“Finding the perfect match”
Nandini Chakraborty the matchmaking entrepreneur, who came up with this novel concept says “Marrygold is a Boutique Matchmaking firm that brings together people interested in finding a spouse with the criteria of emotional, intellectual and lifestyle compatibility rather than caste, community, language or horoscope. Marrygold is an offline service with a personalized approach (we are not a portal). Marrygold welcomes second marriage applicants (divorcees, widows/widowers, single parents etc.)”
“Marrygold was launched in 2006 with a vision for a new kind of matchmaking, unrestricted in scope and liberal in outlook’. Started as a favor between friends, it has grown by word-of mouth and personal recommendation into a professional service for a niche clientele.”
The boutique has a select type of clientele that they wish to serve. Nandini speaks of those who use their services and what they offer besides matchmaking saying “Marrygold is aimed at urban individuals between 25-60 years, especially young professionals who find it difficult to meet like-minded people. We also encourage single parents/ older citizens / divorced singles to write to us.”
“We say that the typical Marrygold client is educated, well settled professionally, broad-minded, has traveled (or wants to travel), enjoys a wide range of hobbies/interests - and has a certain zest for life, living, and love. At first we thought Marrygold would appeal mainly to the young working generation in their late twenties and thirties, but now a lot of parents and elder people write to us on behalf of their children and relatives. Similarly, parents of children abroad, or having difficulty convincing their children to go for a typical ‘arranged’ marriage turn to us for help, sometimes not for the service but just for advice and counseling. So I feel the scope of Marrygold will grow as Indian society continues to change and evolve.”
Marrygold has a unique view of the marriage market and is without a shadow of a doubt the first to have taken such a stand.
“There are of course many matrimonial matchmaking services today, but most of them are based on the user having to do the searching based on a few criteria – a query-driven search model. Marrygold is totally different – for one, we do not offer online matchmaking at all. Secondly, we are very personalized and place a lot of emphasis on meeting – or at least talking – directly with the clients as we believe that an application form is just a starting point and not everyone expresses themselves easily on paper.
“Our business model is also a bit different. What I can say is that the service is a subscription service with a fee paid in advance which is valid for six months, and after that the client can choose to renew his/her subscription with a much lower fee. At the moment, our business objective is mainly to build a good brand and provide high-quality service, and not worry too much about maximizing profits. Unlike most startups, we are not interested in being an ‘overnight successes or ‘going global’ or even rapid/exponential growth, or attracting investors. Like marriage itself, we believe that good things take time to establish, grow and return value.
Their aims are long term and Marrygold has sculpted their plans keeping in mind a gradual expansion. Nandini says “At the moment (i.e for the next 1-2 years) we are looking at two things in terms of growth: one, to extend our service to more cities in India and 2) to make our unique matchmaking process more scalable.”
“This means that we need to train and hire more ‘matchmakers’, which is a challenge because we need people with a rare skill set, and a different kind of motivation. We are not the right company for people who are looking only to make money (although that is my ultimate goal of course: to make Marrygold a very valuable brand name in itself. But I want to do this without shortcuts.)”
From a favor to a friend stemmed a resolve to make the arena of matchmaking her domain of expertise. In short, she and entrepreneurship were made for each other; Nandini says “I am a people person. People motivate me, interest me, and keep me going. Even in my business, it is the people around me – my clients, colleagues, and of course my family who has been my biggest strength and interest. The question for me was not really a choice between becoming an entrepreneur and a 9 to 5 job, as after a decade in HR and Training I was quite happy in the 9 to 5 job situation – for me, the question was more on finding a job that interested me, and one where I could use the skills I have. Since there was no available position (i.e. no other company already providing this) I set up my own, and also the idea of offering service that is unique quite appeals to me. But I did not start this to be different - I was just following my interests and passion and it happened to turn out like this.”
Doing away with traditional conventions and notions about matchmaking has also been Marrygold’s task. Their resolve to offer a different kind of matchmaking has seen a bit of opposition. Nandini spoke on this saying “I think explaining to people about ‘why’ I opted away from the traditional matchmaking model based on caste, community and horoscope etc. As an Indian, I well understand that this is such a strong focus while choosing partners in our society and I am not at all against it, I believe it works well in its own way. But my aim is to serve those people who do not want this traditional approach. I also personally believe that society is changing and this institution called marriage must change with it to survive…so I would say that educating people about this without misunderstanding or misrepresenting my beliefs has been my biggest challenge and I won’t say I have overcome it yet…it is an ongoing process.”
Nandini has learnt a lesson that many passionate entrepreneurs have come to terms with. She says “Assuming that the team I am working with had the same goals and objectives for the company were a big mistake. I now realize that I should clearly communicate and talk about the company goals and my personal goals and even if they are not completely shared by all involved, the key is to understand each other and where our motivations lie. Working together, even (or especially) in a very small team, each person needs to express his/her thoughts clearly – it is better to over-communicate than under-communicate, I would say.”
“So far, Marrygold is completely funded by me personally. We have received a few investor offers, but we were not happy with the direction they wanted to take the company. So for now I prefer to keep the business running in a way that will not compromise on quality of service at any cost.” resolves Nandini.
Her small core team of 3 people based out of Bangalore has been putting in their best efforts to make their concept’s unique offering known and understood by all. Nandini says “in the process of being understood/accepted, we decided to take the slow and steady growth approach and hence are very careful about hiring new people. As a next step we are planning to expand our service to other Indian cities in a more organized and permanent way. Currently we work with consultants in other cities on a project-basis who provide support for our clients but we are planning to make this a more permanent model and have also been discussing various partnerships.”
Nandini is pleased and proud of the fame and adulation that Marrygold has received. She explains her delight saying “I think the fact that without any kind of PR plan or spending a single paisa on promotion, almost all the leading newspapers and magazines in India have covered us. It is encouraging to know that our unique idea interests media who have carried some very interesting articles about us. Our target audience seems to appreciate a service like Marrygold!”
“So far we have been in The Hindu, The Telegraph, Deccan Herald, TOI, Deccan Chronicle, Indian Express, Mid Day, and magazines like Timeout Bangalore, Simply Bangalore , Marie Claire, Femina, Management Next. Also, TV shows like Headlines Today.”
Like a true matchmaker who finds joy in uniting two individuals Nandini explains her love for entrepreneurship saying “My clients, without doubt. I provide a very personal and I think much-needed service, and I hate letting down even a single client – so I keep going!”
To the readers at Yourstory Nandini doles out advice extracted from her own life saying
“Find what you love to do. I’d quote Steve Job here, ‘stay hungry, stay foolish’”
Yourstory wishes that Nandini and Marrygold continue their journey to find and unite individuals in holy matrimony, and attain their goals at the same time.