Over the last 6 months or more, I took my time with the various vendors to design, craft and produce my products, its packaging and the delivery model. I just wanted to ensure that we give a premium quality product and service at an affordable price. And once that phase was completed, I was thinking about a launch. I never celebrated my son’s first birthday, the way most Indian parents do because I didn’t want a lavish party for people who can afford an expensive meal but rather spend that money on something charitable. Likewise, I didn’t want to throw a lavish launch party for the launch of Chris Cross. But I didn’t have any other plan either.
Sometime in September, I came across the The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR Chennai) event promotion on social media. And then, I had my moment of connecting the dots. As much as brain said that it is a good business opportunity, my heart said that it would mean something to me even after decades.
And here is why: A good friend and fellow ECRider (East Cost Riders, Chennai) has prostate issues and during our weekend trips, I have seen him complain about it. And about a year ago, my dad developed some prostrate issues too. And the DGR is for prostate cancer. Secondly, I’ve been riding anything with a motor and two wheels for more than 30 years. And I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs at an emotional level. I was very cranky during the period, when I couldn’t ride my motorcycle. I suffered from PMS (not what you think: its Parked Motorcycle Syndrome!!) But when I was back on it, the open road and piece of hot metal that we call motorcycle helped me to gain new friends for life. My Sunday mornings or weekend rides are my therapy. So, to ride for the cause of men’s mental health meant something to me.
I approached the organizers and we signed up for the event. Our creative team was running the promotion and we pledged to spend 30% of our sales from 1st -15th Oct towards the DGR’s cause.
The event was scheduled on 7th October 2018, so I was to land in Chennai on 6th of October. But then, an unfortunate incident happened in my life. While I was in my hometown, Tirunelveli with my parents, my dad suddenly fell unwell. On October 3rd, I lost my dad, the man who loved his cars, rode a Vijay Super scooter from Tirunelveli to Chennai in the ‘70s and the man who had taken me to many Sholavaram races. All of a sudden, my priorities and schedule changed. Between mourning the death of my father and arranging funeral related things, my mind did wander about the launch. I felt it wasn’t a good start for Chris Cross. I had given my word to the organizers and I didn’t want to pull back from the event. It was supposed to be a muted launch.
But even in his death, my dad had different plans. The weatherman predicted heavy showers and the entire state was in red alert. The event was pushed to 14th October. Even that did no good to me, I wasn’t excited nor planned to be there for the launch. Three days prior to the event, I got a call from the organizer, saying that one major motorcycle has pulled out and another major clothing brand has signed up as the national clothing brand ambassador for the event. Their contract had a non-competitive/exclusivity clause, which was an issue for them, the organiser and us. I didn’t want it to be a mess and did have a conversation with the organiser about pulling out if it was going to be a problem. At this point, I wasn’t really concerned about the launch as I was processing my personal loss.
The event attracted 400+ bikers. Bikers were dressed like Distinguished Gentlemen or ladies. Even the hot weather didn’t bother the men in sharp suits. The ride from Palladium, Phoenix Mall to ITC’s WelcomHotel Palm Beach, Mahaballipuram was disciplined. The riders stuck to the speed limit and their lane. The marshals ensured that the traffic wasn’t affected. The venue was perfect – not too big or small. The crowd was energetic and knowledgeable. The guest speakers were to the point about prostate cancer, and donations rolled in.
People flocked to our stall. Loved the retro designs and shared their stories about the design. Many bought our t-shirts and most importantly, picked up our stickers that promote our “I Wear Helmet” Campaign. We could not have asked for a better launch where business and social cause collaborated to provide a very good and positive vibe.
Most times, we plan and work towards executing our plans but the angels that guide us, have different and better plans than what we can dream of. Thank you dad.