SPEARHEADING THE NEXTT ERA
A Business tycoon, a humanitarian and a scholar, Mr. Arun Agarwal’s personality has all the elements that make him an exceptional leader. Embarked on the way to a rising success chart, this CEO of Nextt, the largest bedding company in North America is marking touchstones in the Indian Home Textiles Industry in the United States
Success is a multidimensional achievement. One cannot define it in terms of one or two parameters; rather it is a part of a bigger framework which comprises of million little threads that weave into an exceptionally beautiful phase of accomplishments. Taking little sturdy steps and enriching his life with valuable experiences, the Chief Executive Officer of Dallabased Nextt, Mr. Arun Agarwal is also intertwining his extraordinary abilities with innovative ideas to arrive on a prolific destination. From his teenager days, Mr. Arun Agarwal aspired to become a magnate and lead his firm towards the pinnacle of success. That was the reason he entered the textiles market with his innovative ideas and excellent leadership skills.
THE ENCOURAGING ASPIRATIONS
“No dream is too big. Keep a good head on your shoulders and pursue it. There is fine line between self-confidence and arrogance, make sure to define that line.” Keeping true to his words, Arun Agarwal decided to give life to his dreams by establishing Alok International eight years ago. A U.S. subsidiary of India-based Alok Industry Ltd., the firm has more than 20 brands which occupy a renowned position in the home textile market.
Today, as the Chief Executive Officer of Nextt, the front-end marketing arm for Alok Industries, Mr. Arun Agarwal is guiding the Indian home textiles sector on an international platform. Mr. Arun Agarwal has more than Fifteen years of experience in the industry which helped him in understanding the ways of business world. These valuable times that he has spent in the textiles field proves to be one of the most significant parts of his eminent personality.
Possessing an impressive educational background, Mr. Arun Agarwal acquired prestigious degrees to enhance and refine his abilities. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Maharajas College in Jaipur, he went on for his further studies from the Institute of Management Technology where he got an MBA degree. At that time, Mr. Arun got a job as the youngest regional manager of JVC Onida for eastern region. Under the leadership of Mr. Sonu Mirchandani, he created a history in color television industry of India. However, his desire of acquiring more knowledge took him to the University of New Hampshire for the study of computer information systems and he achieved another Master’s degree as well International Business from Harvard University in Boston. The years that he spent in his colleges has a very special place in his heart for they evolved him into a dignified scholar who had a keen zest to bring a tremendous change in the field of entrepreneurship. From being a Secretary of Maharajas College student union to the President of Graduate Student Association of New Hampshire College, Mr. Arun’s personality always had the glimpses of a great leader.
A DETERMINED PURSUIT
It was under his leadership that Nextt has been able to achieve whooping revenue of more than $500 million. The company is a leading manufacturer of products such as home textiles, garments, apparel fabrics and polyester yarns. The firm also unveiled a 17,000 square feet flagship showroom on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Today, his company creates masterpieces of comfort and luxury in its headquarters at Dallas for some of the internationally renowned retailers such as Dillard’s, JC Penney, Target, Kohl’s, and Wal-Mart, and brands that include Trina Turk, Iman, Kathy Ireland, Jessica McClintock, and Ellen Tracy.
Mr. Arun Agarwal believes that uniqueness is like a stepping stone if one wants to excel in his pursuit. He wants to do things that stand aloof among the prevailing industry ideas. That is why he formed a team of young and enthusiastic minds who can adapt with the ever-changing scenario of the business world. He does not think that in order to do business one should follow any rulebook. Rather, they should follow a simple ideology of delivering excellence to the customers. He remarks, “Selling is as simple as being honest and winning credibility that you will do what you say”.
In a short time span, Mr. Arun Agarwal helped the firm in securing a “dominant proportion of private label”. It was due to his efforts that the company established various collaborations with the international brands. “In such a short time our reputation as a company is incredible in the retail
world,” confirms Mr. Arun Agarwal with a gleam of happiness in his eyes. “With the ecosystems we’ve created, we feel we are far ahead of the competition. But we need to keep evolving” he added.
For Mr. Arun Agarwal, the quality of services and products matters the most. It is never about prices but the durability that enhances the customers’ trust in any establishment or brand. During his early schooling in Jaipur, he did door to door market research for IMRB, which gave him some deep customer insights which still helps him in shaping his company’s future. According to Mr. Arun Agarwal he is not just “selling a sheet, but selling a solution”. He thinks that towels and sheet is basic commodity. “It’s more about the functionality. If you can combine fashion with function, it’s a winning combination.” he stated in an interview. Accentuating innovation in the company’s products, a technology of wrinkle-free sheet was introduced that created a benchmark in the industry. This sustainable technology has the ability to produce sheets that has cotton on the inside and polyester on its top which can fit the mattress of every size.
INITIATING A NEW PHASE
Mr. Arun Agarwal is the first Indian American to be appointed to Product Development and Small Business Incubator (PDSBI) Board in Texas. The board provides financial aid “for the development, production and commercialization of new or improved products and to foster the growth of small businesses” in the state. This achievement gave him a new perception towards the propensities of innovative ideas.
Impressed with the youth of India, Mr. Arun Agarwal feels that the pace at which the new generation of the country is moving ahead with their groundbreaking ideas, they can become one of the world’s best leaders that has the potential to set a new trend in the industry. He has a belief that if one gets a little help from the state then there is no doubt that his/her “ideas can turn into a big commercial success”.
Having a belief in the “Make In India” initiative taken by the Government of India to forge business growth in the country, Mr. Arun Agarwal thinks that this strategy can fuel the economic growth of the country to a great extent as it will give firm reasons to the international companies to invest in Indian establishments.
Mr. Arun Agarwal has a firm belief in business relationship. According to him, an honest approach and sincere commitments can make these associations fruitful for both the parties. Talking about his future vision for Nextt, Mr. Arun Agarwal hopes to utilize their exceptional infrastructure to subsidize the developing business models and trends. He also wishes to use his “knowledge of India to promote some products which are core to Indian economy” as well.
Even though Mr. Arun Agarwal is living away from India, his love and respect for the country is clearly visible in his constant efforts. As a proud Indian, he speaks to his daughter Anya about how lucky he feels, “We are the most fortunate people in the world. Connected to two of the best countries on earth– India and USA.”
THE COMPASSIONATE PERSPECTIVE
Apart from being a successful tycoon, Mr. Arun Agarwal is also an altruistic person. He engages himself in various CSR activities not only on a local level but on global platform too. Among these activities and initiatives, DIFFA and Chetna are radical steps taken by him through his company. The former initiative works towards the awareness and treatment of AIDS while Chetna helps the victims of domestic violence. For making a contribution towards the empowerment of women, Mr. Arun Agarwal also supports Living Dreams Foundation situated in Delhi. He also helped in the establishment of the largest Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in Dallas and also helped the Bhutanese refugee kids in DFW area.
This Founding father of Nextt is also an active participates in diverse organizations. For instance, he is one of the board members of various organizations such as Gift for Life, US-India Chamber of Commerce DFW, Indian American Friendship Council, and Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, Mr. Arun Agarwal also received NRI Entrepreneur of the Year award. Apart from that he also won awards such as “Outstanding Entrepreneur Award”, “Minority Business Leader Award” and “Entrepreneur of the Year Award”. Due to his perseverance and creativity, Mr. Arun Agarwal is laying the groundwork for his future success and also inspires the people around him to achieve big in their lives. His confidence in his self flashes through his words, “A good idea, with proper support and execution always succeeds”. This NRI entrepreneur is making headway with the help of the plans that he has designed for being one of the front-runners of the industry.