I love a good story, be it through advertisements, movies or an entrepreneur who dared to think differently. I believe in bringing in fresh perspectives -- to a corporate profile or a Facebook post -- like new wine in an even newer bottle. I graduated with a journalism degree from the Xavier Institute of Communications. My weekend rituals involve watching Bollywood movies and reading up on style trends.
Racking your brain over the ideal wedding gift? Chennai-based startup Wedding Wishlist (WW) has a solution for giver and getter alike. Started in February by Kanika Subbiah, 45, WW is an online marketplace that allows couples to curate a wish list of gifts they want for their wedding and share it with their guests on social media.
The concept of creating a ‘registry’ or a ‘wish list’ of gifts is a popular concept in the West and exists in various forms, such as wedding registries and baby registries (for expectant or new mothers).
In India, too, gift registries are now mushrooming, with the likes of For My Shaadi, Wrapp’d and Good Earth offering services similar to WW’s.
“Indian gifts are more ornamental than practical. Our research shows that nearly 80 to 90 percent of gifts that a couple receives are not things they will use in their lifetime,” Subbiah says. WW is a subsidiary of her self-funded, three-year-old ecommerce platform CherryTin, which provides premium personalised gifting options for all occasions.
WW has partnered with 30 ecommerce and retail outfits who sell products and services like kitchen appliances, furniture and holiday packages. Guests can order from a “list curated for newlywed couples” following which the gifts are delivered anywhere in the country.
“India needs this concept more than the West, where it is [already] popular. With over 11 million marriages taking place annually in India, and an average of Rs 2 lakh worth of gifts given at every wedding, the potential of the gift registry is as high as Rs 90,000 crore,” says Subbiah, who raised seed funding of Rs 2 crore from seven angel investors, including Renuka Ramnath, founder, MD and CEO of private equity fund Multiples, and Kirthiga Reddy, former MD, Facebook India.
WW does not charge couples for creating wish lists; it charges a commission from the seller. A 20-member team takes care of the technology, merchandising, design and customer service operations.
Having worked with various startups in the US before returning to India in 2008, Subbiah—who holds an MBA from the University of Chicago—says her experience with CherryTin helped her establish strong partnerships with manufacturers and delivery partners. With an average order size of Rs 1,700, CherryTin generates Rs 2 crore in revenues and broke even in September 2014, says Subbiah.
“I found the category and Kanika very interesting. At Multiples, I invest in much larger companies; so this is complementary to what I do in my day job,” says Renuka, who was one of CherryTin’s earliest customers. “I got some of the Diwali gifts for my company from CherryTin. My experience was so good that I got sold on her idea.” Reddy concurs. “I am excited to see what Kanika is doing, especially as she launches the Android and iOS version of the website this year.”
Subbiah is working to ensure that WW offers a seamless experience. “We are constantly incorporating feedback from couples. We are expanding the technology platform to help them build their wedding websites and do RSVP for functions,” she says.