Weddings have always been an important part of our culture with many traditions surrounding the ceremony. Millennials, however, are breaking away from these traditions and re-defining how marriage ceremonies are conducted. From planning beach weddings in the daytime to throwing theme based bridal showers, millennials are adopting ways of making weddings their own. This also means that the millennials are not afraid of asking what they want.
It is with this mindset that the two young entrepreneurs Kashaf and Shafaq began their startup “Just Because” – a gift registry platform that aims to transform the concept of exchanging gifts. “Its okay to tell people what you want for your wedding because they will spend money regardless”, say Kashaf and Shafaq, the twenty-something Masters in Finance from Sabanci University and Co-Founders of Just Because. The idea first struck when Shafaq was getting married in the winter of 2014. Stuck between relatives asking her what she wanted as a wedding present and the fear of “what will people say” if she actually expressed, Shafaq was introduced to a wedding registry service by her family and friends living in the US. She and her husband made their dream list of what they would like to receive as a wedding present and it included everything from a coffee machine and PS4 to household items that they wanted but knew would never buy themselves.
While Shafaq and her husband were spared being given toasters and crockery they would never use, everyone is not as lucky. The idea of a wedding registry isn’t a new one in the west, but it remains somewhat alien in Pakistan. These young entrepreneurs have long been working to create a platform for new couples to express what they want. The co-founders of Just Because have been collecting data for over a year on different platforms, including their facebook page Shadi and All That, to truly understand what young couples want for their wedding and the problems they face when it comes to vendors, venue, photographers, and anything related to planning a wedding. According to their research, millennials cherish experiences just as much as they do gifts. Just Because offers young couples not only a wedding registry service where they can create their own wishlist, but also allows friends and family to gift “experiences”, such as local crabbing trips, and contribute to a cash-fund set up by the couple, such as a “Honeymoon Fund” or “Home Improvement Fund”.
Currently incubated at The Nest I/O, they launched their website a month back and already have traffic of over 200 visitors per day. The very first customer to register was Kashaf herself who is getting married this month. She has created her dream wedding wishlist and all her friends and family are using this platform to buy this young couple presents that they really want. The registration is currently free for couples and the founders intend to keep it that way. Another feature that will soon be added to the website is of a “personal assistant” who will be able to guide the couples in setting up their wishlist and even adding customized items/experiences as needed.
This duo of former investment bankers have a lot more in mind than just a wedding registry. According to their calculations based on Nielson Fact Book, over 66,000 weddings take place in Karachi alone just in the upper strata of the society. Their aim is to become the “go-to” platform for buying wedding presents. “We don’t want to limit ourselves to just weddings”, says Kashaf, “We want to move into birthdays, baby showers, and other celebrated life events as we grow”. But for now, they are determined to become the Next-Big-Thing in the local wedding industry.