SupportBiz spoke with Jimmy Bhandari, the company’s founder. Edited excerpts:
Tell us about your services...
We offer event management services of all kinds – corporate and religious events; road shows; cultural events; weddings; birthday and anniversary parties; cocktail parties; theme-based parties, among others.
What is your background?
I have a bachelors degree in commerce, and also have an MBA in marketing and HR. After that, I went on to do a course in event management. I worked with an event management firm while doing my graduation, and went on to work with Future Group after my graduation.
What led you to start Peppermint?
I had always been interested in event management, and always wanted to start an event management firm of my own. I wanted to do something creative, and did not want to be stuck in a ‘nine to five’ kind of job throughout my life. I believe that event management is a field where you get a chance to do something new with each event. Starting Peppermint was, hence, a natural progression.
What was the initial investment needed to start Peppermint?
To be honest, I started with just INR200 in my pocket! A friend asked me to host a birthday party for him, and that is how Peppermint got its first order. We did not start with much.
How is the competition in your line of work? How do you fight competition?
Competition in the field of event management is huge. There are 15-20 event management companies in Nashik itself, and there are more firms coming up every day. I think we stand out from competition owing to the freshness we bring to every event that we organise. We try to ensure that every event, that we manage, is different from the previous one, and quite unique. That is our USP, and that is how we deal with competition.
What challenges do you face?
One of the biggest challenges that we face is competition, which forces us to come up with unique ideas all the time. I am, in a way, thankful for this, too, as it motivates us to put in our best efforts.
Another major challenge that we face is our unwillingness to compromise on our rates. We offer best quality services and charge accordingly, because of which it becomes difficult at times to convince potential customers to place an order with us.
How do you market your business?
I am proud to say that we have never advertised our services. 95 percent of our business comes from references – word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied and happy customers. We regularly update our Facebook page with pictures of events that we have organised, and that brings us a lot of customers, too.
What are your expansion plans in the near future?
We plan to extend our services to Bangalore, and are all set to start a branch in the city. Other than that, we also plan to grow our team and recruit more people. We have been considering forward integration as well. We are in talks with different parties regarding media buying, and hope to be active in that space very soon.
What are the emerging trends in event management in India?
The number of people opting for theme-based parties – like cocktail parties, dinners, birthdays and anniversary parties – are on the rise in India. There has been a spike in the demand for such parties from Tier II cities of late.
Also, wedding planning is emerging in a big way. A lot of people are warming to the idea of wedding planning, which was an almost unheard-of concept in India a few years ago. Again, there is an increasing demand for wedding planning services from Tier II cities.
What has been your major learning from business?
My most important learning from business has been that if you have a viable business idea and the passion to see it through, you can achieve anything and everything, irrespective of your age and other factors.