The name, Harshvardhan Khemani is a synonym for sincerity, Integrity and Hard work. He is the person that most people look up to when there is a need for a simple solution to a complex issue. He is a rare commodity in the human race, with an ‘out of the box thinking guy’ attitude. He has a business management degree in marketing and he started his career as an analyst. He has an expertise in business management, social media marketing, brand management and marketing strategy.
He has always been an asset to any organization, so in order to better utilize his skills he launched his own venture, Oye Happy. This is his second stint at entrepreneurship and it has taken the e-commerce sector with the storm.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
We are the only company in India to both curate and create its own unique gifts and experiences, which are customizable, cost-effective and scalable. We conceptualise unique gifts and our product development team either creates them in-house or enters into exclusive tie-ups with professionals who handle the end-to-end making of the gift. The experiences we offer are designed to be entertaining not just for the recipient but also for onlookers who are present at the location. We conceptualise unique experiences and enter into tie-ups with service providers who handle the end-to-end execution of it.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Consumer behaviour and my experience of 6 years in gifting indicates that gifts are no longer only a social obligation but an important way to build an emotional connect as well as leverage social media capital. The gifting industry has not kept up with these new demands. While there are several marketplaces focusing on creating gifting platforms, there has barely been any innovation on the quality or nature of gifts itself.
What is your life mantra?
If you have to spend the best phase of your life doing something, you better enjoy doing it.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Selling the idea of the product before the product itself. The idea of sending a gift online used to be majorly restricted to flowers and cakes. Getting them to adapt never-seen-before concepts and buy them at a new e-commerce portal was challenging at first. Thanks to word of mouth publicity, people have started buying products worth over Rs. 15,000 without the need for interaction with us.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Perseverance. Belief. Some more perseverance.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
After bootstrapping to build a proof of concept, we raised some seed funding from a couple of serial investors. We wanted to use the initial capital to build a strong business model and achieve profitability before going for the next round. Now that we are profitable, we are more confident of the success of this business.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Everyone in the team loves the idea of making people happy and almost every one of them was already doing so in their own little ways before joining us. Letting people be their own boss is a leadership approach which has worked. Creativity is the key to our success and that can only happen in a no-obligation scenario where they are pro-active and motivated about their careers in the company.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Belief, perseverance and sense of humour to cope with difficult times.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Delivering surprises myself whenever I can spare time. It reminds me why I started Oye Happy in the first place and helps me focus on the core.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I can eat 50 Pani puris at one go. I should probably bring it down to 25.
Answer in less than 50 words
Whatever you do, do it because it makes you happy.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Everyone should avoid not making mistakes. They often lead to the best epiphanies.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Do business in a way you are comfortable and convinced with. Decisions from the heart are often the best.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We will be the leader in gifting in India. Strong presence in every major tier 1 and 2 cities with a constantly evolving product mix is going to be our core focus.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Antarctica, the Himalayas and the fridge.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do.