Touchstone Weddings in Elle!

We are extremely pleased to share with you Touchstone Weddings has been featured in November 2013′s ELLE Marriage Magazine. Being one of the five wedding planners to be showcased from an All India list, it brings to us a sense of pride and satisfaction for the work we have done and would continue to do. We also take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your continuous support and best wishes which has helped us through our journey.

Touchstone Weddings in Elle Nov '13

Touchstone Weddings in Elle Nov ’13

The Big Fat Gujju Wedding

Team Touchstone recently crossed a milestone by conceptualising an end to end large scale wedding event for a client of ours. The intense learning and experience gained coupled with the exposure received has only humbled us. The journey has been nothing less than a Bollywood fairy tale and we could not help but share this amazing journey and learning with all our well wishers.

Although we are a Bangalore based wedding planning company, we still managed all the events that were to be held outside this city, in Mumbai & Delhi. In the past, we have had opportunities to manage large wedding events, but this one had a string of events for 10 consecutive days. We have worked with some celebrities earlier, but this time we raised the bar very high by involving some really big celebrities. The 10 different themes we worked with this time, had no repetitions with any of the past ones we have showcased. With catering arrangements for more than 3800 guests, we surpassed our previous feat of 1000 guests by a huge margin.

All these challenges did apprehend us initially and kept us on our toes, but the confidence which our client had on us, helped us turn these challenges to opportunities and we finally succeeded in pulling off one of the most memorable and cherished wedding event we or the guests of this event had ever experienced.

Yes, we are proud of ourselves but are also humbled by the compliments and affection we received through these celebrations. Please find below the Event Flow to give you an idea of the wedding celebrations.

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Wedding Checklist

This checklist will enable you to plan your perfect wedding. It will assist you through the busy months ahead. Please remember that not all aspects of this checklist may apply to the style of your wedding.

