December is probably the most exciting time of the year for all, for Dottedi as well. Each year we try to make Christmas as special as possible. 2019 being our 10th Year Anniversary, we knew we had to do something super cool that people will remember; And guess what… we did! We collaborated with Radio One 94.3 in Bangalore to spread the joy of the holiday season across the city. Santa & his Elf were ready to travel throughout the city giving gifts, playing games & singing Christmas carols. But… in this modern age, Santa needed a modified sleigh that would help him venture the city. So, we built him one! Check it out!
From the 16th to the 20th December, we ventured around the hotspots of Bangalore. Check out the below videos of the 1st and 2nd day of our campaign.
Seeing Santa on the streets helped us put a lot of smiles on people’s faces. We also visited the RMZ Galleria Mall and had a blast playing fun games with shoppers, especially the kids.
Interview with Radio 104 – Super Start-Up
Naadia Mirza, Founder & Director of Dottedi was featured on Radio One’s show called ‘Super Start-Up’. Below you can find the complete interview.
Host: This is the superhero show! Every Wednesday we feature an incredible start-up to take us through their journey of what it has been like, where they were when they started, to where they are right now. On the show with me today, is the Founder & Director of Dottedi. What exactly is Dottedi and what does their tagline ‘make it amazing’ mean? To tell us all about it, Naadia Mirza! Welcome to fever 104, it’s lovely seeing you here!
Naadia: Hi! It’s really nice to be here! Thank you so much!
Host: So… Dottedi, make it amazing; what exactly does Dottedi do Naadia?
Naadia: Well, today I can say that we plan surprises and make people happy; That’s the whole idea. So, what we do in a nutshell – We plan surprises, experiences, we have an e-commerce channel, and it all seems good, but it all started off with just an idea at which everyone laughed at! Everyone!
Host: So where did the journey start?
Naadia: We’re talking about the journey starting ten years ago, when e-commerce was not even heard of. I do come from a business family, but I was very clear that I want to be in the corporate world. So I worked for a corporate; I’m very happy I did because I think I learnt a lot of discipline & how to pick things process based.
Just to give you an idea, I’ve always been the person who has planned surprises, from a very young age.
Host: You were that person!
Naadia: Yes, I was that person.
Host: Who everyone relied on…
Naadia: You want an idea? Go to Naadia. You want something done? Go to Naadia. You want a crazy idea! Go to Naadia. So right from school to college fests, I’ve always been that person. I think once I also won the award for the worst idea, so it is to that extent that my friends used to laugh at me. But I’ve always been the quirky kind. So if someone doesn’t like eggs and you want to hate them, take a marker and write on them, ‘All hate messages on the egg’. So it is like an egg hater. It started off from these fun small ideas; Planning gifts and surprises for boyfriends, until at one point I was planning 30-40 surprises, free of cost for all my friends, their friends, random friends, bachelorettes, everything was on me! I was like, dude! I’m turning this into a business! Dottedi is basically another way of saying perfection. Today whenever I hire and people come in, I’m looking for passionate people. Someone who understands that it’s not just the gift and the money, but it’s what goes into it. So whether we pick up the phone, you’ll see all our collaterals, it’s all about pulling up your socks, feeling for the other person and making it amazing!
Host: Absolutely! Wow! So Naadia when you say you plan surprises and you give out people experiences, what are we talking about here? Are there any specialities that Dottedi has grown into over the years?
Naadia: Well, let’s just put it in this way, whether it is a small token of appreciation or it’s an over the top surprise, it is all about that emotion. So we've been able to target the audience & understand the consumer. So say you just want to tell your wife, ‘I love you’. That's just common emotion right; People say it all the time. But do we actually do that? Like, I don't know that. But I feel that 90% of the Indian population doesn’t. One of my fastest sellers is the ‘Hundred Reasons Why I Love You Bucket’. It's tried-and-tested across ten thousand men. Always works! The wife thinks that he's hand-written the reasons. We know that we we’ve written common reasons which they love, and he earns his brownie points.
Host: You’re on my speed dial from today. This is really so cute and so very thoughtful and you make the husband look like a Rockstar! So it's a personal note that you end up writing for them?
Naadia: We basically write 99 notes for him and we leave one blank. So we test the man as well, we tell him to fill it up. But I've had men who actually haven't filled it up and then when their wife asked him, why is this blank? Because I'm like a blank canvas and You fill it up for me!
Host: So do you have top three experiences that you have presented that you're really proud? There must be plenty of high-profile individuals who are your clientele, there must be some amazing experiences that you must have put together. But if I were to say top 3, what comes to your mind?
Naadia: Top 3 that come to my mind, is last for Christmas so we did the BIL airport, where we put up a 40 feet Christmas tree.
Host: That was you!
Naadia: Yes, that was us & it was super challenging! It looked like New York boxes out there and I think that was my turning point where I realize that wow! We can actually make a difference and that was… that was just beautiful. I think more than just the work. I was satisfied to see people's faces when you’re standing here and you see so many people look at it, children running around…
Host: How many Instagram posts from the airport!
