A candid dinner-table conversation with his mother made the Arjun Reddy star Vijay Deverakonda realise how small-scale business owners have been struggling to stay afloat during the crisis, leading to the birth of the RowdyxLocal initiative in May.
The first star from the South to have his own lifestyle brand, Deverakonda stepped up to support local entrepreneurs by promoting their products on the Rowdy website and transferring the earnings to them. Rowdy had been promoting indigenous products by local artisans on their clothing portal and offering financial support to small-scale businesses
“If you have cool, quirky, basically Rowdy products and you are a Local Rowdy, write to us at email@example.com. This is a humble step taken by the brand to stand by the fellow citizens and bring out the best in them and help them rise,” he had said, announcing the initiative on social media, urging his legion of fans to spread the good word.
While his brand of clothing focuses on high-street fashion, the line expanded in the last two months to include cotton tote bags, plaid masks and other indigenous products. “My team at Rowdy quickly developed the back-end software and the standard operating procedure in four days, and launched the initiative. The artisans and manufacturers reach us through an email address dedicated to the programme”.
“Our team examines the products to see if they fit our design philosophy and match quality standards before putting them up on our platform. We partnered with a group of women from Pochampally and Narayanpet, and put their hand-made masks on the app. Entrepreneurs have our backing, the assistance of our design marketing teams and access to half a million loyal clients,” explains Deverakonda, adding that they have sold over 15,000 products during lockdown.
He acknowledges that his humble roots prompt him to help those who need it. “We belong to a self-employed middle-class family. My father did odd gigs and my mother runs a teaching institute. If I wasn’t an actor, it would have been hard to pay the rent and live this life.”