Select a wedding date and time.
Gather information from bridal books and other resources.
Discuss a budget and how expenses will be shared. Open a separate bank account for the wedding fund.
Discuss the formality, size and location of the ceremony and reception with both families.
Call clergyman/officiator to confirm date and schedule appointment to discuss ceremony.
Select location for the ceremony and reception. Remember to pay deposits in order to secure your booking.
Start drafting your guest list. Inform bride and groom’s family of the number they can invite and by which date you need their list.
Select colour scheme and theme of your wedding.
Start looking for and order the bridal gown & accessories – schedule the fittings and delivery date.
Select dresses for bridesmaids’ – schedule the fittings and delivery date.
Select and book a wedding consultant, photographer, videographer, florists and musicians, DJ & MC.
Organise your engagement announcement in the newspaper.
Begin planning a honeymoon destination.
Select and order wedding rings and arrange for engraving.
Choose wedding attendants for both bride and groom. Find out their sizes.
Schedule appointment for bridal portrait.
Choose a caterer and plan the menu.
Plan the music for the ceremony and reception.
Order attendant’s gowns and schedule the fittings and delivery date.
Book wedding cars for bridal party.
Order invitations, napkins and personal stationary, monogrammed favours for reception & thank-you notes.
Plan wedding decorations.
Finalize the guest list.
Pay all deposits for any services reserved and get all contracts signed.
Order & Reserve all rental equipment needed for reception and wedding. Example: marquee or tents, tables, chairs, etc.
Meet the caterers, florists, photographers & videographers, etc.
Select and order the wedding cake as per your theme & colour.
Sign up for your bridal registry and select gift options.
Buy or hire the formal wear for the groom and his attendants.
Check on marriage license; sometimes there are requirements.
Inform attendants of fitting schedules and of any accessories they may need to buy.
Shop for trousseau.
Make transportation and accommodation arrangements for out of town guests and the wedding party.
Begin personal shopping for clothes needed for pre-wedding parties or honeymoon.
Make any necessary personal appointments – bank, solicitor, health check-up, beauty, hairdresser, etc.
Confirm details with all wedding suppliers that all arrangements are proceeding smoothly, i.e. caterer, florist, photographer, videographer, musicians, car hire specialists, hotel/reception manager, etc.
Arrange a marriage registrar and execute all legal formalities for the marriage registration process, like pre marital notice etc.
Plan the ceremony rehearsal & the rehearsal dinner & notify everyone involved.
Ensure all official wedding documentation is in order. Organise & make necessary changes on all personal documentation the bride be taking the groom’s name (Ex: PAN Card, Passport, Bank Accounts etc).
Confirm final fitting and delivery date for dresses and gown.
Select hair and makeup stylist.
Select going-away outfit.
Schedule a wedding portrait.
Arrange transportation for the wedding day.
Send thank-you notes for any gifts received early and/or bridal showers.
Finish personal shopping.
Finalise honeymoon plans.
Plan bridesmaids’ luncheon.
Arrange for final fitting and delivery of all wedding attire.
Arrange a trial hair and make-up day. Be sure to try your hair style with your veil.
Confirm final guest count and inform caterer, reception venue.
Have final consultation with florist, photographer, musicians, etc.
Finalise transportation and accommodation arrangements for out of town guests and wedding party.
Pack an “emergency kit” for the wedding day which may include: safety pins, tissues, cosmetics, hairspray, needle and cotton, extra lingerie, eye drops, headache pills and Band-Aids.
Finalise seating arrangements for the reception.
Confirm honeymoon bookings and have ready all necessary documentation: tickets, passports, traveller’s cheques, etc.
Pack for honeymoon.
If you choose to speak at your reception start deciding on what you want to say.
Arrange with your reception to have a table available for last minute gifts. Ask family members to move gifts home after wedding.
If you are having an envelope box request a table for it with the gift table. Ask a close family member to be responsible for it.
Place payments for DJ, florist, caterer, etc.
Lay out everything you will need on the wedding day, right down to the smallest detail. Place everything in a convenient place so that it is easily accessible on the big day.
If a hairdresser and/or make-up artist is to attend to you on the day, confirm appointment.
Prepare going-away outfit.
Confirm that all members of the wedding party are organised and well prepared.
Prepare what you will have as a good healthy breakfast on your wedding day. This is important and often overlooked. A good breakfast will provide you with the energy you will need to get through the day.
Have a massage, manicure and pedicure and relax.
Before going to bed take a warm (not hot) fragrant bath.
Complete your evening skin routine so that your skin is moist for your wedding day make-up.
Get to bed early.
Relax and pamper yourself.
Be at the ceremony at least five minutes early.
Smile and enjoy – this is your special day!
Good Luck & Congratulations!
Team Touchstone

Walk the Walk

In this article, I am going to try and find the relevance of a Morning Walk at a popular park to running a Business Venture. Though it might seem as, there is no relation between them, but then, if you are a regular walker you would understand the similarities it draws.

1. The Keeda

On a day’s contemplation you think, you have been into a lot of unhealthy habits and eating, which is pushing your body to a limit it could take. It is time to do something which is right for you and is capable of creating a life you would enjoy living. That is the day you decide that you maybe should start a walk or a jog or hit the gym. Similarly, when you have been working at a company, it strikes you on a day that it is time to take the plunge and look at being an entrepreneur.

2. Starting Problem

Though you might have been bit by the Keeda, it is not good enough! To overpower the temptation of sleep or a steady monthly salary, you need a lot of determination and persistence. You need to have the right plan and be strongly equipped to start. In case of a walk you need: an attractive venue, the right shoes, comfortable clothing, etc.. For business: an attractive idea, the right team, relevant capital, comfortable income source, etc.. And the most important for both, the Keeda should have bit you that hard that it should not fizzle out over time and wakes you every morning.

3. Planning the Walk

The first thing you would do after deciding that the Keeda is worth it is, you shall start planning or lay out a strategy on the execution of the idea. You may visit the venue if you haven’t seen it earlier, plan a tentative route, choose a time which does not disturb your day plans, ask some friends if they would like to join in, etc.. For a business, plan your finances, choose the timing of the launch, ask for advice and opinions of well wishers, etc..

4. Initial Days

You finally manage to wake up and go for a walk or start the venture. This is the period you are the most enthusiastic and excited about the whole idea. But, this is also one of the most painful periods you may go through. You will realize at the end of the first day or the first week that your legs are breaking away, your stamina is bad, you lack sleep, etc.. Similarly, in a venture you realize, the team might be breaking away, your infrastructure is bad, you lack capital, etc.. The key is to just get pass this phase and believe in yourself and say, this is right for you.

5. Habit Revisited

Once you pass the initial struggle, there comes a time where you get habituated to the walk or the venture. This is the time you would start enjoying the walk or the venture and would now think forward on how to use the walk for better optimum utilisation of time and energy. Similarly, you think on how to increase the ROI on the business venture or how you should expand further. Hence, this is the time where you re-work on your walk or the business. It could mean you check your equipments like your clothing or shoes, check if the route needs a change, prefer to go on a different time, etc. In a venture, you could check on the capital requirement, team members, the business plan. You could read The 1000 Days Rule for more insight on this topic.

6. Peer Pressure

If you are a regular walker in a public park, you would connect with me on this. Do you also find the compulsion of moving ahead of the individual in front of you? Do you also find it difficult to let other people overtake you unless they are running (since here you do not have an option)? Do you also speed up when you hear another individual coming close behind you and might just overtake you? My answer to all of these are, Yes! I find that the competition at a park is very similar and is as cut throat as running a business venture where you always have someone ahead of you or coming close to overtaking you and the need to stay ahead keeps you up at night. When a competitor is running and overtakes you, it hurts you and that helps you strategise your next move after learning from his strengths and weaknesses.

7. Observe to Learn

You have to be a keen observer when you are running a business venture or walking in the park. There is so much to learn! For instance, I am impressed by the elderly uncles and aunties who not only just walk or jog in the park but run through the entire stretch – this is because they have trained their body for decades, there are individuals who form a group and exercise together keeping each other motivated, there is an uncle who might be in his mid 50’s but practises Hand Walk, an aunty who does yoga for 2 hours straight, a foreigner who runs in the speed of a horse. All of them teach you something in their own unique way and you sharpen your skill by turning their positive experiences or practises to your own. Please note, all of them too started on one day with a short & slow walk.

8. Walk of Business

Some tips which I have picked up from a morning walk which could be applied to business are stated below.

  • Staying fit comes with habit and practice
  • Persistence & Determination at every level helps
  • Plans & Strategies are imperative
  • Team & Teamwork is vital
  • Innovation keeps the work exciting
  • Find pleasure in what you do
  • Be equipped, crucial to take you ahead
  • No pain, no gain – Hard work has no alternative
  • Staying ahead makes you happy
  • Push your limits
  • Competitive edge is important
  • Keen observance is very important

Though most of the points in the article are matter of fact, it always helps to revisit these from time to time. Finding relevance in anything you do with something else is easy, but using these learnings in your regular life is difficult and the need of the hour.

Happy Walking!!

Celebrate the Birth – “Right” !!

Are Birthdays Over Rated? Are Birthday Celebrations Over Rated? – NO!!

There are individuals who do not believe in cutting the midnight cake or popping the evening champagne, they believe birthdays are over rated and is just another regular day on the calendar. But mostly everyone else thinks otherwise and do want to celebrate their birthdays, not necessarily a large scale celebration but could be something small and unique. I come from the third school of thought, where I believe, apart from your own, everyone else’s birthdays should be celebrated right! Not because I am philosophical or kind, but because celebrating someone else’s birthday is always more fun! It is a lot of fun to get each piece of the arrangement right. I do not say this because I am an event manager, but I say this because it genuinely is much more fun to kick the birthday ass rather than get yours kicked. (Apologies for the language)

Below are some pointers which I believe could help in organising the ‘Right’ Birthday Blast:

1. Guest List
Once decided that you would want to celebrate a birthday, ideally, the first thing to do is to finalise the guest list. This is critical because only once you know the number of people expected, you could plan your requirements, you could choose a theme which suits your guests and venue can be finalised depending on the space needed. A planned guest list also helps in reducing costs and fixing the budget for the event.

2. Theme
Before an invite is sent out with details, the theme for the event needs to be finalised. Themes could vary, could be cartoon characters, animals, birds, movies, actors, colours, etc, depending upon the birthday boy/girl’s preferences or age or the expected guests’ interests. There is a universe of options available in the markets today. Also, there are companies/individuals who can further customise the theme as per your choice and budgets. Once a theme is chosen, it becomes very easy for everything else to fall in place.

3. Venue
On finalising the guest list and the theme, you would be in a position where you could gauge the space needed for the event. The right venue which suits your economies and the theme for the number of guests is usually difficult to find, if you do find it, be flexible enough to change your dates in case you need to. Ensure that the venue is a place which would not discourage your guests’ attendance and is convenient to a majority of them.

4. Invite
Majority of the content for your invite is ready once you know the theme and the venue. Preferably choose colours which are more pleasant, font which does not need an effort to read, add directions to the place if difficult to find, bullet points for the details of the event, witty or humorous content is desirable, innovative invites are always welcome but do not compromise on the content for it, simple but elegant invites always attract appreciation. Invites design is vital since this is the first impression of your event you give to your guests.

5. Décor
One of the most critical aspect of your event is undoubtedly the Décor. My personal opinion is, for birthdays, décor should be loud and on your face. This opinion is because a loud décor would bring the right mood to the event and give it a larger-than-life image which would further add to the fun quotient. Minute detailing of the décor is also important, since every minute detail can connect to the theme of the day which further adds to the success of the event. There are loads of novel ideas available on décor today, do try something new than what you saw the last time.

6. Activities
Apart from food, activities organised is the only thing which would entertain your guest and will guarantee a longer stay at your event. Activities could be games, quizzes, fashion shows, dance programs, singers, circus, carnival, casino, anything, but it has to be something which can keep your guest occupied for the duration of your event at least till the cake is cut or the champagne popped or the meal served. The novelty and the fun at your event is usually measured with the activities organised. This also ensures that memories are created which are cherished for long.

7. Food & Beverage, also The Cake
Let us be frank about this, the maximum number of your guests do come to eat and hence getting this piece right is utmost important. Do have a trial meal much before an event to be assured of the quality served. During birthday events, choose a spread which is not a lavish three course meal, instead choose an offbeat spread which is minimal variety but filling. The birthday boy/girl could be of any age but cutting a cake is a tradition across the world. Ensure there is a cake slice for the last person as well. Exotic cakes of various shapes adds to the birthday excitement.

8. Re-work The Budget
By the time you have planned your event, it would most probably shoot above the budget you had in mind at the start. It is time to re-work on the entire plan and revise the requirement or the budget accordingly, the changes have to notified to the respective vendor for smooth functioning. Do not work on this aspect after the event, vendors do not like to negotiate after the event is completed.

9. Return Gifts
A birthday celebration’s tradition is also to give out Return Gifts to your guests at the end of the event. It does not have to be something expensive, it can be a merchandise which connects to your event (theme) and creates a remembrance of the good times at your event. It could also be a prize they won at an activity or a take away they received from an activity. Try choosing a gift which they could preserve for the future.

10. Memory for Birthday Boy/Girl
One of the most important piece of the birthday event which is usually ignored because of the focus laid on everything else, is the memories the event creates for the birthday boy/girl. As a host, maintain the focus on the birthday boy/girl as the centre of the event and not anything else. You could add in a couple of activities which are recorded and preserved by the birthday boy/girl which they could cherish on a later date. After all, it is their celebration.

The best way to Celebrate The Birth – ‘Right’, is to call upon a Professional !!

The 1000 Days Rule

Right before Touchstone was incorporated, a very wise man, my grandfather, sat down with me and told me, “Every business cycle similar to every relationship in life, has to go through a period of 1000 days to know if the relationship or the business would actually work the way you want it to. Give your company a 1000 days and you will know what works for you and what does not.” It is essential to review a business model you make, but when is the right time to review it? There are loads of philosophies available online on this topic which could help you understand when to review your model, one of the most famous one would be “The 1000 Day Rule”. The first 1000 days are the most critical days of a new venture and it also holds good for a new launch or a new long term strategy.

After a 1000 days of running a venture, you would realise what is it that drives it and what is it that needs to be reviewed. Below are some questions which you could spend your time on after you cross the 1000 day mark. The intention of asking questions is that every venture works differently and hence every question gives a different answer:

  1. If you offer diversified products or services, what is it that gives you the maximum outcome?
  2. The product/service which gives you the maximum outcome, does it have the potential to become your core business?
  3. Of the various strategies you run, which ones should you choose?
  4. The chosen financial model, does it give you the maximum ROI?
  5. Of the huge number of vendors you work with, whom can you trust to build a long term relationship?
  6. The quality you maybe stressing on, is that the best?
  7. The accounting process of your organisation, is that the most efficient?
  8. The inventory system of the business, can it be improved?
  9. The employee tracking system, does it deliver?
  10. The motivation you need to offer, is that the finest?
  11. The expansion model you intend to work on, do you need to re-think?
  12. Of the geographies you work on, are they confined or too large?
  13. Employee number in the company, are they enough?
  14. Marketing strategies, do they make the right noise at the right places to the right people?
  15. Investment you made or investors made, are they rewarding?
  16. Fun created at the work place, does it need a check?
  17. The payment cycles you follow, is it a win-win?
  18. Long term, medium term and short term plans, do you need to review them?

Each of the questions above, need to be answered in detail. Once you have succeeded in doing so, you would be prepared to face the future in a more systematic way. The disclaimer here is, this have been learnt from running my small organisation, these may or may not hold good for your requirements. Please forgive me if I have not been successful in covering all the important points.

The Art Of Professionalism

“Professionalism” is a very loosely used description to an individual’s business temperament. Individuals think if they are well equipped with the English vocabulary, they carry professionalism. But then, what is it that defines the word professionalism? Defining the word is difficult as it is a perspective of an individual’s opinion. I am trying to make an attempt to examine what is it that could add to portraying professionalism.

1. Under Commit, Over Achieve

Yes, this is a tip which adds to professionalism. It is critical to commit to clients or business partners below your delivery levels but achieve above those expectations you’ve built. No, this is not a marketing gimmick! There will also be times when you would deliver only to the committed levels and hence you would still display professionalism. This is applied in cases of: delivery of products and services offered to clients, pricing of products and services, payment time lines to vendors, etc.

2. Black & White

Any business deal should have all the terms and conditions in printed, written format. There should be no place left for assumptions or wild imaginations. Humans have a tendency to take certain things for granted and details regarding a business deal is one of them, this usually happens when there is a repetition. Clients and business partners appreciate that all minute details discussed are penned down and there are no ambiguities left.

3. Cover The Loop

When you start something, drive it till the end. Perseverance and follow up systems should be powerful that once you open a loop, you know it will be closed. This always proves that you are under control and have a drive to deliver. It is critical in any lead generating mechanism as conversions happen only after dedicated perseverance.

4. Nurture Talent

The fastest way to grow in your career is when you train talent to take your place. Only when they reach that stage of their career, you would be able to take your step ahead. This also ensures that the entire organisation follows the same process and also that professionalism flows from top to bottom. The added advantage of nurturing talent is the learning process for yourself never ends.

5. Stick To Your Commitment

I am reminded of a line from a Hindi movie, ‘Once I commit, I do not even listen to myself’. Professionalism is an outcome of promises and commitments upheld. At times this is possible by suffering a financial loss, but the goodwill profit you build would make up for it. When you do suffer a financial loss, do keep the other party posted that you would still maintain your commitments despite a loss. This will be appreciated and aid building a long term business relationship.

6. Process

Process is a critical part in building world class organisations. Process driven account keeping for internal and external reasons, will not only give you the peace of mind but also portray professionalism. Even while driving sales, following a process would add to higher conversions. Individuals would be more than pleased to work with an organisation where they know that the process followed would drive their requirement till the end. Processes would also ensure a Win-Win situation with employees, vendors and business partners which I shall elaborate further on.

7. Happy Quotient

Happy quotient is a measure which is best judged by the ‘quality’ of your product or service. The finest quality of a particular product or service will not only ensure continued business but would also ensure Happiness. Even while dealing with other business partners, if you do pay an extra buck and expect supreme product or service by a vendor, he would be more than happy to provide you with it. Quality benchmarks acquired must be maintained or risen every time!

8. Thank You

Many a times, once a business deal is completed, organisations forget that the other party yet exists. A relationship does not start and end with that one deal, but it only creates a foundation for the future. Small steps taken like – to connect with a client to take feedback, thank a vendor for the quality maintained, appreciate the timely delivery of the courier company, be thankful to your employee who ensured that the job was done – do go an extra mile in portraying true professionalism.

9. A Win-Win

While dealing with clients, we always expect that the price they pay should always match up to the quality you provide, creating a Win-Win. The same holds good also while dealing with vendors, business partners, employees. It is imperative that all payments to be made are done on timely basis. Business partners and employees value this deed and would look forward to working with you more often. This also facilitates improved quality standards, thus creating a Win-Win!

10. Flexible Return Policy

Nobody wants to manufacture a bad product/service. But at times, the expectation of a client could be higher than your delivery. At this time, the return policy you follow should be flexible enough to accept the return and replace the product/service in minimum turnaround time. This will go a long way in creating a comfort level for the client which will guarantee that they work with you again. Professionalism is at its best when you are willing to accept your weaknesses or mistakes and amend accordingly.

11. Attitude & Commitment

Though this is the last point here, this is the first step towards professionalism. Only if an individual is willing to learn, has the attitude to make an effort, is committed to build a world class organisation, the art of professionalism can be achieved. The attitude and commitment of an organisation which strives towards achieving all of the above stated points will eventually portray effortless and natural professionalism in everything they do.

A Merchandiser’s Diary

In my earlier article ‘Gifting Shifts Gears’, I had mentioned:

Gifting companies priority should at all times remain to look for products which are innovative, can be connected to themes, can be customised, can be delivered within a shorter time line, can be presented or packaged well, can be transported across geographies and to top it all, if the product can be termed as “priceless”.

  • A merchandiser’s duty is to look for innovation. Every client when done with the requirement of the regular shelf products, will hunt the market for products which are not usually seen or not heard of frequently. A client usually has a picture of a particular product in their mind but finds it difficult to communicate it. It is important for the merchandiser to understand this need of the client and create a product or look for a product which fits into the client’s imaginary picture. Once this is done, it is easier to take the next step ahead and fit it into the theme.
  • Themes are the latest trend and will continue to drive the gifting sales for a long time now. There is always a theme for every occasion when a giveaway is needed, it could be a festival, a launch, could revolve around a product, an agenda for a seminar/conference, to motivate employees, to appreciate the effort of employees or distributors, to welcome guests or a souvenir for guests, could revolve around a partnership and so on. The right idea when turned into a product which fits the theme is the key to all approvals. Theme chosen preferably should not be of a religious frame since it could hurt emotions.
  • A product which can be customised as per a client’s requirement is critical. Customising a product includes the most critical customisation which is to add the client’s branding. It is very critical to give a branding the right effect as per the target audience to ensure maximum brand recall. On occasions, client would prefer a loud branding because the target audience need to be aware of the message involved with the gift. And on other occasions, the client would prefer a very subtle branding depending on who the gifts are going out to. Customising also involves other options like including the corporate brand colours or adding an idea to the product which relates to the client’s portfolio or modifying the product to give it that right look to fit the target audience or including/excluding some parts of the product to fit the budgets and so on. A merchandiser who works with manufacturers can most of the times offer all of the above with added advantage of cost.
  • A client would always call and say, “I want the delivery of the gifts yesterday!”. Every client and every gifting company always have disputes with this aspect of an order. The client is always in a hurry and is always approaching deadlines with respect to the need of the giveaway. Firstly, more often than not, the client takes their own sweet time to approve the product and then complete the necessary documentations required. After which, the client further delays the process by not sending the artworks involved with the branding of the merchandise. I do not intend to blame the person from the client’s office for this since it usually is a long procedure which the client has to follow but speeding up this process will save most of the disputes regarding time lines. A merchandiser also in the spirit of turnover and sales, intends to false promise the clients regarding delivery time, it is always advisable to budget in some extra time for unforeseen circumstances which could further delay the deliveries. A merchandiser who maintains the delivery time as committed for at least three orders can expect a long term relationship with any client.
  • The way a product is presented or packaged directly increases the value of the product by two times. Packaging is a very essential  part of any gifting idea. Even If a regular T-Shirt is given in a well packaged box rather than the plastic cover usually used, the receiver of the gift would appreciate the gesture a lot more. The packaging of a product at times, is either equivalent or even higher than the price of the product itself. Special attention by the merchandiser to a minute detail of the packaging can increase the perceived value of the product to a large extent. There are companies whose business is only to create innovative, unique, classy styles of packaging and their businesses are thriving because packaging is now a very essential part of any gifting idea. There is not gift complete without a gift wrap (read Packaging).
  • While choosing a gift, it is imperative to choose one which can be transported to geographies without breakages or damages. The practicality of the product to be transported from the manufacturer to the merchandiser to the client and further to the final consumer in one piece without damaging even the packaging, is critical. The transport companies usually ignore the ‘Fragile’ sticker stuck on the boxes and throw the boxes around to reduce their burden. If there are damages to a product, not only does the merchandiser suffer losses but also loses goodwill, as the importance of the product reaching on time for an event is defeated. The merchandiser should be willing to replace the products on a priority basis in consideration to a long term relationship with the client. The merchandiser should be willing to pay additional to ensure the products are well packed to diminish any damages or breakages. Hence, products presented to a client for approvals preferably should not be delicate.
  • Priceless – of inestimable worth, beyond valuation, invaluable. A merchandiser must pursue ideas or products which are so unique in nature that once gifted, the receiver finds it very difficult to find the true worth of the gift. If this criteria is attended to, the gift in its true sense will be called a “Gift”.