Naadia: A lot a lot! and that’s when I realised that this has scale, & we did. Another thing that really touched my heart is about 4 years ago, ‘A hundred reasons why I love you’ stems from me writing notes to my current husband. We started with glass jars and tins. Our first break was ten thousand of these buckets across all the coffee day channels; And for me ‘A hundred reasons why I love you’ is still my top most selling gift. Though it might be cheesy, if you don't suggest love and you don't share love, what's the point of saying I loved her but I forgot to mention it.
Host: That’s such a cute story!
Naadia: It's definitely close to my heart. And of course, the other experience that we've done is an OTT party. OTT, meaning over the top and when I say we went over the top, we actually had an ostrich bring the cake over.
Naadia: Yeah! So that was super cool, I cannot mention name because yes, the client was high-profile, but we did go all out when they said OTT; The man, it was his 50th birthday and…
Host: It had to be over the top.
Naadia: Yes! It was over the top!
Host: And more than anything, I must say what I love about you guys, is how you make my occasion your occasion. You actually take the trouble of understanding what the client needs and this could be the most important day of their life; But now once they reach out to you, it becomes the most important day of your life as well.
Naadia: That's important. Because I think for any business to function you need heart and without heart there is no business. When I started I was a One Man Army. Literally I was the accountant, the officer, the operational lead, everybody. But the team that struck around and how we’ve grown, is people who work for me also have a lot of art, in fact they are the decision makers. The first thing I give them is a book called Maverick. Because I feel the more you give some and responsibilities, you see results. It took a lot to understand cash flow, because I come from a creative background but today I know that with the business working and is cash flow positive, you don't need unnecessary spends and you cannot be penny wise pound foolish.
Naadia: So from a business perspective if you are here for the long run it's very important to understand what is working what is not; And I am very emotional but it has taken a full journey, along with my husband who is hard core into accounting and has at least sat down and said, this is working, this is not and we constantly have the dilemma of should we pull this product off. But now apart from me, there is a proper team taking decisions on stuff.
Host: Which brings me to the question, what are some of the biggest challenges that you face? I mean, you’re in the event space. You come up with experiences, so anything can go wrong.
Naadia: So, number 1 we don't call ourselves event managers. We consider ourselves event designers. The biggest challenge actually, is trying to make people understand that there’s a lot of difference; Difference in price, difference in working style and so on. A lot of times because it's a creative field you’re putting a figure to it. People who don't know what goes into it, they’ll be like it's just a surprise we can also do it. At one point we were just an idea house where the people used to call us, but the idea never converted but today people know that it's not just how it’s done but the whole execution process. That took a long time for people to even understand what a surprise from changing the mind set to just gifting a bunch of flowers and a bakery cake to a theme-based concept.
Host: Naadia, you been part of the industry for a really long time to earn yourself that street cred and I must congratulate you on the journey so far. It hasn’t been easy, but the kind of stories that you took us over, we’d like to know the story behind the name ‘Dottedi’ what does the ‘i’ actually stand for?
Naadia: This stems from you cross your T's and dot your i’s, which is another way of saying perfection. I must say as much as I hate admitting it but I am a perfectionist, I do have a little bit of borderline OCD; That is where Dottedi stems from.
Host: This must be the busiest month for you guys right?
Naadia: It is, Christmas is my favourite and I sleep bout 4 hours, my phone rings constantly, I try putting more processes in place but I have four operation managers who are constantly on Instagram and WhatsApp saying ma’am when is our break! So, we can't complain, we love it and ever since we tied up with your channel we’re getting a huge amount of response. I think we were always there, but this is our year where Scale up has happened and I am happy because it is silver lining because the journey has not been easy. People think in entrepreneurship she is probably printing money, man I wish it was like that because the end of the tunnel you need to pay all the bills and only then comes your turn. I would love for that day when I can sit back at 6 o'clock in office & close soon after, but I’ve never been there yet. It has been round the clock but it’s that Adrenaline Rush that you know, so till date when we get an order on a website we have in SMS which goes out to five people and the message says, “Pull up your socks. Make the day special for the other person.” This is our branding that happens internally because I feel unless you feel it as you said you are not going to be able to make someone else feel special.
Host: Lots of young entrepreneurs who are tuned in, who wish to start their own business, what would your advice be to them?
Naadia: Well I think the first thing is a don't be brash, be humane, because it’s very important to understand that as much as it is your dream, it is going to take time. In operational, keep your finances and overheads low. People like to go all out but you haven't seen the other side of the curve and most importantly when you’re being an entrepreneur the journey is not easy. But don’t be afraid to give it a shot. And don’t forget to give back to the society, that’s the most important. If somebody is giving you that break, it’s all karma. So I’m very glad that somebody gave me my break. And… it’s important; When you get your break, give back to society. It’s all a circle, and of course being in the season of Christmas, it’s all about giving. It’s all just one rule guys; If you give, you don’t know where it’s going to come back from and I think that’s how the universe works.