GloalfashionStreet brings you an exclusive with Kiran Sharma, the pioneer behind Bride n Groom Exhibition.
The name needs no introduction. A pioneer in the field of wedding exhibitions industry, KIran Sharma has been hugely instrumental in channelizing this unorganised sector. She started with the idea of bringing wedding trousseau solutions under one roof, thus giving a facelift to the couture industry of India. A recipient of many awards for her contribution to the field, Sharma is also actively involved with the FICCI Ladies Association.
Caught at the recently concluded Bride & Groom Exhibition 2016 at The Grand in the capital, we bring you excerpts from the interview…
Bride and Groom Exhibition is the pioneer of wedding exhibition industry. Tell us about the changes that you have seen in the industry, in all these years.
The industry has grown enormously and people are just crazy about fashion and style when it comes to wedding, so the industry has only seen a good growth pattern over the years. A lot of people have also forayed into this business owing to the market’s recognition of wedding exhibitions as an enterprising opportunity.
How did the idea of starting a wedding exhibition take place, considering that was the time when there was nothing of that sort happening in the country?
In the year 1995, I started with only Jewellery Shows which was quite enticing for women, considering jewellery was taken not only as a splurge but also an investment. There wasn’t much of an excitement to the whole concept. In the year 2000 when my daughter passed from her college she got interested in working with me and that’s when she initiated the idea of introducing fashion & Style for the Wedding industry.
There were very limited renowned Fashion Designers in the industry to start with and it was like a boom for everyone. Fashion for exhibition got people visiting us in herds! Right from the visitors to exhibitors, all were very happy about the concept. Since then, there’s been no looking back.
So, how has the journey been since then?
The first exhibition happened in Pragati Maidan and it was a huge area but had its own limitations in terms of formalities, walking distance and especially the backdrops and layouts that we wanted to create keeping in mind the grandeur of Bride & Groom Exhibition. Then we thought about moving to a five star hotel. So, the next year we moved to Le Meridian and after that for a couple of years we exhibited at The Taj, till the hotel decided to not have any public walk-ins. They wanted us to have an ‘Only by Invitation’ event, which was not our target at all.
So, then I moved to Ashoka Hotel in 2007, a time when none of the clientele wanted to visit the government owned hotel and it wasn’t a prime property either! But they had this huge exhibition area which suited us very well. Our Exhibition was very famous and it instantly put Ashoka Hotel in the limelight. After that followed the others for exhibitions in the industry. And today, Ashoka Hotel is the prime hub for all up market exhibitions!
Now that a lot of exclusive wedding exhibitions have mushroomed up, how do you maintain your USP?
Healthy competition is very good because monopoly in the market restrains growth, for one’s self and industry both. I enjoy this work, in terms of the challenges it is offering us today. At my age, to be able to do show of this calibre, it’s only motivating!
At this moment, I feel it is the most difficult phase of this industry. Almost everyone who has some contacts is getting into organising an exhibition. Whenever mushrooming comes, it also subsides in sometime. Of course, it affects the market financially but that doesn’t deter me. I would want to go slow and consistent at this time. Sustenance is the key. I would rather wait and watch the tide. Our biggest strength has been consistency over all these years.
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