Surprise Central – Challenging ideas
Have you ever wanted to surprise someone but didn’t have an idea on how to go about it? Either you didn’t know how to, didn’t have the time to plan an elaborate one, or maybe you just ran out of ideas. In this “outsource-everything” world, you can surprise someone by outsourcing your surprise. This is where Chennai-based startup Surprise Machi comes into the picture.
The process of planning a surprise with Surprise Machi is simple. All you have to do is to visit its website, share your occasion, interests of the person you want to surprise, and your budget. And Surprise Machi will do the rest. The startup does not believe in selling the usual ideas or gifts to surprise someone, its USP is 100 percent customised ideas. What makes it different from others is that it sells surprises along with gifts.
Bhagya Prabhu, who worked in advertising prior to starting up, had toyed with the idea of starting a portal for surprises. It materialized when she found similar interests in her friend Shahul Hameed. Shahul, who was working as a data analyst in Dubai, left his job and settled in Chennai to support the startup. It also has a personal adviser Shahul Ahmed who has been working with them right from the beginning. Bhagya has a background in Visual Communication and her creativity helped with Surprise Machi as well as in planning the surprises.
The main challenge for the team at the initial stage was to convince those skeptical about the idea. “It was also challenging to take up something like this along with the job. Immediately after they saw how the people welcomed this idea, they were convinced,” says Bhagya. Bhagya adds that when they started Surprise Machi in July 2016, their competitors were repeating a set of surprises. But Bhagya and her team were determined to separate themselves from their competitors.
Surprise Machi soon caught the attention of its customers with unique ideas and ways of presenting them. So it came as no surprise that the startup’s videos went viral in social media. From a Harry Porter themed surprise to a simple proposal, they have done it all to make clients happy. Depending on customers’ interests, Surprise Machi arranges to sing their favorite songs, dance, and helps propose in a fairy tale or filmy style. It also offers customized portraits.
There is no setlist available with Surprise Machi, as all surprises are completely customized. It gets most of its customers from social media, especially from Facebook where it has a good reach. One of its videos crossed more than a million views on Facebook, the first video that is posted.