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Interview: WeddingPlz.com

One of the few remain businesses that have not been steamrolled by the online players is the wedding business. A young startup is trying to tackle this challenge by aiming to service the needs of both the vendors and the consumers. Here is the story of weddingplz.com
Who is the team behind WeddingPlz.com and how did you fix on this idea?

Manas Wadhwa – Founder & CEO

Manas Wadhwa is a non-technical guy completely in love with technology. Inquisitive and resourceful by nature, he likes doing extensive research before finalizing on any new ideas and solutions. With technology changing the landscape of how businesses operate, his mantra for success is – to develop faster, better, cheaper.

WeddingPlz.com came as a solution to his own genuine need of converting countless vendors detailing and questions to a single click process. A successful entrepreneur by nature, prior to finding weddingplz, he has co-founded an award winning chain of restaurants which was also the official Public Caterer to F1 Formula Racing 2013. He has also founded Virtual Space InfoTech Pvt. Ltd., which is among the top Virtual Tour Company in India, and has some of the most coveted brand names under its client list viz. Max Hospitals, Amity University, Mercedes Benz etc

Prashant Kumar – Co-Founder & CTO 

The tech brain behind WeddingPlz he very deftly handles the coding, PHP structure and user interface structure of the website. He holds his expertise in launch of various search portals and has more than 10 years of experience in tech lead domain. Zatse.in, PlaybillEdu, Kenyan Airlines automation for STPC are some of his major outstanding projects on the technical front.

Parull – Head, Data & Content  

An MBA in marketing communication from SIBM, Pune, Parull takes care of everything that you can see on the website, a.k.a Data & Content, and everything in between! With over 3.5 years of industry experience in Fortune 500 companies such as Good Year Tyres and SK Energy, Parull gives a voice to WeddingPlz online presence and ensures that you find whatever you are looking for on the website.

Manya Singh – Head, Product

Over 5 years of experience with Industry stalwarts like Just Dial and Ask Laila, Manya brings to WeddingPlz her expertise in Internet Products and Features, User Driven Development and Online Advertising Models.  She has a great experience in the domain of handling strategic product development and strong multi-tasking capabilities to plan, execute and manage intricate projects.

Tejbir Bhatia – Head, Sales 

With a knack to successfully close every account that he begins with; Tejbir heads the sales department with 6 plus years of experience in Sales, Business Development and Client Servicing. His skill set in handling multiple clients at a time and yet keeping everyone happy is what makes him stand apart from any other sales person you meet.

 

How did the idea come about?

While away for his cousin’s wedding in Ludhiana, the inconvenience caused to him to find one good wedding vendor at the last moment vis-à-vis the ease to find food joints on ‘Zomato’  is what deepened his conviction to explore the idea of a wedding vendor search portal, thus giving way to WeddingPlz.com – The best place to find perfect wedding vendors in town ! 

 

Weddings in India have always been arranged and managed offline – getting this idea online would require changing the consumers’ way of thinking. How are you going about it and what are people saying?

Anybody who is about to get married ( the prospective bride and groom) and everybody involved in their wedding preparations ( family and friends ) are our customers.

These days people are becoming more digitally savvy, our target audience being prospective to be wed couples in tier 1, 2 and 3 cities, are significantly aware of the boons of an online space which addresses their needs and requirements.

There has been a excellent response from the consumers’ side. We get approx 40,000 users a month and have seen a 20% growth month on month since our launch. In terms of enquiries we have generated 5400 and have seen an increase of more than 40% for the same. Also we get genuine customer reviews, event subscription requests and deal requests which only show a continuous customer engagement.

 

Over the years many people have tried to bring the big wedding business to an online model. Almost none have taken the lead as a big player. Why do you think that is and how would you make a difference?

None of the current industry players, or the ones preceding it have blended the needs of the consumers to those of the vendors in an exhaustive way. They have taken one piece of the wedding industry pie and highlighted it. These days consumers are more technologically advanced and besides finding the vendor details online, they also like to read about vendor reviews or what are other prospective couples or users saying about it , or they would be glad to know about the upcoming wedding exhibitions and trends or would like to get discounts from their favorite vendors and many such things… weddingplz.com

WeddingPlz.com is the only website in the online space that smoothly integrates everything that is required to plan and organize a wedding online into a single website. From maximum and most detailed vendor information to local vendor search, genuine couple reviews, upcoming wedding related events & exhibitions, Vendor deals & discounts for customers to amazing wedding planning tools and wedding website, It consolidates everything into a single website, thus being the most exhaustive yet comprehensive wedding search portal.

 

How do the vendors fit into the model? Are you charging a listing fee?

The vendor listing is completely free of cost. One of our revenue generation model on the other hand consists of online advertisements and banner ads. We also provide vendors with a business dashboard where they can see their user analytics details, respond to their customer reviews, update portfolio and a lot more.

 

Is there any level of quality control built in for the service providers found on your website?

Each vendor business listing on WeddingPlz.com is verified through our own set of inbuilt check measures. None of the vendors on our website are listed without passing through due verification and check standards.

 

Are you funded/ looking for funding and what are the short term plans for the venture?

We are growing very aggressively and Following are our short term plans for the venture:

  1. Plan to Launch in Mumbai by April 2015 and expanding to three other cities – Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Bangalore by September.
  2. Making our website Mobile Friendly and launching our new UI.
  3. Launching Showcase – A Photo Gallery for vendors as well as users, where in you can search anything from zillions of wedding Pics.

Currently we are self funded.

 

What have been the lessons learnt in your startup journey and what would be the one thing that you would advise to aspiring entrepreneurs?

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor –  I feel that this proverb aptly sums up the journey of any startup.  Every startup has to face lots of challenges in all sorts of areas be it technical, financial or physical. There are a lot of lessons that I learned but the most important being – there is nothing more important than deeply understanding your customers as they hold the key to your success. You win the heart and mind of your customer and they make you win everything else! 

There is not one but three things that I would advise to the aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Stays focused and build something that people want.
  • Keep travelling, meet industry people and understand your customers
  • Stay inspired – there is nothing which helps more than the fire within.

More information at WeddingPlz.com

 

Deepak
 

A bit of education, a byte of startups.

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