Gifts are one powerful source of happiness. In today’s digitally connected but socially disconnected world, when everyone is unhappy in the pursuit of happiness, four energetic and passionate youth entrepreneurs Santosh Pandey, Niraj Kafle, Darshan Parajuli and Abinash Choudhary have just figured out a way to create and share happiness through ‘Offering Happiness’: An innovative gifting platform.
Happiness is something every one of us seeks and continuously pursue it. This ironic quote from the movie “Pursuit of Happyness” perfectly sums up our quest for happiness.
“We can only pursue happiness and never have it”.
Gifting itself is an art that can make (or even break) a relationship. And these four entrepreneurs are taking gifting to another level altogether. They aren’t concerned about the material gifts here. By offering experiential gifting solutions, they create unforgettable moments and lifelong memories for their customers. Experiential gifting is often linked to providing more happiness and enhancing relationships in ways that no material gift can do.
Research have found that
“Experiential gifts produce greater improvements in relationship strength than material gifts, regardless of whether the gift giver and recipient consume the gift together. The relationship improvements that recipients derive from experiential gifts stem from the intensity of emotion that is evoked when they consume the gifts, rather than when the gifts are received. Giving experiential gifts is thus identified as a highly effective form of prosocial spending.”
Busy lifestyles make it more and more difficult to even choose the gifts and even more difficult to them over in person. With experiential gifting, it’s even more complex. The idea about creating a particular experience is itself a tedious task and to add the surprise element takes careful planning and perfect execution. It may not be rocket science but takes almost the same amount of planning as is required for launching a rocket into space. And this is exactly what “Offering Happiness” does.
While there have been many e-commerce portals that offered gifting various things, Offering Happiness stands out as the only experiential gifting platform and has already served more than 10,000+ customers and has a monthly transaction of over Rs. 10 lakhs.
For their innovative idea that looks a lot of fun involved is equally difficult because you have to be very creative to create lifelong memories. And for their innovative effort, team Offering Happiness won the Global Student Entrepreneurs Award in January 2018 and represented Nepal in Macau. Offering Happiness was also named as one of the top five startups in ConnectIn organized by Clock b Business Innovations and Indian Embassy in the 2nd Nepal Startup Meet. Recently, the team won the Seedstars Kathmandu and represented Nepal in regional finals in Cambodia where they emerged as one of the winners and will be now representing Nepal in Switzerland for Seedstars World Finals.
Starting Up: Taking the Leap of Faith
The bond and synergy among the founding team of founders of Offering Happiness started much before they started working on this idea. Santosh Pandey, one of the co-founders, describes the team as constantly learning and growing. Everyone has been passionate about creating something impactful. For example, Santosh comes from a background of youth activism and empowerment. He has worked with various NGOs and has organized different programs, training sessions and campaigns. Likewise the other team members are equally passionate and complement the skill sets and fit in like missing puzzle pieces.
Mr. Pandey fondly recalls how the team struck the idea of Offering Happiness:
“We wanted to start a business and used to have like 4-5 crazy ideas everyday. We used to organize lots of events. So, our college was organizing a talk show and we were asked to create a set and also come up with token of love, gifts for the speakers. We had a creative team to do that. And one of our co-founders, Niraj, thought that we could sell those such gifts to people whose friends and family were abroad. And we could deliver it for them here in Nepal to their friends and family. This is how it all started. We always wanted to do something creative, so we started something called “surprise delivery” to our clients with more premium services and started focusing more on experiences than the material. So we basically started with material gifts and added experiential value to the gifting culture, which ultimately helped us stand out from the rest.”
The gifting culture in Nepal is itself evolving. Most prevalent way of gifting is handing over edible items, fruits, or flowers etc. in gift wrapped packages. There is an implied understanding that gift should be something that can be consumed easily. And, then came a practice of gifting something that would last longer giving way to gifting customised cups, t-shirts and cushions, and a variety of handmade products as gifts. The Offering Happiness team was foresighted enough to see where this industry would head to and accordingly started adding experiential value to the gifting culture, which has been very much appreciated and used by its customers. Mr. Pandey shares,
“We wanted to bring creativity and innovation to the gifting culture in Nepal through Offering Happiness. Hence, we focused on adding experiences because the research showed that experiences create lifelong memories. It was difficult and challenging in the beginning to make people adopt this new concept. The market for this type of products and services didn’t exactly exist, so we had to work on educating our customers first. So research and content creation to increase awareness about our products and services became the first step forward. Some people actually liked the idea but were anxious if we could deliver what was expected. While others would want to try out but had no clue as to what type of gift would work. Everyone wanted to enhance their relationship through gifts but was looking beyond the conventional way for some creative and fresh ways and this is where Offering Happiness has been able to create a niche.”
Remembering the initial days, he explains how it started without even registering a company as all the founding team wanted to validate their ideas first. Hence, they raised Rs. 80,000 from among themselves and invested the money in the initial market research and promotion. The market research helped them to polish their ideas and learn more about the sector. And finally they registered the entity.
The Team and How They Deliver Happiness
Currently, the team comprises 10 full time staff. The daily operations are managed by various departments with close coordination and collaboration. The business development department looks after research, possible partnerships and collaborations with freelancers, musicians, artists, photographers, and hotels. The department focuses on building partnerships and ensuring that customer demands are met, and accordingly creates customized gifting plans and packages. The marketing department looks after the overall marketing and content development, and makes videos to create awareness about the products and services in the market.
The sales and customer care team helps people understand their needs and how Offering Happiness can deliver more value and lifelong memories to their customers. The finance team looks after overall financial operations and Offering Happiness also has a consultant team for quality assurance of their products and services. The consulting team goes to the market and talks to customers about their experiences to ensure that their expectations are met if not exceeded.
Creating Sustainable Ecosystem
The team feels that the biggest impact made by Offering Happiness in the market is to hear stories from their customers about how the platform has helped them find a perfect gift for their loved ones and how that has helped enhance their relationships. Offering Happiness has also been able to foster a long term direct working relationship and a collaborative ecosystem with more than 200 businesses that supply the inputs required for creating an experiential gift. Offering Happiness is promoting these small businesses and their expertise. So, Offering Happiness is not just creating lifelong memories for its customers but also offering happiness by providing livelihood to everyone involved in delivering and creating euphoric moments of happiness.
Challenges and Obstacles
Every business has its own challenges and Offering Happiness has some of its own. Talking about the challenges they have faced, Santosh shares:
“The journey is not always smooth. It has been a major challenge for us to take a rough idea to a scalable venture. Personally, we did not come from business background and hence had to invest a lot of time in learning business basics. Sometimes the traction is not as expected and everything doesn’t go as per plan. Sometimes we miss our growth target and even the smallest things matter a lot to each one of us. Running a business is full of challenges but that’s what entrepreneurship is about, solving problems and facing challenges.”
Message for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
The startup ecosystem of Nepal is growing at its own pace. The Offering Happiness team has found it to be more collaborative than competitive and everyone involved is willing to go an extra mile to help when asked for. Therefore, the team believes that it is very important to ask for help when needed and also be willing to learn from others’ mistakes. Santosh believes that the team is still learning and it’s due to their passion to make an impact that has brought the team so far.
The team has the following message to the aspiring entrepreneurs-
“Be humble enough to unlearn, come out of the box to see a wider perspective in life. One of our major life lessons has been to never lose hope in any kind of situation. So always be hopeful and optimistic about life and continuously work towards your goal.”
Future Plans and Final Words
Offering Happiness aims to be a leading experiential gifting platform without losing its focus on creativity and innovation, as they scale up. They want to be a one-stop solution for all gifting solutions and eventually explore the global market. The Offering Happiness team is extremely proud of what they have achieved so far and they want to continue pursuing their passion to take “Offerring Happiness” to deliver more happiness and life long memories to more and more people.
Creating More OH!! Moments
You can book all kinds of gifts and experiences for celebrations, all occasions, fun, emotional, adventure, relax, romantic, valentine, music, vacation, corporate rewards or any event you can think of. Offering Happiness stands for unforgettable experiences, unique gift ideas, and tempting gift hampers. Their most popular experiences include Romantic Gazebo Eve, Romantic Canopy, Chitikka Birthday Surprise and Hanging Gallery Pro among others. Anniversary gifts, unique birthday gifts are always trending while valentine gifts being the hot one currently. Udhyami Nepali team wishes Offering Happiness more success in the days to come.