‘Going to get married…’
WedMeGood is an online wedding planning portal that provides solutions to all your wedding-related woes. The idea of such a portal was incepted by experiences that founders Anand, from Hyderabad and, Mehak, from Delhi, faced while planning their cross-cultural wedding. After a few months of intense planning and strategising, the portal was launched in February 2014. It is now visited by more than 2 lakh unique visitors every month, has an insane following on social media and recently picked up a round of funding from IAN and marquee angels like Hemant Kanakia, Alok Mittal, Anupam Mittal and Rishi Parti. After serving to-be-wed couples for one and a half years, WedMeGood is taking the next plunge of launching the app at the end of this year. The app takes the WedMeGood experience up a notch by providing a suite of useful features that help them plan a unique affair without the hassles. A large percentage of users discover WedMeGood when they are at the nascent stage of planning their wedding. They scout for ideas on how to make their wedding memorable, discover latest outfit styles, and explore trends. The inspiration gallery comprising photos tagged and real wedding stories are the biggest pull because to-be-brides love reading about other weddings in their city to decide how their weddings can be planned. WedMeGood is the capital of wedding vendors. The user logs on to the website and can browse through 18 categories of vendors from photographers, makeup artists, choreographer etc. and can filter results based on city and budget. The user can shortlist vendors from multiple options provided online and directly get in touch with them through the contact details provided on the website. Alternatively, the user can send enquiries to vendors through WedMeGood. Even when users have particular vendors in mind, they can log onto the site to check their reviews on WedMeGood to enable them to make a more informed decision. MindYourBusiness caught up with the founder of this wedding portal Anand Shahani about his life and work.
I was born in Hyderabad, where I was till I completed my school. Thereafter, I went to Bangalore for my graduation, from where I went to XLRI (Jamshedpur) for my MBA. I specialised in sales and marketing. I have opted for business courses since Class XI.
What sets our company apart is that we have been able to seamlessly blend the discovery of ideas, vendors so forth along with decision-making. Most other platforms either allow you to discover content about weddings or browse a yellow pages-like directory. Besides, at WedMeGood we are using technology to drive innovation in one of the largest yet most unorganised businesses in India.
I have had four years’ prior experience of having worked in corporate jobs before setting up WedMeGood. My last corporate stint was heading marketing in North India for Abbott Nutrition.
I always knew I would start my own company, except I did not know when I would eventually go ahead with the plan.
I did not have a mentor when I started WedMeGood, but I acquired many along the way -- right from Alok Mittal to Hemant Kanakia who are great sounding boards for us currently.
I dabbled with a salon & spa booking idea but soon realised that WedMeGood was an industry where our skillsets could add much greater value.
In a broad sense, this is not exactly what I had in mind when I embarked on setting up my own company. However it is fascinating how the method to reach the goal evolves over time; and you tend to take a couple of calls which you initially thought “Nah, we’ll never be this“.
Here’s an example of what happened. We were first sceptical about listing every vendor who wanted to get featured on WedMeGood, because our vendor guide was curated and an invite-only one. It still remains a heavily managed listing of vendors whose credentials are verified by our team using internal metrics. However we’re now open to showcasing the best work of most wedding professionals, though their visibility is still controlled using an algorithm.
We have had some milestones to talk about. We touched 1 lakh unique visitors within the first 8 months of our launch. Now, we have a strong product team of 8 who are able to roll out a strong product. Our app launched in early December and it already boasts of 3k downloads in a niche category such as weddings. We plan to drive tech innovation in this category, globally!
On the initial learnings in starting one’s own company, I might quote a cliché first by saying it’s all about people, but there’s a reason it is a cliché. Initially when you’re a bunch of people with limited resources trying to change the world, your team is all you have. Besides, the importance of a strong product and tech team in such an industry can never be underestimated.
Dealing with employees changes in the sense that you need that initial set of people who were mainly trying to drive results through the people they are managing. That’s a shift which not too many people are able to make best use of, and is super critical! We still attach the same importance to hiring the right set of people that we had right at the star. Rather than worrying about current openings and filling them in haste, we get on board the right person who will add value. Dealing with users changes the least; they (rightly) expect more from you as you grow bigger and it’s important for them to be obsessed about your brand. Dealing with partners (wedding vendors in our case) changes for the better because they start trusting your brand much more. Rather than convincing them about the value proposition, conversations move to friendly (and sometimes not so friendly) negotiations. One huge learning with them is to be firm, but yet remain humble as a brand with vendors.
Given the content background of my wife and co-founder, our initial push was mainly through a network of some of the best photographers and makeup artists in Delhi and Mumbai who believed we might be doing things slightly better than the norm.
Our a-ha moment: When people from unexpected areas mention planning their wedding via WedMeGood. Positive customer feedback gives the biggest kick!
My underlying principle is to think only of the customer. Competition, investments and so on will all fall into place if your customer satisfaction is top-notch.