It all started when she was dating her now husband Rahul Chandalia while in college. “I wanted to come up with personalized gifts and was surprised to see the absolute dearth of ‘hatke’ gifts in the market. We ended up making something on our own each time we thought of exchanging gifts, lending a personal touch to the products,” says Saloni Chandalia, co-founder of RednBrown, a one-stop store to cater to all gifting needs.
So the first thing she wanted to do was try her hands at filling in the gap in this demand-supply chain. Two years after getting married, Saloni along with her husband Rahul joined hands to start the RednBrown store. The name of the venture has an interesting connotation – Red stands for love and Brown represents humans, the idea being delivering gifts and love to individuals via this platform.
“A lifestyle store has that choice in place where you walk in to a store and you have literally everything under that roof – be it shoes, trousers, tops, accessories etc. It is all brands available under one roof. On similar lines, I wanted a one-stop gift store with a twist in place. So we got branded cake stores too under one roof,” says Saloni.
Be it the ‘alcohol miniature bouquets arrangement’ to a ‘chocolate bouquet’ in a bucket, a goodies hamper in a jewellery briefcase, it is the personalized gift items which make the products available at RednBrown unique.
“More than gifts, it is a commitment to deliver happiness with each of the products we send out,” says Saloni. The range of personalized gifts is indeed unlimited – bird-cages turned into lamps and lights to suit the tempo of the occasion and even tissue rolls made close-to-heart with personal messages.
The team at RednBrown believes in wrapping each gift carefully too. After all, the gift is as important as the way it is presented. And it is perhaps this touch that conveys the special message of being loved to your loved ones.
The starting of this venture
Saloni started her venture in August 2013 and currently has a retail outlet in Byculla in Mumbai. The venture has an online presence www.rednbrown.com too. Their catalogue is interesting – they started
with a paltry 20 products and have now gone up to 1,000 odd products, given that the demand from customers has shot up considerably from the time they have started. Also there are repeat customers who order with them each time with the hope of getting their loved ones a prized possession.This woman entrepreneur started with retail gifting and slowly moved into corporate gifting, diwali and concept gifting for events alongside sending personalized gifts for baby showers, re-branding activities of companies, themed parties etc.
Having finished her MBA with a Major in Finance, Saloni pursued a career in corporate banking for two years. That is the point in time when she realized that she is not meant for this corporate life and quit her job to start research along with her husband for this venture.
The research took up a great deal of time and it was only after one full year that she was in a position to kick off her business.
Challenges along the way
Manpower, was the biggest challenge for this startup. When the demand soars, they find themselves short of manpower. Also, with each customer being unique, they always tend to look out for something ‘new’ each time and Saloni says they just have to give their products that ‘extra creative’ element. “It surely does require a lot of out-of-the-box thinking,” says Saloni, adding that this is perhaps what drove her to startup this venture. Add to it the challenge of reaching out to a greater audience and a bigger market, a factor which always pushed her to the extreme.