Kanika Subbiah is a firm believer in the importance of efficiency, whether it is in business or in personal life. To her, waste is a thief. And this inborn belief is what made her to come up with ‘Wedding Wishlist’, a unique online shopping platform that makes wedding gifts more meaningful and cherishable in India by allowing prospective couples to wishlist the products they want as a gift for their married life, and share them with their family & friends.
Launched in February 2016, for its unique idea, WeddingWishlist has received impressive initial traction, whether we talk about customers or investment. Kanika, who is an MBA from University of Chicago – Graduate School of Business, already has a well-mapped out plan for Wedding Wishlist and is aiming to spread awareness about her business to more youths in the country.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Wedding Wishlist is a pioneering concept of a wedding gift registry in India. It certainly is a cool new way for prospective couples to:
- Receive everything they need to start their new home.
- Help their guests choose a gift that fits their budget.
The couple makes a Wishlist of gifts they would like, and share it with guests they feel comfortable sharing with including – friends, family and colleagues. Gifts chosen by the couple typically range in price.
Wedding guests can buy any gift from the couple’s Wishlist that fits into their budget. Guests can even give a gift as a group. This way, the couple receives gifts that are relevant to their married life. And wedding guests can be certain their gift is meaningful and cherished by the couple. Overall, it reduces waste, discourages recycling of gifts, and ensures that the considerable money spent on gifts is spent well.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Analyzing the immense gap that exists between gifts received and gifts desired by couples at weddings, I thought of creating a one-stop online platform for prospective couples and their guests which help them decide:
- What they want
- How they want it
- Where to send it
And thus was born the unique model of weddingwishlist.com. At weddingwishlist.com, the team’s goal is to help bridge the gift divide, and create a gifting experience that is rooted in practicality, while still ensuring that the happy couple has a fun and memorable experience.
The idea was born 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 firsthand; the benefits were compelling – gifting was extremely easy and relevant.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Like every startup, the challenges 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 relentlessly working towards. Unlike bridal attire & jewelry, which people understand, we are working on a concept which we need to explain to people and it has to be done in a manner that makes sense and is a catalyst towards chasing mindsets and perceptions that are associated with gifting.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Manpower challenges have been addressed by making the right hire and fostering a work atmosphere that empowers individuals to think , innovate and be ambassadors of change. There is a deep connect between our talent pool and the service we offer, each individual at Wedding Wishlist resonates the brand and is committed towards making the difference. Marketing and educating the concept towards the Indian market has so far witnessed a balanced communication approach through creative online and offline efforts. We will continue to break barriers and change perspectives through a dynamic engagement and communication plan focused towards our target market .
What is your life mantra?
Whatever we do must ultimately benefit the community around us, or it is not worth doing.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We raised a Rs 2 Cr seed round for Wedding Wishlist. This was raised from CherryTin clients and their referrals. Renuka Ramnath (Founder, Multiples Equity) and Kirthiga Reddy (MD, Facebook India) have both made personal investments in the seed round.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We have a work culture that is informal, energetic and intense; an environment that we look forward to being a part of every day. We are open in our communication, and transparent in our decision making. We believe that the experience of working in our team helps people grow personally and professionally, which is what everyone desires.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Passion, good attitude, ability to follow through until something is done.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Since the concept of Wedding Wishlist is an online service available on www.weddingwishlist.com our focus has been vested towards dovetailing our online efforts with offline engagement, events , expositions and launch engagements. A balanced and strategic effort invested towards creative marketing and communication both online through social media platforms and offline continues to be our approach.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Prioritizing tasks and time management.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Greater discipline about exercising. When I get deeply involved in a work situation (which is often), my exercise plan is the first thing to go.
Answer in less than 50 words
Be sincere in your dealings with people. Be true to yourself.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
To try to be someone you are not.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
It is not what we do that matters, it is how we do it. Do it with intensity.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Grow Wedding Wishlist by creating awareness for the offering among the marrying youth. Make Wishlist a part of wedding planning as it should be.
What are your top three getaway destinations ?
Goa, Auroville, Chicago
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I would pursue something creative, like pottery.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy