The wedding industry in India is massive and continues to grow every day. While more options are offered to the bride and groom in terms of the type of wedding they want to have, they often receive gifts that are barely relevant to their lives. Founded by Kanika Subbiah, Wedding Wishlist is a pioneering concept of a wedding gift registry in India, established in February 2016. We chat with Kanika about the venture. An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture, Wedding Wishlist?
The idea took form when a friend shared her experience of receiving irrelevant and duplicate gifts at her wedding, an experience most newlyweds in India will relate to. During my stay in the US, I saw the concept of wedding registries first hand; the benefits were compelling – gifting was extremely easy and relevant. Every wedding I attended had a wedding registry built by the couples and I found that eighty nine per cent of all weddings in the US have a registry. Analyzing the immense gap that exists between gifts received and gifts desired at weddings by the couple, I thought of creating a one-stop destination for prospective couples and their guests to create a single platform where couples can decide:
- What they want
- How they want it
- Where to send it
And thus was born the unique model of Wedding Wishlist.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
Indian Weddings today are getting bigger, more planned, managed and see a team engaged for every aspect right from designers, caterers, planners, décor, clothing, photographers, make-up, even accommodation and entertainment. But there is one crucial element that seems left open to the guests and that is ‘Gifting’ for the couples. ‘Wedding Wishlist’ is a pioneer in this segment, hence we see a huge potential under this sector which is vastly untapped and cluttered. Wedding Wishlist as a concept is apt for today’s digitally savvy Indians, who are receptive to the idea along with the ease, flexibility, relevance, practicality and accessibility it offers. At weddingwishlist.com, it is the team’s collective goal to help bridge the gifting divide, and create an experience that is rooted in practicality, while still ensuring that the happy couple has a fun and memorable experience. This to me continues to define the success, uniqueness and relevance of Wedding Wishlist in India.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Like every startup, the issues are in the areas of execution and operation. Finding the right talent pool of individuals and marketing the setup which works in a new area is what we are working on. It’s not like jewelry, which people understand. We’re working on a concept, which we need to explain to people and it has to be done in a manner that makes sense.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
I have a few mentors that I reach out to from time to time. One of them is Renuka Ramnath, a successful entrepreneur, a friend, a loyal client, an investor, and a very strong woman. She always has a great perspective that she provides readily.
- Have you benefited from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Our team is tech-savvy and digitally connected. I would say we use social media extensively. We also have put in place a system to deliver a personalized gifting experience to our clients.
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Wedding Wishlist has a team of dynamic and talented Wishlist planners and lifestyle consultants. The responsibility of each Wishlist planner is to provide proactive assistance to couples right from engaging with them and explaining the concept and how it works. Guiding the couple towards creating a customized wishlist, website and proactively assisting them with guidance on how to make the right choice of gifts based on their lifestyle, city of residence and various crucial parameters that are relevant to the entire process. Each wishlist planner is committed towards ensuring the couples amplify their communication in the most creative way to create excitement amongst their wedding guests and also assist guests wherever required to ensure the gifting experience is smooth and flawless. Managing minor details, monitoring couples wishlists, special requests and also ensuring the gifts are delivered in a timely and this individual closely monitors efficient manner, based on each couple’s preference. Finally helping the couple put together their ‘Thank You’ notes consolidates their contribution towards each couple. Our team is equally responsible towards driving relationship management, seamless technology support, product and experience portfolio expansion, creation of unique content and collectively ensures each couple benefits immensely from ‘Wedding Wishlist’ and personalizes the end to end experience to befit every couples tastes and preferences. We are committed to customer expansion by utilizing a combination of online and offline initiatives, events, workshops, informal experiences and creative content, videos and social experiments to drive customer awareness and enhance conversions. Additionally, word of mouth and positive customer experiences have been positive engagers thus far and contributed towards expansion of our customer base.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I truly believe the skills that define an entrepreneur, in no particular order, are: