What 25 year-old freelancer Dhvani Solani and 25 year-old marketing consultant Forum Shah have in common is “a rather severe mental allergy” to crockery, shirts, watches and other convenient products people often pick up last-minute to gift someone.
“We’ve always helped our respective families and friends by suggesting ideas for gifts for their loved ones and, eventually, picking them up, too,” says Solani. “But it was only in May last year that we actually sat down and thought of how we could make the act of gifting an experience for people, not just an obligation they must fulfil.” And that, adds Solani, is how Present Perfect was born.
Soon after, a Mumbai-based advertising agency approached them to put together 200 Diwali hampers for its office staff. “We worked for over a fortnight to create a gourmet Diwali hamper that comprised chocolates, dry fruits, cookies, chips and diyas.”
Solani says the duo researched on gifting styles and preferences for a few months. “We wanted to know about the kind of gifts people really liked and also those they end up buying out of convenience. The process of meeting people who create quirky products or provide interesting services is ongoing,” Solani explains. Most of their clients, she adds, are those who want to customise their gifts for the receiver.
The duo, who primarily accept orders through their Facebook page and usually tie-up with vendors, who create wacky products, such as personalised posters, mugs, hampers and kits. For instance, their Hangover Remedy Kit comprises lemons, Gatorade, an aspirin. The Homesickness Survival Kit (popular with those going abroad to study/work) has is stuffed with a ready-to-eat food packet of a desi dish, a DVD of a cult Bollywood film, local chocolates (like Poppins, Kismi, Melody and so on) and postcards. The duo also offer The Happiness Kit, The Romance Kit, The Break-up Survival Kit and The Marriage Survival Kit.
“Our clients usually talk/write to us with the kind of gift they want. Then, we discuss the passions and preferences of the gift’s receiver and the budget of the gift, to come up with the ideal, personalised gift for their loved one. There was one instance when a customer wanted something specific for his French friend. Solani says, “We organised a two-hour heritage walk around South Mumbai, and then created a Mumbai-centric hamper that included a coffee table book on Mumbai, postcards that showed how the city looked 100 years ago, a t-shirt with a map of the city and coasters that depicted life in the city. The foreigner loved it so much that he ordered five such hampers for his friends to take home.”
Commenting on their future plans, Solani says, “We plan to add tons of experiences that can be gifted rather than just buying things off the shelf. Though we are operational primarily in Mumbai as of now, we hope to reach other parts of India soon, and of course, add more to the product kitty.”