The Weekend Leader - Sunny Singh and Cherry Saxena's 'Special You': A Journey to Rs 11 Crore in Three Years

How Two Friends Built a Rs 11 Crore Party Decor Business from a Rs 27,000 Investment

Shyla F   |  


Vol 15 | Issue 12

Two friends, Sunny Singh and Cherry Saxena who met at work, decided to start a business together after one of them organised a birthday party for the other and spotted a business opportunity.

Sunny and Cherry are the founders of ‘Special You’, a proprietorship firm, and they share a journey that nearly resembles a fairy tale.

Sunny Singh and Cherry Saxena launched Special You with Rs 27,000 in 2021 (Photos: Special Arrangement)

Launching their business with an initial investment of Rs 27,000 from Cherry’s home in January 2021, they have grown rapidly and achieved a turnover of Rs 11 crore in just three years.

Special You offers a wide range of party decoration and home décor items, including various backdrops, from curtains to wall decor, balloon pumps, LED lights, tapes, cake toppers, butterfly stickers, birthday banners, and balloons.

Their products are priced between Rs 200 and Rs 1200, with the average ticket size being Rs 600.

Sunny and Cherry, both 26 when they started Special You, were colleagues at a reinsurance company when the business idea took shape in 2021. On Cherry's birthday in January that year, Sunny planned a surprise party for her at her residence in Gurgaon.

"I wanted to create a memorable event with proper decorations. However, while searching for party supplies, I realised there wasn't a single store that offered all the items we needed under one roof," recalls Sunny, who had to visit multiple shops to find the right items.

The party however turned out into a big hit and also sowed the seed for ‘Special You.’ Sunny and Cherry dreamt of developing a one-stop platform for people to easily gather everything they needed to host a party and celebrate with their loved ones.

The business started from a room at Cherry's house

Despite the nation reeling under the impact of COVID lockdown, the duo went ahead with their plans to start their venture.

"If we think back to the lockdown period, it was a time when offline markets were shut, and the online market was flourishing in India. We registered the company in February 2021, kicked off operations in April 2021, and by October 2021, within just six months, we achieved a turnover exceeding Rs 1 crore,” shares Sunny.

“Our strategy was to sell theme-based kits for different events and occasions exclusively on Amazon and Flipkart. Later, we launched our website. Initially, we didn’t manufacture anything."

Initially, they sourced products from various markets in Delhi and even imported some from China, turning a room in Cherry's house into their office-cum-storehouse.

"We were doubling our growth, hitting a hundred percent increase every month. Last year, we reached a turnover of Rs 8 crore. In the current financial year, we have already touched Rs 11 crore," says Sunny.

But their journey wasn't without challenges. "As our business began to grow, we initially struggled with competitors copying our product designs. It got to the point where we had to start issuing legal notices to those copying our designs and images," explains Cherry.

"The second major hurdle was assembling a strong team. It was challenging to find the right candidates for the right roles at the right time. But now, with a team of 30 employees, we no longer see this as a challenge."

The duo didn't advertise for the first 18 months, relying solely on organic growth. "We began advertising only when we noticed that competitors were selling lower-quality imitations of our products. We turned to social media, Amazon, and Flipkart for a bit of advertising,” says Sunny.

Special You has grown into 30-member strong team

“We gained valuable insights from website analytics on preferences and aversions. Reading reviews was also insightful. I dedicated 3-4 hours every night to this, after finishing my office work." Recently, Special You appointed TV actress Prachi Desai as the face of their brand.

Starting with just 10 products, they have expanded their range to about 700 items now.

Their website now features 40-50 themes, catering to various occasions such as 6-month birthdays, marriage anniversaries, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, haldi and mehendi ceremonies, among others.

Currently, they produce 30-40% of their products through contract manufacturing, providing their own designs, purchase about 50% from Indian manufacturers, and import around 10% from China.

Both founders have put their past professional experience to good use in the venture.

Sunny started his first business, a BPO in Noida, during his final year of graduation. Despite investing Rs 2 lakh and breaking even after one and a half years, he closed it due to its non-scalable model.

He considered another startup but eventually joined IBM India in April 2020, working in IT support.

Cherry had completed a German language course alongside her graduation, and worked at Amazon for one and a half years, assisting German sellers with their claims.

Later, Sunny and Cherry both ended up at the reinsurance company, joining within a few months of each other.

Sunny manages the sales and marketing at Special You

At Special You, Cherry is the creative head of the company. Though she is not formally trained in design, she is creative at heart and comes up with new ideas and designs. Sunny, on the other hand, manages finance, sales, and marketing.

They began their operation from a room in Cherry's house, before moving to a larger space.

Initially, the team consisted of just Sunny and Cherry. The duo handled everything from packaging and design to accounting and coordinating with manufacturers in Delhi.

Their first employee was their domestic help, who did the packing work. Later, they hired freelancers for tasks like photo editing and website management.

Currently, they operate from a 1500 sq ft office in Faridabad, with a 20000 sq ft warehouse also located in Faridabad. Now, the company has grown to 30 employees

Nearly 80% of their business is generated through Amazon and Flipkart, while the remaining 20% comes from their own website. Their customers are mainly located in major cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai.

In the early days, they faced challenges in delivery. Customers would plan their parties in the last minute and place orders, but their products would not reach on time and angry customers would return their products.

Initially, they dispatched products from only Faridabad. They resolved the issue by using third-party warehouses in 10 states, including Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata, and Uttar Pradesh, which has made delivery anywhere in India possible within three days.

The founder-duo is focusing on expanding the business

Sunny's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is, "If you feel the entrepreneurship bug within you, you should try it instead of facing a lifetime of regret. However, remember it won't be easy, and giving up should never be an option. Challenges will arise, but overcoming them is what business is all about. It's about problem-solving and moving forward."

As the company is still in its early stages, Cherry and Sunny hardly find time to relax. Nevertheless, every two to three months, Sunny takes a trip to his favourite destination to unwind. Cherry has a passion for learning foreign languages and is learning Chinese these days in her free time. -©TWL

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