The joy of giving your loved one a gift they truly desire is something most of us often wish for, but at times fall short of attaining. Lamhe, a brainchild of three creative entrepreneurs brings to India a unique concept of online gifting, which is set to revolutionise gifting in India. Isha Siraj-Kedia, CEO, Lamhe speaks about the company and its future.
Jasmeet Sahi (JS): Share with us the inception of Lamhe. When, where and how did it take shape? Why the name ‘Lamhe’?
Isha Siraj-Kedia (ISK): In mid-2008, Anushka, who manages Lamhe's global marketing efforts hit upon the idea of giving unusual gifts to her loved ones in India, when on Mother's Day she was unable to find a quick and easy way to give her mom in Mumbai a unique unforgettable gift. Meanwhile, Vishy, who is responsible for the design and continuing evolution of the Lamhe website, had a college friend who got married in mid-2008, an event which inspired him to work on innovative ideas in online gifting for the Indian market. Anushka recruited me, her friend since early school days, to bring her considerable creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to the table. By several lucky twists of fate, Anushka, Isha and Vishy met and created Lamhe as we know it today.
We thought of the name Lamhe because our website’s USP is the focus on experiences or moments. We also wanted an Indian name for our NRIs in the US.
JS: How does Lamhe work for a consumer?
ISK: If you want to give a gift, there are very simple four steps:
Browse Lamhe’s catalogue or search the site to choose a gift for the gift recipient.
Buy the gift using Lamhe’s secure online shopping process. Lamhe sends a notification over email, or if you choose, an exclusive, luxurious hand-delivered gift box to your loved ones, that they have received a gift. Either way, gift recipients receive a Redemption Code along with the gift notification.
If you have received a gift, then:
Redeem your gift experience by contacting Lamhe’s customer service online or by phone and submitting your date preferences. Lamhe will coordinate on your behalf with Lamhe's Delivery Partners to reserve a date that works for both of you.
Experience the gift by following the instructions you have received. Give your Redemption Code to our Delivery Partner, so that we know you and our Delivery Partner have made contact and you have experienced your gift.
JS: What kinds of products are available to people who want to send a gift to their loved ones?
ISK: We have signed up with the best-in-class vendors offering a unique set of gifts and experiences. There is everything from a romantic dinner for two to a spa experience to action adventure trips. We also offer unique flowers and desserts. In fact our cupcake vendor was profiled recently be Verve magazine as a Cupcake queen. We also have a range of personalised gifts for all occasions. For the little ones we offer gifts with a twist, like dream libraries, classes and activities.
JS: What agreement is Lamhe in with the retailers whose products are used for gifting purposes?
ISK: We have vendor contracts with each of our vendors which detail our service agreement.
JS: What mode of payment does Lamhe accept?
ISK: We accept cash and credit cards. We have tied up with CC Avenue a leading online payment gateway.
JS: What were the challenges that you faced while setting-up Lamhe?
ISK: Any new business is a challenge. For us it has been a struggle as all three founders live in three different parts of the world – namely Mumbai, Boston and Los Angeles. We have spent several hours with Skype, IM and of course email perfecting our communication. Even finding a good time to talk, with three different time zones has been a challenge. However we have a great schedule now and are Skype Masters!
JS: Lastly, what is in store for the future? Any offline stores?
ISK: At this stage, we are looking at expanding our vendor and customer base in Mumbai. As a next stage, we will add other cities – Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai etc. We also want to grow our Wishlist base which is a new concept in India.