Making dreams come true
As far as Mimi can remember, she first saw her mother’s wedding sari at 14. A bright red Banarasi, with hexagon zari bootis all over the rich silk fabric and helmed by a heavy border and pallu. It was absolutely exquisite. Since then, every time her mother was rearranging her wardrobe, Mimi would rush to peek at the red jewel, harbouring wishes about wearing something similar when she would be a bride.
Ten years later, when it was time to shop for the wedding, Mimi was already a journalist, with a busy planner that found it hard to fit in relaxed retail. When her mother implored her, Mimi mumbled, “Fine, let’s just go to the shop where you bought your sari from and get something similar. I’ll be set.”
The women stepped into a well-known sari shop in Kolkata. But as the clock ticked, Mimi just couldn’t gauge why nothing came close to the sari she has dreamt of. Sadly, she settled for the best of the lot in front of her. She did like it a lot, but somewhere it was not what she had dreamt of since 14.
On the other side of Kolkata, a young man called up his girlfriend from a menswear studio selling ethnic wear for the Bengali groom. “This is atrocious. What’s with the choosing? Why can’t they just pick up something nice that fits. I cannot deal with this anymore. I have work to finish!” Calming her fiancé down, Mimi said, “They’re excited about your wedding. You have to let them enjoy the phase,” even as she heard confused chattering of her mom and aunt-in-law over the phone…
That is a little vignette from the time I was readying to walk down the aisle. As much as I fondly remember the phase, if I could time travel, I certainly would have gone back and done many things differently. The husband says the same and I reply, “I wish we had someone like HappyShappy back then.”
I had to make do with a wedding sari, which though was stunning, was not exactly how I wanted. I rushed through the jewellery bit and now I realise I would have loved a pair of jhumkas much more than the danglers the PC Chandra lady forced down our throat. My husband was forced to accompany his mom and aunts for the ubiquitous wedding shopping, something that he would banish with a click if he had his way!
Anyway. What’s done is done. Back to HappyShappy.com then. This is a year-old bright and beautiful social retail portal that helps you create dream boards, saving your dreams, getting your wishes personalized, customized. Most importantly, you can buy your dreams, just as you had dreamt of it. Founded by Sana and Nitin Sood, this is a platform (with users growing exponentially every month) geared to make you happy without having to move a muscle for it.
Sana, the co-founder of Happy Shappy shifted to Delhi after 27 years in Washington DC to establish and create this company, along with her husband, Nitin Sood (founder and CEO), who went to study there after growing up in Punjab. Nitin was previously with the World Bank in DC, and also consulting with the US Government on highly technical projects. Sana, a mother of two, had worked at PwC and a Swiss multinational, in sectors of operations and finance. “In high-involvement positions, we soon realized that life was living us. We were going through hamster rigmaroles without being able to enjoy moments that mattered. The decision to pack our bags and leave for India sprang out of that monotonous existence,” says Sana, whose creative expertise coupled with Nitin’s technical and managerial prowess is veered towards making HappyShappy a perfect marriage between an online scrapbook and a retail destination.
It is an online portal where users can browse photos of fashion, looks, food and travel — save the ones they love into Dreamboards, and then get the very things they’re dreaming of, at the perfect price. “It aims to give users the celebrations they’ve always wanted. Celebrations which are not possible with an endless stream of screenshots that people currently take — only to forget them just as quickly and not recall them when they’re needed for planning a celebration,” says Nitin.
After a click of the ‘I Want It’ button,’ HappyShappy asks a user by when they want the item they’re coveting, how much their budget allows for and any customizations required. Then, it connects the user to an array of vetted vendors who can bid on making the user’s dream come true, without the individual or their families running from pillar to post trying to source what they love.
What sets HappyShappy apart from the Pinterest is that they do not further the ‘Do It Yourself’ culture. “Despite being popular globally, Pinterest has found limited resonance in India, due due to its DIY component. Let’s face it. This culture simply does not exist in India. We are more of ‘Get it Done’. HappyShappy.com has Indianized the concept of Pinterest to suit local behavior and needs,” explains Sana. Jesus, how my husband would have loved it the HappyShappy way ten years back!
HappyShappy.com puts up new inspiration photos every day, images that link to vendors, blogs, retail sites and more. The great thing about the portal is that it is not restricted to weddings. HappyShappy is all about celebrations, be it an anniversary, a birthday party, a milestone, engagements and so on. “India loves to celebrate and we fulfill every celebratory wish with dream scrapbooks and the ‘I want it’ button. It is our responsibility to get the best vendors to the user because this is a relationship we are building,” say the entrepreneur couple.
Fashion designers, wedding planners, set designers, make-up artists, food caterers and jewellery designers make the portal a busy online market where bidding for quality and price is encouraged. Save the ideas that inspire you, the photos that move you, the visuals that excite you for celebrations yet to come. It may be the full-skirted wedding lehenga you’ll twirl in, the gossamer chiffon saree for your college farewell, the LBD you’ll shimmy in on New Years. Just go the HappyShappy route. The team will connect you to able designers, boutiques, makeup artists, creators of all things wonderful, in a price that’ll make your wallet delirious.
Next month we complete ten years of marriage. I need to plan something, FAST. Or maybe, I’ll just log onto HappyShappy.com. Because, I don’t want a rerun of the chaotic hair and makeup episode on my wedding day. Well, that is a different story, for a different time altogether…