Gifting Shifts Gears

Corporate gifting has come a long way from those imported Chinese merchandise to specially manufactured theme based merchandise, from gifting which was done by companies alone to gifting done by even an individual in bulk. The word ‘corporate’ is no longer relevant and has now changed to ‘bulk’ gifting.

Gone are the days when pharmaceutical companies or their likes, would hunt the market for novel Chinese gifting ideas which are worth hardly anything,

Gone are the days when the best gifting idea for a corporate to their employees were gift vouchers which are easily accessible and do not need any brain storming,

Gone are the days when the gift revolved around just apparels or bags,

Gone are the days when you had to run from pillar to post to find a vendor who could supply the merchandise,

Gone are the days when the vendor who supplies to a particular corporate was one of the largest gifting company.

No offense to the Chinese made products, but we are to be blamed because the products chosen by us were meant to be sub standard and light to a client’s pocket with maximum revenue for the gifting company. China has given the Indian manufacturer a run for his money, for products which are at least 2X the price in India even though there are freight, import duties and other taxes applicable. Beware Indian manufacturers, you need to pull up your socks if you at the least want to compete when it comes to ideas which are an Indian Speciality. There is no denial that products which are a daily requirement like apparels or bags would at all times attract demand, but there will be a time when the manufacturers would have an army of salesmen who would visit the client directly and eliminate the middle man or reduce the gifting company’s revenue to negligible terms. Revenues on these products are any which ways the lowest since maximum of the so called gifting companies only deal with these.

Not only the future but the current trend too lies with gifting companies who are willing to work as per the client’s need or theme and not according to the stocks available at their own warehouse. Novelty does not always mean it has to be a brand new product but it could also be, how an idea changed the product. Clients today look for products which fit the theme of the event rather than what is available in the market. Events could vary from seminars, exhibitions, festivities, motivation, appreciation, etc. It is time that gifting companies do not ask the first question as, what is your budget, but asks what is the theme for your requirement.

Gifting companies priority should at all times remain to look for products which are innovative, can be connected to themes, can be customised, can be delivered within a shorter time line, can be presented or packaged well, can be transported across geographies and to top it all, if the product can be termed as “priceless”.

To be continued..