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Band Baaja Aur Business- Expert-led Solutions For The Wedding Industry Affected By The Lockdown

Band Baaja Aur Business- Expert-led Solutions For The Wedding Industry Affected By The Lockdown

The covid-19-led pandemic has jolted the entire world with long-lasting and damaging effects that will take a while to recover from. The lockdowns in India owing to the widely spreading virus closed the shutters for several business sectors such as gyms, theatres and entertainment businesses, travel businesses, and the largest of them all, the wedding industry.

The wedding industry is a large sector, approximately $40 to $50 million in size as per a 2017 report, comprising several businesses such as the event management services, banquet halls, decorators, salons and beauticians, fashion designers, caterers, photographers, musicians, lighting technicians etc. A wedding without the contribution of these various businesses is impossible to imagine. The Indian wedding industry was touted to be valued at Rs. 458 billion in 2020, from Rs 234 billion in 2017 but the lockdown on marriages in these covid-19 times, crashed the growth dreams and brought these businesses to a standstill.

Impact Of Covid-19 On The Wedding Industry

The wedding industry, including the businesses which come under it, have borne the brunt of covid-19 led lockdowns, curfews and restrictions the most and are still reeling under its effect. India has two main wedding seasons, (mostly due to the auspicious mahurats in these months), one being from January to April and the other from October to December. While the covid-19 wave dampened all the wedding celebrations in the first quarter of the year, jeopardising the businesses associated with the wedding business, the upcoming wedding season can provide an opportunity for them to make a come-back. 

Local banquet halls which used to arrange a minimum of 10 to 12 weddings a year witnessed an almost 90% drop in the business while salon owners and make-up artists found it difficult to make ends meet. Event managers who used to tie up with various businesses and plan close to 50 wedding events a year have let go of existing contracts too. This is due to the lack of clarity on rules and regulations regarding weddings. The situation is the same for decorators, caterers and photographers. 

Some of the challenges faced by the businesses in the wedding industry included-

  • Postponement of wedding dates due to restrictions and curfews is a challenge faced by banquet halls, decorators, event managers, caterers, etc.  However, the silver lining is that the weddings were not cancelled but just postponed till a later date.
  • The restrictions on the number of guests, with permission for only small groups of 50 or less is another challenge faced by the wedding industry. Photographers, beauticians, etc are allowed to work with only a small, restricted team owing to the restriction on the number of guests.
  • The beauty industry faced difficulties such as considering safety protocols and hygiene while providing their services. Services such as facials were/are avoided by clients owing to close contact while providing the services and this poses a challenge to beauticians.
  • The mode of operation and delivery of services also saw a huge change due to the pandemic and the number of aged clients, especially senior citizens, has reduced drastically.
  • Almost all the businesses are facing a cash crunch and so are the clients, thus delaying payments.

Even industry veterans and experts such as Kavita Awasthee of ‘Poshakh’ Fashion Boutique, Leena Khandekar of Lee’s Beauty Center and Spa and Kishor Sarpotdar of Poona Guest House have had to face these consequences of the pandemic-led slowdown of the wedding industry. However, they stood resilient against these trying times and have used this time to reinvent themselves and also come up with solutions to tide over this difficult phase while empathising with the businesses that have suffered during this bleak period.

Expert-led Solutions For The Wedding Industry Affected By The Lockdown

The wedding industry has faced a large slump in the last year and a half but businesses can sail through these turbulent times without losing hope via expert-led solutions provided during deAsra’s #BandBaajaAurBusiness seminar.

Wedding industry

Some of the business-wise solutions are discussed here to help entrepreneurs bounce back and overcome the impact of the pandemic on their business.

Solutions For Fashion Enterprises And Boutique Business

The fashion industry got a large chunk of their orders from weddings and the restrictions on weddings have affected the business for boutique owners. The expert solutions suggested by Kavita Awasthee, owner of Poshakh Fashion Boutique pertaining to the fashion business which can help entrepreneurs are –

    • Entrepreneurs must be present on a marketplace or town square (online marketplaces and platforms) where they can interact with clients face to face thus forging a personal connection with them. They must focus on being available, connected and visible to the clients at all times especially on digital platforms. 
    • Also, entrepreneurs must accept and adapt to the situation as do most customers.
    • The situation can be turned advantageous by bringing innovation in the designs as well as in the marketing methods by selling the products online thus making it convenient to reach out to clients outside the city, state or country. An increasing number of individuals are now comfortable with making purchases online and by selling the garments online, designers can widen their reach and expand their business. 
    • Entrepreneurs can also use these digital platforms to introduce the clients to local or regional specialities in terms of fabrics since garments can easily be showcased on online channels for marketing.
    • The downtime can also be used to conduct research, innovate the products and upgrade one’s skills for the future. Every entrepreneur has a wishlist that they want to work on with regards to their business but didn’t have enough time earlier. They can now utilise this slack period towards the same, by honing and upgrading their skills as well as those of the employees.
    • Fashion designers can also collaborate with other businesses in the wedding industry such as photographers, beauticians, to provide their services as a package deal.
    • Additionally, entrepreneurs must follow the 80-20 principle which conveys that 80% of the entrepreneur’s business comes from 20% of their clients and they must be in regular touch with this 20% while focussing on restarting the business post lockdown.
    • Also, entrepreneurs must accommodate clients asking for garments to be made within a budget wherever possible as apart from pleasing the customer it helps build a lasting relationship with the client.

