Gifting is an integral part of all our festivities and celebrations, yet the gifting market in India is mostly underserved.
According to husband-wife and business partners Shashwat and Shivika Goenka, of the six-billion-dollar RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, the gifting sector that is worth $30 million, does not have enough organised and credible players that offer well-curated gifts as per customers’ requirements.
During the lockdown, when the importance of family and the need to cherish every moment of life was re-established, Shashwat, Sector Head Retail and FMCG, RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, Founder- Too Yumm! and Shivika, Vice President – Quest and The Loft, decided to launch an exclusive gifting website,
The Gift Studio.
Launching tomorrow, the studio lists a variety of gifts – flowers, cakes, gadgets, art, fashion and experiences in the range of Rs500 to Rs10,000 and beyond. They also have a special vegan hamper curated by actress Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and boxes designed by artists Paresh Maity and Bose Krishnamachari.
From huge brick-and-mortar retail outlets to an online-only venture, what was the thought behind The Gift Studio and why just an online space?
We found that there is a white space when it comes to well-curated gifts for friends and family. We want to create something that is easy to use, intuitive, so that the person ordering can do it quickly, but in a manner that the receiver thinks it is thoughtful, valuable, personalized and unique. There is also a huge gap today with other online sites – what you see in an image and what gets delivered is very different in terms of standard, experience and satisfaction. It is so hard to find the right credible online site- where the quality and the sentiment all are in sync. With us, what you see is what you get. We wanted to take it online because, now, people aren’t too keen on stepping out, owing to the pandemic and also keeping the new age of convenience serving the see-now buy-now set of customers. Of course, we aren’t only online. Our luxury hampers will be available at Nature’s Basket stores across Mumbai and Kolkata.
Would it be right to say that this, is in many ways, a transition from offline to online?
Yes and No. While we did do offline gifting through our stores, The Gift Studio is very different. It is an online-first gifting venture, where the focus is not just curating from products available at our physical stores but working with specialized partners to deliver the A to Z of gifting.
Why a website on gifting?
The gifting market in India is growing exponentially. Despite its size, we believe it is an underserved market – especially for thoughtful well-curated gifts that have a strong emotional connect. We want to provide a reliable, one-stop shop for all gifting needs – curated gourmet hampers, cakes, flowers, balloons, luxury chocolates, wine and unique experiences.
Normally, gifting is an activity that takes a lot of time and effort from the person who is gifting. We want to make it effortless and enjoyable with the ease of a click of a button.
Is the Indian market ready for a platform such as yours?
I think yes. Gifting, and premium/luxury gifting is not new to India. It is something that is core to gifting in general. Our idea is to make this a seamless experience for, both, the person gifting and the person being gifted, through our online portal.
Not many, but there are few such players in the market, how is your platform different from others?
There is no online player who has taken gifting to this extent. What separates us is that we cater to audiences across all socio-economic groups. We have something at an entry price of Rs. 500 and it goes up to more than Rs. 10,000 with more creative options for a premium customer. The other thing that sets us apart is that this isn’t just an online presence, but we are available offline also at the Nature’s Basket stores. Our offline presence will strategically increase over next quarter. We will also expand our online offering to other cities over the next few quarters.
Who is your target audience?
Our target audience is anyone and everyone who loves affordable conscious luxury and personalised gifting.
While many businesses have shut shop, you have decided to start one now. Why?
We honestly could not think of a better time. We believe this is a perfect time to show your loved ones- near and far – how much you care for them. If we have learnt anything at all during this time – it is that relationships truly matter. We at The Gift Studio, aim to facilitate this -we believe that love and appreciation are not a matter of proximity but of thought. We believe that we bring smiles to faces and love to hearts even from many kilometers away- maybe even from continents away.
What are your key marketing and promotion strategies?
We as a brand have partnered with various other brands that are leaders in their respective industry like La Folie, Le15 for bakery products, The Oberoi and Taj Hotels for experiences, and more. We have most recently collaborated with ace designer Anamika Khanna, who has curated a hamper line for us, and we are looking at more collaborations with experts and eminent personalities from different walks of life, which will help us build a limited-edition gifting line.
What is your revenue and business model?
Our business model revolves around curating hampers ourselves and working with third-party partners to bring you a wide range of well curated gourmet food hampers, care and wellness hampers along with fresh exotic bouquets, decadent cakes, customised balloons, gadgets, branded merchandise, unconventional experiences and more. The gifting business in India is a $30 billion one and we aim to target that.
List the three most exquisite products and experiences that are offered on The Gift Studio?
1. A hamper in which items have been handpicked by Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, which is focused on vegan products.
2. A uniquely designed hamper – where the packaging as well as the products have been designed and curated by Anamika Khanna and some boxes have been designed by artists Paresh Maity, MF Hussain and Bose Krishnamachari
3. My personal favourite – The World Food Trunk – a curated hamper which has products from around the globe representing practically every cuisine.
In terms of experiences, some of our most exclusive ones are staycations, private dining, a musical evening and more.
How long have you been working on launching this venture?
We started it during the lockdown when we noticed that people were away from their loved ones and wanted to make occasions special even when far away. We already had the expertise, being in the retail industry for a while now.
What is your five-year plan for the Gift Studio?
The market for gifting in India is massive (30Bn USD), so the opportunities are endless. We see The Gift Studio becoming our customers’ preferred gifting partner – a one-stop destination not only for India, but even for people living overseas wanting to gift their loved ones back home. We are launching in Mumbai and Kolkata currently, but in the next few years we plan to expand our reach to all major cities of India.
What lessons did you learn during the lockdown?
The single most important lesson I have learnt is around being agile and moving quickly to adapt to market changes.
How do you define luxury?
Luxury is a feeling/experience you have when something touches your heart.
What is the working equation between you two? How do you balance personal and professional life?
Thankfully, that comes naturally to us – we can leave the work at work, and home at home.
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