Surprises play a major role in the life of an individual. A well planned and a well executed surprise is all it takes to make someone special feel happy and loved. That someone special could be a lover, parents, best friend or someone else. But planning and executing this special surprise takes a lot of time. People these days don’t have much time as they are very busy with other personal and professional commitments. How amazing would it be if someone can do the planning and execution task for us and we just sit back and enjoy the moment, right?
Well here’s your answer!
“Sweet Surprise” is a venture that does the same and helps us to come even closer to our loved ones. What Sweet Surprises does is, they plan the whole surprise for their client as per the customization required. They believe in making moments special for their clients. Here are few words from founder and co-founder of Sweet Surprises about the struggle, challenges they had faced and about their journey so far.
Lets see what Ruchita Tanna (founder) and Malav Shah (Co-founder) of the venture have to say about their journey.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
We have named our company as Sweet Surprises. This venture started as our passion to surprise people on their special days because planned outings surely aren’t as much fun as surprises are. We don’t intend to do the usual because thrill is in doing what’s least expected.
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
Our target audience majorly would be females in the age group of 16 to 40.. In this age, people enter into new relationships, gets married or have a child, etc. Every FIRST of someone’s life is utmost important. And for these occasions like first date, first outing, first baby, etc. people are most enthusiastic and eager to do something special for their loved ones.
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
We are currently based in Mumbai. But we are slowly expanding to other cities too. We have executed some surprises in Delhi, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Lonavala, etc. We plan to reach top 7 metro cities in full fledge in near future.
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
The target audience we have is busy and is unable to spare some time for their loved ones. Now, planning special occasions uniquely is not as easy as it was earlier. Either they lack time or the skill or creativity to make it work. We do the needful at such times. We have a big bunch of surprises, clients can either choose from those or share their idea of what kind of surprise do they want for their loved ones. As the client once books a surprise with us, they can sit back and relax as we take complete responsibility of making it work. All they have to do is relax and wait for the right time to enjoy the surprise themselves too…
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
We remember how our parents used to do little things all by themselves to make our birthday special. And how it all changed to simply cutting a cake at midnight because the day is filled with other professional commitments. The charm behind these occasions was lost somewhere amidst the busy work days. As a hobby, we had started collecting our MEMORIES in paper form like the plane tickets to the first trip abroad, first beer can, etc. And we used to update those on an Instagram page. In 2015 august, one fine day, we got a call from Pune from a girl who said she wanted to make a memory book to gift her best friend for her wedding. So she never forgets the days they spent together. She said she had money but no skill to make it and no time to learn. She asked if we could sell our collectibles book to her. We took this up as an opportunity and made her a new book in just a day. It was for her that we used to work from night 9 P.M. after office to morning 4 A.M, nap for a while and get ready and rush back to work in the morning. It was tedious, but worth it. We then got a call in the next week from Mumbai, if we could arrange a dinner date at home for a couple. As they both work, they come home late and its pretty taxing to travel in traffic again to a restaurant. They prefer sitting at home and wanted us to keep the ambience romantic enough for a date. We had executed that surprise in just a span of 4 hours. The outcome was beautiful especially because the couple said they couldn’t have had better time than that night. We were hence motivated to plan such little things for people which matter a lot but often get ignored in the chaos of our monotonous life.
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Our biggest competitor currently would be OyeHappy. But we are different than what they are. We put detailed customizations in our surprises.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
We have been friends since college. We shared this common interest and thus it was not that difficult to find a co founder to this passion. Also, we know our strengths and weaknesses well as individuals. So we know how to tackle the problems that come in the form of difference of opinions in our way.
8.How did you hire your first team member? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
The first team member we ever hired, Suraj, was a B.Com graduate from Mumbai university. Since his first interview, he seemed extremely promising and hardworking. Travel was not an issue for him and he was ready to make ends meet for client satisfaction.
A team can be successful when they have common interests in mind. We want our team to have some common traits like carrying a positive attitude, ready to go that extra mile for client satisfaction, loyal to the team, co operative and accommodating, encourages other team members, ready to take up new responsibilities, encourages feedback and works on the same, respectful towards other team members, etc. We want our team to be a family at work place.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Geographical expansion is utmost difficult as in service industry, manpower is most important in a way which does not affect the quality being provided. Building teams in other cities is a challenge but we are ready for it. In the coming five years, we plan to expand in top 7 metro cities like Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Our team is on fire to make the next year grow three folds in comparison to the last year. We plan to expand our reach to nearby cities. Also we plan to expand our team, so we can execute multiple surprises each day.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We have not yet raised funding but are working on self generated funds. Yes we do plan to raise funding in near future.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
The major problem we faced was the geographical difficulty and the availability of manpower. It was difficult to make it price effective when the surprise is to be planned far from the base. Also, taking up multiple surprises in one day was a problem because of a small team.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
The most challenging part is to bring price uniformity irrespective of the geographical difficulty. This industry is service based and hence it is difficult to resolve this challenge. But we are working towards the same.
Labor is the second challenging aspect, because we need quality staff that will live upto the standards set already and will meet all client expectations.
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Personal question. I’ll pass it.
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I love to collect handmade stuff and hence shopping for the same is my hobby. In my non work time, I prefer catching up with people as this venture takes up most of my time. I am happy doing what I do today, but it’s also important to look back and appreciate all those people who have helped me reach where I am today. My family and close friends mean a lot to me and my leisure time is all theirs.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
My utmost favorite food is pani puri, I so wish to introduce a surprise where you can eat chaat whole day without any money!
My favorite holiday destination and the place I dream to go is a place where I can experience the northern lights! I love star gazing and what better than this kind of experience! So I would prefer going to Scotland or Norway.
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My parents are my biggest motivator. Since I was a child, I have seen my mom make ends meet to make someone happy. And that happiness on someone else’s face makes her feel like she accomplished her goals. There’s no better gift than giving someone your time and attention and that’s what I learnt from her. By this venture, we want to encourage people to give their time as a gift to their loved ones but just in a fancy way. And being an ethical entrepreneur and how to take calculated risks is what I learnt from my dad.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
The major difference is in the attitude. When you are an entrepreneur, you are
working 24*7. You are working even when you are actually not supposed to. Your mind never stops. When you work for someone else, somewhere deep down in your heart, you are waiting to rush back home once the office hours are over.
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I surely would have started this journey of Sweet Surprises way before. And tried my hand at more unusual activities.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Being an entrepreneur is not a 9 to 5 job. Its 24*7 job and it comes naturally because you are doing what you love to achieve your dreams. It’s time consuming and tedious. Thus, we barely get time for our loved ones. Especially because it’s a startup, it has affected our family and social life. But the support our friends and family have extended, we could not be more thankful to them. But to make up to this, we plan some days especially for the family and catching up with our social circles.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Its never too late to chase your dreams and nothing that others tell you can change your will until you want to change it.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I am a CA and my co-founder is an MBA in Marketing and Sales. We both belong to Gujarati families and like most of them, our families are into business and we are happy to continue the trend.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
Our top most priority is customer satisfaction for which we provide customizations to our surprise packages as we know that one shoe can’t fit all.. UTMOST FLEXIBILITY in CUSTOMIZATION is what is our USP.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
The biggest threat to small business and start up is the shark-nature of the industry. They have all their resources in place and once the idea is out, it’s easy for the sharks to replicate it.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Success can be measured on different scales for different people. For us, success is every time we see our customer happy and thankful that they found us. Yes, we are definitely successful but we are not going to stop here. It’s a long way to go and we set our goals higher each time we achieve the previous one.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Co – founder details
Name – Malav Shah
Phone number – 9820747142
Email ID – [email protected]