The Wedding Industry in India is huge. More than 10 million weddings happen in India every year. However, a wedding planner, on an average does not more than 20 weddings per year. A large number of people in India do not approach a wedding planner and plan their wedding themselves. It is these people that Minnat Lalpuria wanted to help and therefore decided to start 7Vachan, an online wedding consulting service.
The Indian wedding industry is over Rs 100,000 crore and it is growing at 25% to 30% annually. The estimated cost of a wedding with no expenses spared could range anywhere from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 5 crore. Now that’s a huge market segment where there is tremendous growth potential!
An MBA from ISB, Minnat was smitten by the entrepreneurial bug during her MBA . She studied the Indian wedding industry thoroughly before taking a leap and starting 7Vachan.During her research of the wedding planning industry, Minnat realized that finding the right venue was a huge pain point for a lot of couples.
“The couples and their families end up spending a huge amount of time finding the right venue on the right date. Leave alone negotiating, just going to every venue to find out about the availability is a 6-7 week process.More often than not, wedding dates are finalized keeping the venue availability in mind! People were going through a lot of trouble to find the right venue. We had to tackle this problem first.”
says Minnat. The company then came up with a platform that helped couples finalize their venue within a matter of days. Today 7Vacchan is working towards making wedding venue booking as simple as flight booking – something that can be done in 30 minutes.
Minnat also realized that besides the venue,finding the right photographer and make-up artist were huge challenges as well. Finding the right person is like looking for a needle through a haystack Minnat felt. She soon integrated solutions to these problems in her product and the company today helps its customer find all allied services required for their dream wedding.
At the moment, most of the company’s associations are premium. About 15% of the company’s clients have been NRIs coming back to India for an exotic Indian wedding.The company’s expansion plan includes catering to the middle-class segment going forward.
Today the company offers 2 main packages depending on the service(s) the customer wants. For a fee of Rs. 5,100 customers can book a direct venue without any accommodation facilities and for a registration fee of Rs. 11,000 they can get a customized destination wedding package.
About providing differentiated services Minnat says
“We are more like wedding consultants who help couples find what they need, at a lesser cost, and in lesser time. At this point in time, there is really nobody else in the market who is offering a similar service as ours.”
The 7Vachan team is currently present in Mumbai and Hyderabad. However being an online service, the company provides services across the country.
Being an entrepreneur and running her own company has been a very exciting journey for Minnat. She is very happy and is also very optimistic about the growing number of Women Entrepreneurs in our country. The recent reports about ‘Countries where women are rising the fastest’ putting India as ‘South Asia’s Bright Spot for Female Entrepreneurs’ and a recent study on successful women entrepreneurs across the world also stating that ‘Indian Women Leaders are the most powerful’ makes her feel very optimistic about the situation.
Ask Minnat what she feels about the gender gap and she is quick to quote Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
“As you become more successful, the gender barrier disappears. The credibility challenges you have during your growing up years starts disappearing when you start demonstrating success.”
Minnat believes that since we are a small but growing community of female entrepreneurs in India, it is essential that we come together to become a stronger force. A few small but meaningful actions can go a long way in making a big difference. Minnat suggest a few actions she feels will help the Women Leadership cause.
Be a Mentor: The rules of the game are not same for all. As a woman entrepreneur one might face many challenges and /or obstacles which are unique to women. Share your experience with others. Your advice can be a big help!
Show your faith: Put your money where your mouth is. Show your support to a good idea by investing it in. Share your experience and wealth to back a woman led start up and help them find their way to success.
Be sensitive: The current work schedules and rules were made by men. Don’t confine yourself to them. Make changes to ensure a more conducive environment for your women team mates.
Be kind to your own kind: Men never know what women want. So we don’t have enough products and services for us, just us! Take the initiative and launch products and services that benefit your own kind, benefits to the ‘rest’ are an added bonus.
Minnat leaves us on an optimistic note
“Women still have a long way to go to get equality in rights and position, but the change has begun and I am glad to be a part of it.”