Meet the SHEROES: Anu Gupta And Sapna Chaudhary Of Makemywishes.com
Choosing the right gift for your loved ones can often be a daunting task. MakeMyWishes simplifies this process and encourages all individuals to openly express their wishes and get them fulfilled instantly too! This unique idea was seeded and nurtured by co-founders Ms. Anu Gupta and Ms. Sapna Chaudhary. They believe that having a wish list keeps a person motivated and grounded, and that there is no greater feeling than getting a wish fulfilled.
Let's see what they have to share with us today:
What was your childhood like? What was your original choice for a career, and how did you get there?
Anu: I was born in UP and spent most of my childhood in Punjab. I’m the only daughter of my parents. I have a younger brother who is currently working in SAP, and he has been my Wikipedia for everything under the sky. He is my source of energy in literally everything I do.
I did not really know what I wanted to be. And I had not probably given it much thought either; so I made the conscious choice to study biology. It was after I finished my first degree that I decided to pursue my major in information technology in Pune.
I was in the financial industry for quite some time and eventually, I could not see any further growth in that sector. I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do and being an entrepreneur was not it. But it happened, and turned out to be great!
I’m a really energetic person who’s a self-starter. In the past, I’ve loved being independent and taking on new projects and developing my fresh ideas.
Sapna: Well, I’d really describe myself as a person with a versatile skill-set and a willingness to learn more every day. I was born in UP; I’m the eldest child--I have two sisters and a brother.
I was always a very shy child. I feel embarrassed to say that I was one of those students who essentially read their palm cards, glancing up from time to time to appear to “engage” with her audience. All I wanted to do was just get it over with.
I completed my academics from St Mary’s School, Bijnor, and then went to MJP Rohailkhand University, Bareilly, for further education.
My mom met with a very severe accident when she was a child, and because of the absence of a good doctor, she got tetanus with a lock jaw.
I always wanted to become a doctor looking at her, but in the circle of circumstances and life, I went into a banking job. I worked with several reputed banks including ICICI and Standard Chartered in my 14 years of work experience.
How did the idea of makemywishes.com come about? How has the journey been so far?
Anu: Often, it so happened that I was clueless about what to gift to my dear friends and family members on special occasions.
I was invited to a friend’s 40th birthday party, and I was clueless as to what to give her as a present. She has everything she could ask for. I wanted to make her day special by giving her something she would cherish, but it was too awkward to ask her what she would like. Nevertheless, I tried and she said nothing. I ended up visiting her with a bouquet, and it was one of many she received that day.
I remember thinking that if only I knew of her wishes, I could have fulfilled them (maybe one of them!) as it was a perfect occasion. I wished for a platform where I could see what people wish for, and what wishes are ‘trending’ today.
And that was the beginning of makemywishes.com...
The idea is simple--a platform you can set up once and use forever to give and get the gifts that matter the most. For holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduation, new babies, new homes or just because, it is the place to share wishes with family and friends
It’s been an amazing journey so far, and we are totally enjoying it.
Sapna: For three years, I was struggling alone to make my loan and business work. One fine day last year, I met Anu who was my senior with one of my previous employers. I was looking for this one chance to give wings to my long-awaited dream, and since then, we have been working together on this idea.
I am a very emotional person and always try my best to make my friends and family feel special on their special days, and of course, expect the same in return. It has happened ‘n’ number of times when I planned a surprise for my husband on his birthday and ended up buying him some suit which was either oversized or small in size, or a mobile phone of some brand which he never wanted to have. My son is crazy about action figures and plans for his birthday the whole year--keeps his wish-list ready too--but gets very disappointed when he receives all those repetitive board games and footballs every year.
Makemywishes will fill that gap in the gifting industry. The response has been overwhelming: Everyone we meet agrees on the need for this platform in India.
Could you tell us about of the most challenging and inspiring moments in your startup journey?
Anu: Startup journeys are anything but boring! We can truly relate to it. The most memorable moment would be when the first real user created his account and logged in to our site. We were all so excited.
Every day is a challenge for us. We are still in development phase. There are so many new things to be added to the application. Every day, we are brainstorming with the development team to come up with better solutions.
Sapna: Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done”. Keep watching us. I am sure, with the overwhelming response and the excitement shown by people--who now very well understand the concept--we will keep moving forward and make this successful.
The biggest challenge comes when people don’t really understand the logic behind sharing their wishes. All of us have been born and brought up in a culture where asking for a gift is considered greedy; and since Anu and me, both, are from a finance background, we often struggled initially trying explain how we are going to compete with a world full of IITians and IIMs and try to nurture all their enthusiastic ideas.
The most inspiring moment was when we went to meet a top-shot guy who has already made a space for himself--he simply loved the idea. It gave us a morale boost too.
What are your future plans for makemywishes.com?
Anu: We are looking to increase the user base to 3 million in the next three years. We also have plans to add new features in phase two. We will soon be putting up a mechanism in place for sale and last-mile delivery of gifts. In the current fiscal year, we will be starting with Delhi NCR and promote it to other metros in the next year. We have plans to touch the entire market by 2018
Sapna: I wish to see everyone in India talking about MakeMyWishes, and practically using it to fill in the gap in the gifting industry. The expansion of our team to a group of experts in technology and customer service is something we look forward to.
Where do you see yourself in the coming years?
Anu: Here!!! What better place can I be in, than making my venture more successful and bigger?
Sapna: I see myself beside Anu, making a remarkable name and place for ourselves in the world of successful entrepreneurs.
What message would you share with our readers?
Anu: With MakeMyWishes, you can put your money to good use, knowing for sure that you are bringing a smile to someone's face by fulfilling their wishes. Stop keeping your wishes to yourself!
Sapna: Just pen down your wishes. Don’t wait for others to do it for you. This platform will also keep you motivated; so list everything here and let your friends and family know what you wish for and have achieved.
Sapna: My phone, a notebook, a pen, my specs and a moisturiser are my must-haves. Apart from this, peace of mind and no regrets in life.
Collated by Paroma Sen