All of these solutions and suggestions have been tried and tested by Mrs Kavita herself with positive outcomes and she could also reach out to 20% of her client base via online mediums and also deliver orders across borders.

Solutions For Beauty And Salon Business

Leena Khandekar of Lee’s Beauty Center and Spa is a renowned name in the beauty business and through her experience and knowledge, she has suggested solutions for salon businesses to overcome the tough times, especially for entrepreneurs in the wedding business

    • Entrepreneurs can invest in software that allows viewing various bridal looks by just uploading a photograph. This helps provide virtual look-tests for prospective clients by creating various looks through the software. Mrs Khandekar herself secured more than 32 bridal bookings owing to such software.
    • Entrepreneurs can also participate in online beauty exhibitions, such as those on Nykaa, Facebook groups, Google, etc like the Beauty Association Group or other individual beauty groups. 
    • In this downtime, Entrepreneurs can train their employees to retail beauty products as a side hustle. The process works as follows- the employees register as an Associate Retailer on Nykaa, Flippant or Amazon, then they select the products they want to retail, obtain the link for those products which they can share or post on their social media platforms or WhatsApp and thus get a commission when purchases are made through the link. And to top it this registration is free of cost. 
    • Entrepreneurs can also consider teaching beauty techniques and makeup via online teaching mediums during the slump.  Online teaching is safe in the present times, is economical, saves time, and students can attend from the comforts of their home.
    • Freelance beauticians can increase their client base by providing home services to senior citizens who hesitate to step out into beauty salons in these pandemic times.
    •  Entrepreneurs must also seek collaborations to sustain themselves and grow. They can also provide package deals or collaborate with other freelancers in the wedding industry to provide maximum services at the doorstep. 
    • Beauty business owners must also be in regular touch with their clients and inform them via phone calls when the salons reopen.
    • Entrepreneurs can also use this time to upgrade their skills and diversify the business. For instance, salons owners can look at producing natural beauty products and cosmetics. 
    • Another important consideration that beauty business owners must make is to empathize with the client’s situation too and the crash crunch they are facing too and accommodate them wherever possible, maybe through customizable packages. This will help create a loyal and permanent customer base like how Mrs Leena personally experienced. 

Solutions For Catering Business

The Catering business, an integral part of the wedding industry has also borne the brunt and can see through these trying times by following the suggestions and solutions given by Mr Kishor Sarpotdar of Poona Guest House.

Some of the solutions and suggestions were given by Mr Sarpotdar are as follows-

    • Catering business owners must be a part of the National Association of Corporate Caterers and also look at joining associations and groups where they get the opportunity to network and help their business grow.
    • Entrepreneurs must remember that even though the operations of the wedding industry have been paused, there has been no pause on celebrations. People celebrate several other occasions and caterers can provide services for all other celebrations too.
    • Another important tip for business owners is that they must unite and come together in these tough times to sail through it unitedly.

Solutions For The Other Businesses

Apart from the businesses discussed above, several other businesses in the wedding industry are affected by the restrictions, such as the photography business, event planning business, lighting business, musicians, etc. These businesses can apply the suggestions given by Mr Anand Godse to survive the down period and swing back into action.

    • Photographers must look at getting vaccinated at the earliest to be able to take up wedding photography assignments in the forthcoming wedding season.
    • Several events are now happening virtually and the events industry can look at innovating themselves to organise and manage virtual events such as providing online entertainment activities revolving around weddings.
    • Entrepreneurs from all the various fields belonging to the wedding industry must view this time as a period to pause and rejuvenate themselves and bounce back refreshed and charged when the situation is favourable again.

Take-Away From The Experts 

One of the chief takeaways from the seminar as the experts gave their views and provided solutions to see through this period is to embrace digital marketing methods as it plays a key role in helping the business operate in these times. 

Wedding industry

Also, an increasing number of people are comfortable with using virtual platforms for their needs and therefore entrepreneurs must make full use of social media marketing methods to reach out to customers and increase their sales and customer base too. They can always approach deAsra for guidance and further knowledge regarding smm services or any other assistance to restart their #BandBajaaBusiness with a bang!

 

 

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