Finding a business model in adding a unique, personal touch to gifts
- Wrapistry started as a hobby while Walvekar was trying to overcome personal loss
- A change in the way people gift is something Mumbai’s Yogita Parekh had noticed as well
The winter gift-giving and/or receiving season is here. If you are looking for unique presents to give your friends and family and are crunched for time, there are several online players to choose from.
In fact, the gifting market has expanded considerably over the years. A report by gift cards provider Qwikcilver Solutions says the gifting industry in India is likely to touch $84 billion by 2024, from the present $65 million.
“Gifting in the last few years has evolved a lot. People are more aware of what is a good way to send gifts, they are travelling and are ready to spend more, pick up styles that are more elegant," says Amruta Walvekar, 37, founder of Mumbai’s online gift wrapping startup Wrapistry.
Wrapistry started as a hobby while Walvekar was trying to overcome personal loss. As a stationery enthusiast, she found it therapeutic to gift wrap for friends and family. Once she started getting orders from people willing to pay, she had a business plan.
“My dad wasn’t really convinced though. So even after I started Wrapistry in 2006, I left it to pursue an MBA and work in London. I came back in 2011 and restarted it with new clients," she explains.
A change in the way people gift is something Mumbai’s Yogita Parekh had noticed as well. Parekh, in her 40s, is the co-founder of Wishtry, an online gift registry service platform set up in 2016. It lets users make a list of gifts they wish to receive and link it to e-commerce sites, from where friends and family can purchase them. The bootstrapped startup works on a commission basis from the e-commerce sites, and counts Nykaa, Amazon and Shoppers Stop among its partners.
“The idea of a gift registry was looked at with doubt in the beginning. People were not comfortable with telling guests what they wanted. At the same time, guests would never arrive empty handed even if you specified no gifts," says Parekh.
People have slowly warmed up to the idea that gifting through a registry can be a better deal. For those who still do not wish to receive gifts, can open a cash registry (for gifts in cash) or donate to a non-profit of their choice.
Parekh also struggled with convincing brands/e-commerce players about the necessity of a gift registry. At the beginning only three e-commerce sites joined hands with them.
“Smaller businesses do not have the bandwidth to carry out such affiliation programs. But now, with over 12,000 registrations on the site, we have been able to partner with more brands," says Parekh.
The struggle is real
Production was a challenge for 26-year old Vidhi Khandelwal’s design brand The Ink Bucket as well. Khandelwal, a graduate from Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion Technology, was incubated by Myntra for a year. After the first year, she relaunched her brand, this time focusing on stationery items such as calendars, notebooks and planners.
“NIFT gave me ideas about design, but my crash-course in business management came from my time at Myntra. While being incubated by Myntra, I had access to the leadership team," says Bengaluru’s Khandelwal.
A founder must also have the right mentors, especially while ideating, believes Maitri Wadher. The 25-year-old, also from Bengaluru, presented her plan for The Left Out Store, an online store making everyday articles for left-handed people, at a college fest. Only after the judges showed interest did Wadher, left-handed herself, start conceptualizing her brand, launching it in June with family support.
“Right now, we are talking to probable customers in flea markets, pop-ups and trying to raise awareness about the problems that left-handed people feel while using traditionally made right-handed products. Our products cost a bit more, but we see a lot of millennials buying it because they genuinely think about giving something that someone needs. It is a thoughtful and sensitive touch to everyday products," says Wadher, who hopes to bring down costs as volumes increase.
Increasing volumes can be a challenge though. Khandelwal tried handling all projects for the Ink Bucket, from merchandise design, marketing, production to workshops, by herself. But with over 5,000 customers on Inkbucket.com, and even more on Amazon.com, Khandelwal soon found herself burnt out.
“I had to take a step back, and now have a team to look after all these things. I guess, learning to delegate was a big step for me. Something that entrepreneurs must pick up sooner or later, as their businesses pick up. All this lets me focus on the thing I love most, designing," adds Khandelwal.
Gifting, especially when it can be personalized, is a crowd pleaser. “If a gift is unique and curated especially for the person, it becomes more thoughtful and meaningful. If those attributes are combined with good quality and some kind of functionality, it becomes more useful and long-lasting," adds Khandelwal.
FIRST PUBLISHED24.12.2019 | 07:46 PM IST