Coffee With Harsh & Varun – Founders of Oye Happy!
Today we have a quick & short interview with founders of Oye Happy! – Harsh and Varun!
Wouldn’t it be awesome to wake your bollywood fanatic friend to a call from her favourite celebrity on her birthday? Better still, have a guitarist over to sing your dad’s favourite Beatles song? Or just tell your fiancé how much you love her, over dinner at a haveli booked for just the two of you? Sounds interesting right! Oye Happy makes it happen!
What is Oye Happy?
We surprise people for a living. Seriously.
From hiring a Harley-Davidson for a day to treat the biker to hosting a surprise book launch and signing for a closeted poet, Oye Happy organises surprises across the country. Our clients tell us about their loved one, choose something unique and customise it to make it personal. We put up private pani puri stalls for foodies, book billboards in the city for people who want to announce to the world how special their loved ones are to them and do so much more. Oye Happy has introduced not just customisable products that emphasise the personal touch but also a wide range of experiences that loved ones can take part in together or a person can treat him or herself to.
How did the idea come about?
Oye Happy started as a crazy idea which evolved into a business in almost an autopilot mode. We wanted to make people happy. I worked in advertising as a copywriter and creative consultant then and Harsh was a strategy and operational efficiency consultant at KPMG.
Harsh and I have always been great at making special occasions extra special for our loved ones. A friend once requested us to surprise her boyfriend at the airport as he was flying in from the US. We actually held a mock swayamvar to welcome him! We had a blast getting it together and they couldn’t have been happier. That was when we decided we had to this for a living.
What has been your journey like so far?
Oye Happy started in a 138 sqft room. Clients would call and ask us to arrange for surprises for their loved ones. Our marketing was restricted to our Facebook page and word of mouth references. The viral nature of the concept often made people witnessing the surprise Google us and then approach us.
It didn’t take us long to realise that the Indian customer had evolved. We noticed that unique experiences were valued much more highly than traditional gifts and various studies backed up our observation. People chose to create memories rather than invest in expensive material presents.
It was in 2014 that we took the big plunge and went online. From phone call orders and a tiny kiosk at the Hyderabad airport, we were now a full fledged e-commerce portal for surprises. We introduced customisable products and unique experiences that aren’t available elsewhere.
Since this is a pretty unique offering, what is the demand like?
In the last 2 years alone, spending in the experience gifting segment has increased by 200%. Experiences like a private pani puri stall for example have a high viral coefficient since this is the social media generation and it gives them talking points. Apart from experiences, gifts which help build an emotional connect are more in demand than regular flowers and cakes. We are in an industry which is evolving really fast and since people are getting more expressive especially with a time constraint, they look for newer and better ways of making the expression meaningful.
But the leap to sending over a Harley-Davidson for a day as a birthday gift instead of a bouquet is quite large for most people. That has been our biggest hurdle so far. Even when people want to try something new, they can be apprehensive at first. But once convinced enough to place an order with us, our customers have always returned to arrange for other surprises. Word of mouth references and good reviews are still our biggest marketing tools.
What about your foray into the corporate gifting segment?
We have also introduced Oye Happy ‘Excite’ recently which are experience boxes for businesses. This will allow companies to gift a memorable experience to their employees and clients instead of conventional gifts. Employees can choose to do what interests them from a host of options like wine tasting, horse riding, zumba classes, etc available in the experience box.
Where is Oye Happy heading?
Our immediate plan is to have a physical presence in every metro to enable quality experiences. We are already getting queries from across the country, including smaller towns, for experiences. A lot of corporates too have shown interest in Oye Happy ‘Excite’ and we will soon take that forward.