Now in his 30s, Mohammed Tanveer has always been a self-made man — he started taking on part-time jobs much before college and did various marketing jobs all through his three years of BBA. However, when he joined Tehelka magazine as a sales executive after graduation, he had no idea it was the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey.
Mohammed was always different in his approach to marketing, making him stand apart from his peers. To YourStory, he said,
"I used to go to houses and shops to sell magazines. If others approached 20–30 ordinary shops, I would go to 10 big ones. While others pasted one advertisement on a wall, I used to paste 10–15 and get more attention."
Mohammed's innovative approach ensured that he remained a successful marketing person as he shuffled through a series of jobs at magazines and newspapers. Joining Lifestyle as marketing general manager in 2014 was a turning point in his life as that was when he got together with his friends to start Giant Hits service in Chennai. That brought huge losses as a result of a lack of understanding of the target audience. However, it made him realise something important about himself. He said,
"After that failure, everyone including my wife talked against starting another venture. But I was determined as I realised I did not want to work under someone and also because I wanted to build my own brand."
During this time, Mohammed met Sheik, who sold sandwiches at TTK Road, Chennai, where he was very popular with his customers. Mohammed suggested he build it as a brand, which Sheik initially laughed off.
When Mohammed succeeded in his attempt at convincing Sheik, they co-founded Sandwich Square. Started in 2014, it was an instant success, expanding to 15 shops in less than a year. Though sandwiches are not part of our cuisine, the duo tries to Indianise them as much as possible by adding Indian ingredients. They also use potassium-free bread.
They already have more than 40 franchises across India and have received offers from other countries like Malaysia and Singapore too.
Getting to supply thousands of sandwiches at the audio release of Baahubali is what Mohammed considers one of his biggest accomplishments. His dream is to open 100 shops by 2020.
Read this in Tamil.