I don’t have a background in weddings, but when I came across the space in 2014 when witnessing a friend plan her sister’s wedding, it fascinated me. Weddings are a social and cultural centre of communities in India, hugely influential in film and fashion, massive, emotional family milestones but still at the same time so incredibly disorganized. As an investment banker, this is what excited me to work in the Indian wedding business space and after weighing the pros and cons, I decided to say ‘I do’ for the following reasons-
What’s that saying…The wedding business is the only business in town that is recession-proof. With each passing year, Indian weddings are getting bigger and better offering lucrative business opportunity to players involved. The wedding industry is pegged at $50 billion USD as per one statistic. The business of it all was a pull factor is me taking this up. It is rare to have the opportunity to innovate from scratch in such a huge market with no incumbents. And so I decide to venture in.
Wedding Planning is Painful
Weddings bring families and friends together to celebrate a lifetime of love and happiness. There’s also, of course, a lot of planning that goes into the wedding activities and events and it is here where things get chaotic. In a survey we conducted, we discovered that 90% of brides found wedding planning extremely stressful. Wedding planning is a clear pain point in India as the market is largely unorganized. The entire process of planning a wedding from end to end is tiresome and takes a lot of time and effort. This way they could leave the heavy lifting on other people and focus on enjoying the most beautiful day of their lives.
Technology Can Add Value
Technology is touching every aspect of our lives and its use in the wedding segment was much needed. The only way to organize the unorganized wedding space was to use technology. One can put that to use for an end to end wedding planning solution for all things wedding –booking venues and services with transparent pricing, shopping for clothes and jewellery on e-comm portal and reading curated content. Users save time and money and can spend more time focusing on the all of the fun leading up to a wedding.
Weddings are a feel-good business
As much as it is exciting financially, wedding planning for me is a feel-good business. By providing wedding services and inspiration, it gives me an opportunity to make a positive impact on the most important day of someone’s life. The feeling of being involved at different levels and making life easier for someone is both fulfilling and gratifying. Despite the stress and pressure that comes with the territory, this is what makes it worth in the end.
To women like me who want to take on the challenge of starting their own business, I will suggest a few tips that I’ve learnt from my own journey –
Research is vital – In order to take any business idea to the next stage it is essential to prove, using reliable information, that the idea is wanted or needed by the target market or audience. Therefore, listen carefully when doing research and make sure you are building a differentiated product that people really need, and not what you think they want.
Always have a long-term plan / goal – Investors look at the bigger picture when investing their time and money. Founders must have a clear vision on where their company will be in ten years and that requires charting clear long-term goals. This approach keeps founders motivated, and also helps them keep a check on whether their actions are moving them in the right general direction.
Building a team requires time – It is said that the success of a new venture often depends on the ability of the founder to attract a great team around him or her. So spend a lot of time hiring, even months if you must. It will save you precious time and hassle in the long run.
The author is a former investment banker turned business woman who founded Wedding Brigade.