“I started my business in the lockdown and in January 2021, people had recognised my work and my father called me to tell me how proud he was of how long I have come” proudly states Riya.
Failing to clear her final level CA exams, Riya Bhansali hit her lowest point and struggled with self-belief and cluelessness. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Riya turned her hand to Entrepreneurship and started her venture, “Sparkles and More”. She is bringing “smiles and happiness” with her carefully curated and customised gift-hampers for all times of events.
Besides, she is armed with an MBA in Finance from the University of London and an avid interest in gift-wrapping and packaging. Know more about Riya’s unusual business venture, her versatile gift-hamper ideas and more in this candid conversation with Storiyaan.
Riya Bhansali: Unboxing countless smiles
Questions and answers
Tell us the story behind the foundation of Sparkles and More and what drew your interest in packaging?
I have always been interested in gifting more than the gift itself. While I was getting married during the pandemic, I packed all the gifts myself and praises were heaped on me for the beautiful packaging. This gave me a much-need boost and I became firm about starting my venture.
Share with us some of the roadblocks you faced in your life?
I think the most challenging phase for me was when I fell face flat in the final level exams of chartered accountancy and couldn’t clear it even after six attempts. I was a ranker throughout my school life and therefore, lost my self-belief and confidence after such a heart-breaking performance.
What are the major attractions of your packaging that makes it stand among the rest and unique in their way?
My major attraction is that I curate the hampers based on my client’s budget. Every hamper is curated according to the products that the client wants. In addition, I also make adjustments whenever required to include their major requirements and ideas without being pocket-heavy.
Elucidate the types of events or programs you provide your services for?
I provide personalized gift hampers for events like baby showers, wedding gifts, and corporate gifts. Moreover, I also design hampers for various miscellaneous events and I am open to different types of events. Along with that, I also organise dates, wedding events etc but these are done in collaboration with other event managers.
As you started your business suddenly, how did you manage to gather the capital and make your business grow?
I started my venture with my personal savings and with the support of my family. Consequently, I decided to apply for some capital funding and eventually, the funds started flowing.
After launching my business, I started offering a wide variety of hampers and services, which helped me to capture my place in the market and thankfully stirred my venture towards success.
How do you customize the packaging keeping in mind the client's need as well as maintaining your creative stroke and authenticity?
Usually, people ask me for reference images or my previous work before getting on board with me. I start by asking them about the kind of hamper they are looking for and their budget and accordingly I suggest them the base trays and items. Luckily, none of my clients has critiqued my work.
What approach or strategy do you use to gather new ideas to stay updated in designing packages?
I try my best to check new hampers or styles in the market. Along with that, I also try to explore and experiment with the wrapping which often leads me to newer ideas and styles. Thus, my strategy is to use my time to learn, create and try something new.