From a sales exec to an entrepreneur, how Ayushi Misra made it big in the event planning space
Absolutely Yushi is a curation company that styles small to mid-scale events, and designs personalised gifts for bridesmaids, celebrations, and brands.
Monday March 28, 2022,
7 min Read
Ayushi Misra is no stranger to planning or organising events, parties, trips, and bachelorette parties. She would plan bachelorette parties/trips for friends and family with such ease that Ayushi’s friends would often joke and say that she should turn it into a legitimate business.
Organising special moments was something she was always passionate about and came naturally to her, which led Ayushi to establish, a curation company, in Delhi-NCR in 2015.
The company styles small to mid-scale events and designs personalised gifts for celebrations, bridesmaids, and brands.
“I noticed that similar to large-scale event planners, there was a gap in the market to conceptualise gifts and organise smaller events. People produced and put together gifts and hampers, but taking out that extra time to create a unique design and highly customise a small event or even a single hamper did not really exist,” says Ayushi.
Before starting Absolutely Yushi, Ayushi worked as a sales and marketing executive for several organisations.
The early days
“I thought my life was in business development in the corporate space. However, it was in the midst of a work sabbatical when I took on the project to plan my childhood friend’s bachelorette party. I did it for free and wanted to see if I could pull it off. It turned out to be a rocking night and the pictures were all over, and people started enquiring about how they went about planning the night,” says Ayushi.
During this time, the Hag and Sten Do scene was trending. The baker hired by Ayushi was being interviewed, and he told the journalist to get in touch with Ayushi who was professionally handling this space.
“The next thing I knew the article was out and people started getting in touch. Since it was a trial project at the time, I had no company name, logo, etc. So it worked in the opposite way for me. Word went out, and three weeks later, Absolutely Yushi was born,” says Ayushi.
From then to now, there has been no looking back, and the range of offerings have only expanded.
“We have grown in terms of products and services offered. I still like to keep events small and personal, and so we have not scaled much in terms of planning bigger events, but we have expanded the types of events that we do. For example – bridal showers/bachelorette, anniversary parties, birthday parties, and concept/instagrammable décor set ups. We work in tandem with a lot of event/wedding planners and handle the personalised aspect of the event,” says Ayushi.
Going both online and offline
The clients reach out with their requirements to the startup both online and offline. The team further understands the details and shares a proposal with different budgets. They select what works and the design and ideation phase begins.
“I work very closely with the clients till the order completion and I am their primary point of contact. It all started by taking on projects form close friends, and word of mouth has played a huge role in marketing the brand. Providing good customer experience has led to retaining a lot of my clients till date and bringing in new ones. Creating a foundation of trust has been of utmost importance to me as I feel it takes the company and brand name a long way,” says Ayushi.
Creating the production line was a step by step process. It started with sourcing nearly everything to finally having their own trusted vendors and skilled in-house craftsmen whom Ayushi works with when creating unique designs.
This also helps to have better quality control and to work on new product/design.
“If there is one thing I can say with confidence is that I have always had strong communication skills with a knack to understand the pulse of the client. Given the fact that I have a sales background, dealing with a varied range of clients comes easy to me,” says Ayushi.
The 3P rule
The founder says the team follows a 3Ps rule - Personality, preference, and passion.
“If one considers these three aspects of the person/brand concerned, a successful execution is always guaranteed. Most times, people are busy following trends or what looks pretty, and they forget to keep in mind the focus of the celebration or purpose of the brand. So while the product may be something as regular as a mug, glass, or a banner, the punch comes in the wordings, colours, theme of what he/she/they would like that syncs in the entire look,” adds Ayushi.
She explains that this process has helped with close to 70 percent client retention.
“I feel we stand apart or are at least trying to show that less is more by creating looks and styles with minimal design elements when it comes to our gifting. To keep waste to the bare minimum and yet make the end result impactful, most of our merchandise is made using sustainable/ eco-friendly materials,” says Ayushi.
Absolutely Yushi has both an offline and online business model as it likes to cater to as many clients as possible. They cater to online clients through social media and the website is where most of where the leads come from, with about a 60 percent conversion rate. This is more for the gifting and digital creative section.
“For offline, besides getting in touch with us directly, we’ve tied up with large event planners and service providers where we handle the backend for specific production. We’ve also tied up with brands and we contribute to their ongoing packaging requirements,” explains Ayushi.
Concept décor set up is another exclusive service where the team does a small part of a much bigger event, but stands out in bringing out the true essence of what the event is about so that people would like to capture it leading to indirectly marketing the event online.
“The general age bracket of our clients is between 25-60. We cater to both individual clients – brides, grooms, parents, etc., as well as bigger groups such as brands, corporates, and wedding planners. Our pricing completely depends on the scope of work involved. For our gifting line, the pricing for just one single hamper starts from Rs 5,500 onwards and for over five hampers, it usually ranges from Rs 1,850 to Rs 4,000, but then it completely depends on the client’s budget,” adds Ayushi.
According to several reports, the global virtual event platform market size is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.7 percent during the forecast period, to reach $18.9 billion in 2026 from $10.4 billion in 2021.
Some other startups working in the space include Meragi, Hubilio, and several others.
“While there are many plans and ideas lined up for Absolutely Yushi, somewhere along the way, I want to make this space a more organised and defined sector within the scope of larger events, and gifting space with a minimal waste policy. To make the entire experience of gifting and being able to set up a small event seamless, we are also looking to create a proper curation studio and bring on some techniques and personalisation styles that are extremely popular and accessible in the west, but are not currently possible in India,” says Ayushi.
She adds that the plan is to create an AY-approved marketplace in the next five years.
Edited by Megha Reddy