaded with merchandise to make every geek swoon. While co-owners Chandni Mathur and Nikhil Kapur churn out fabulous creations inspired by popular fantasy characters, they take time off for an interview and hope for more geeks in their beloved city.
Hoozinc stands for…
‘Hooz’ was a doodle I used to make at the back of my books when I was in college. We decided to add ‘inc’ to make it sound more like a company. But there’s no specific meaning to it.
When was Hoozinc founded and by whom? And why?
It was founded on Sept 19, 2011 by Chandni Mathur and Nikhil Kapur.
Chandni and I knew that we both cannot work under people. One day sitting at Chandni’s house she said lets do something of our own. From there, one thing led to another and two months later we had our first batch of T-shirts in the market.
Are you following your parents’ footsteps or breaking away from family tradition?
We are engineers. I think we had the passion for art since the start but we never took it up seriously till we realised that we for sure can’t do engineering jobs. Even though there are things where we put our engineered skillsets to use it’s not something we could do full time. We have moved away from the family tradition and I think our parents are to be given the credit for supporting us in something a lot of parents wouldn’t believe in.
How has Hoozinc’s journey been since inception?
We initially started out from a room in Chandni’s house and we majorly were an online company. We then in May 2013 opened the Hoozinc store in Banjara Hills.
What are your favourite characters?
Chandni’s favourite character for sure is Spongebob. Nikhil doesn’t have a favourite character. He likes ‘The Stig’ from Top Gear though.
Is Hoozinc for you just a fascination for the unusual or a religious calling to be surrounded by art and fantasy characters? How long have you held this interest?
It’s something everyone at Hoozinc relates to. It’s something that we all enjoy. We believe that only if you relate to and enjoy your work is when you work the best.
Tell us more about the original artworks created by Hoozinc?
Hoozinc’s original artwork is viewed by a select few – who understand art like that. You will either love it or hate it. One in ten people end up liking what we do. So that’s why we stick to traditional topics to sustain the business. However, Yengamama is an original. It was inspired by Groucho Marx. There are a few more, but those haven’t be published yet. Don’t think people are ready for art like that.
Who is the typical person who frequents the Hoozinc store?
Anyone between the age group of 13 to 35 years. People usually learn about us by word of mouth and Facebook has been a huge help.
Does Hoozinc offer social-support to any NGOs by selling any merchandise?
There is a Government organization which empowers women. We sell hand made paper products made by them.
I visited your stall at the Comic Con Hyderabad 2013 and you guys were ‘busy’ to say the least! What was the experience like?
We were at Comic Con 2012 Bangalore as well. It was an amazing experience. Comic Con Hyderabad was at another level for us. The response people gave was crazy. We realized how many people knew about us and how many people loved our work.
What services does Hoozinc offer? Any plans for expansion in the near future?
We customise a lot of stuff including paintings,graffiti, jholas, shoes, pillow covers, mugs, posters, t-shirts and anything that can be imagined, we are ready to try it out for you.We hope to expand with more stores in the coming years. Any one looking to invest a lot of money please call us!
What makes Hoozinc uniquely Hyderabadi? What do you love about the city?
We are complete Hyderabadis. We are lazy to the core, work well only when the deadline is near. And believe that old city during Ramzan is the best place ever.
Any exclusive merchandise that Hoozinc sells?
We are the only people in Hyderabad and I think in Andhra Pradesh to sell official merchandise such as: Bobbleheads, clocks, mugs, shot glasses etc. Mostly stuff you see at the store is something we would like to have. We recently got the Wolverine Claws and the 300 Helmet. Really cool stuff.
Inspirational artists that you look up to? Your favourite works of art, outside your own creation.
Banksy has been a big influence. If you see his work you will understand why. He has changed the way people look at street art.There are also a few pieces by Plotbot KEN,E.L.K and Shepard Fairey.
Most hot-selling item at Hoozinc!
The ‘I LOVE HYD’ T-shirts hands down!
And the art piece you have enjoyed working on most.
The Star Wars themed graffiti we did in Bangalore. And Yoda killer fun.
So, does Hoozinc douse the appetite of Hyderabadi geeks?
We don’t think there are too many geeks in Hyderabad. Thanks to the movies & sitcoms that most of our stuff sells. But very few who still love the graphic novels and related mythology. We hope we have more geeks visit us so that we can cater to them as well. But we are slowly starting to.
Interviewed By Aftab Jalia
6-2-966/3A1, Hill colony,
tel: +91 40 68888803