When Preethi Singaravelu and Kamatchi Mohan met ten years ago in Design School, little did they know, they would go on to have more things in common than just the love for design. In conversation with Sruthi Bhat for the #Volocals Campaign, an initiative by New Aur Chai Media they share the story of their journey as Co-founders of ‘Gliterally Gold‘, a design Studio for Wedding and Corporate stationery established in Chennai.
“We always wanted to start a business together, and Kamatchi, used to joke about the name often. Suddenly we got an inspiration, and Gliterally Gold started off as a part-time thing when people from our friends’ circle started getting married,” recalls Preethi. “As we started seeing a difference, gradually moved into Corporate stationery, planners and graphic design though we didn’t plan it initially, seeing the traction we decided to take the next step” she adds.
Their first order was a wedding of Preethi’s friend “We didn’t know where to start and how to start and did start from the scratch, people saw those Invites and came back to us,” Preethi reminisces. “We gained popularity through word of mouth,” she adds.
Naming the brand was harder than they thought “We wanted to name it something that would relate to us, as well as unique and precious just like how the invites are to couples,” Kamatchi says. “We randomly started penning down names, and wanted to keep it neutral to accommodate any future expansions,” adds Preethi.
The duo manage end to end operations of the business and just outsource the delivery and printing. They segregate back-end duties amongst themselves along with juggling client management.
Working from their homes right from the day they began operations, they still made it a point to meet every day, sometimes, relishing the best cafes in the city to be their client meeting venues.
They focus on quality and ensure they get the best for their clients “One thing we don’t want to compromise on is quality, clients come back to us for the quality we deliver,” Kamatchi says. They select the vendors based on the quality they deliver and not the brand name behind it. “We initially thought only the big names in the industry deliver quality, but after little experiments, we realised that small vendors do deliver the same level of quality, and since then, we have made it a point to source from small businesses as well,” she adds.
“When the lockdown was announced, a lot of orders were already designed, but the printers were shut, and we couldn’t fulfil them. However, the clients were very understanding and agreed to push off the delivery till such time things settled down,” says Kamatchi.
Though the pandemic has put a pause on their outdoor meetings and deliveries, they see a shift in demand for their services. “We had already delivered invites for weddings that were earlier scheduled to be during the lockdown and for every Wedding that has been postponed, the clients have requested minor date changes in their printed invites. However, we haven’t had any new wedding orders come in,” says Preethi. “But, we have been receiving enquiries for Business and Corporate Designs over the lockdown as many small businesses are starting during this period,” Kamatchi adds.
Despite the pandemic leaving a blow on their business momentarily, the friends have bounced back. They are taking up projects as their company battles different challenges with regards to client requests.
“The industry and the customers preferences are dynamic. Earlier people used to come to us with traditional requests. Still, over the span of two years, we have had clients who come with a full-fledge research on Pinterest with every minute detail laid out,” Preethi says with regards to the fast-changing Wedding invites industry. “People have an eye for detail and specifications when it comes to their wedding invites, and the industry is expanding rapidly with new trends coming along the way,” she adds.
As they make things go round to design the perfect invite, they always prefer to do it themselves and prepare two versions of every design, each better than the other. They work in making the designs from scratch without any use of readymade designing applications and websites.
“Though these readymade applications and software are a threat to businesses like ours, they come with a limitation,” Preethi says. “An App can never deliver a tailor-made, unique design fulfilling all your requirements,” she adds.
With humble beginnings from their savings, Wedding invites to planners and corporate stationery, they have come a long way in the last two and a half years, and they plan to expand from here as well. As they stay excited for an array of weddings lined up in 2021, they are open to exploring opportunities in the future when it comes to Fashion Designing as well.
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