Being able to pursue your passion is akin to a luxury these days, and not everyone can be passionate about something, let alone have that passion. But that’s not the case for Kesavan Purusotman, better known as KCPLAYS (KC).
“I think when you’re passionate enough, all things will naturally come together.”
Having found his passion for hospitality at an early age, KC recalls days when he would host little get-togethers with friends to establishing a small indie business of his own, organizing pre-prom house parties, making it his life purpose to bring the best possible entertainment experience for the populus.
Since then, it’s been a steady rise to success. KC has co-founded and heads a slew of lifestyle and F&B businesses as the Managing Director of Privilege Axel Hospitality And Management, responsible for F&B brands that have made waves in the mainstream including The Alibi, Circa bar and kyō KL. Adding on to his already impressive resume, KC takes on the role of co-founder for indie record label, Lion Music Group, home to local acts such as BATE and DOLLA.
Despite being a host at heart, being an entrepreneur has always been the end all to be all for KC. “I remember being sixteen years old, having this crazy ambition and my dad saying to me that—if I can—don’t work for anyone, work for yourself. I think since then that’s what I strived for.”
Over the years though, KC has reworked this motto, taking into consideration based on his own experience that it’s not just about working for yourself but building something from scratch with a team and achieving something collectively.
“Ultimately, it all comes down to hard work and determination to me; no matter what you do, if you’re hungry for something, you’ll achieve it to a certain extent because sheer determination goes a long way,” he says, stating that despite the challenges he’s faced, it’s been the reward of seeing the growth of his business that’s kept him motivated.
Despite being the head honcho, KC doesn’t identify with the conventional idea of being a ‘boss’, finding the title catches him off guard at times. “Many of the people in my headquarters are older than me, so it can be a little awkward when they refer to me as the boss,” jests KC.
“But I think when it comes to being a leader, having the right ethics is very important and having the ability to quickly understand the challenges your team is facing and provide them with a platform to excel.”
Speaking on his personal inspirations, KC owes it to his first establishment for setting the benchmark that would define his current success. “Seeing where it is now has truly been life-changing.”
When asked what factors generally come into play when opening a new business, the entrepreneur chops it up to knowing when you have a good thing going and taking head of what makes a good product work.
“In my experience, a good product is measured by how quickly and effectively it can impact someone, and it can be anything, whether it be a place, service or even oneself. It’s about attracting people and keeping them engaged. Sometimes it’s good to just keep it simple.”
Adding to that, KC cites having the passion to pursue your goals as a key driving force in all his endeavours. “When you’re not passionate about something, it becomes almost like a duty.”
“I’m passionate about the things I do; I love hospitality, and I’ve found that managing a business is not difficult, but managing people can bebecause if you can manage people, then you can manage a good business.”
His passion for the industry also kept him going during the pandemic when businesses such as his own were the most affected. The lockdown saw a complete stop of the local nightlife community and so meant the temporary closure of kyō KL, one of KC’s most prominent brands in the scene. “We had this long-term plan and that was very difficult to accept at the time.”
KC notes that the current post-pandemic situation has also given rise to the ongoing problem of retaining labour, an issue felt across all businesses in the industry as many are pushing for fair wages and manageable working hours.
In light of this, the young business owner has got some ideas up his sleeve that might change the tide. “We want to be one of the first F&B groups to implement a 5-day work week structure, which is a new concept that hasn’t been done in Malaysia yet.”
“By introducing the overall idea of giving employees 2-days off, it would help to keep staff happier, and I’m always a believer in the notion that happier staff offers more productivity,” he concludes.
KC is gearing up for the launch of his 7th and 8th business, soon to come in the next few months. For him, the journey is only half the battle, and seems he’s nowhere close to slowing down.