Imagine buying a gift, that meets your myriad specifications, and turns out to be that most special one — also one you didn’t choose? Puzzled? That’s because thanks to Manan Sharma, managing director, IndianGiftsPortal.com, a discovery tool that customises the most personal gifting is up the anvil, ready to be launched. But that’s just the tip of Sharma’s gifting universe… as he also reveals trends like diva Deepika Padukone features top-most on IGP’s list of giftees!
Intrinsic to human nature, and encompassing a wealth of emotions, this Mumbai-born, Lucknow-raised management mind has made gifting his motto while juggling yoga practice in its true essence.
Today, igp.com has skyrocketed the essence of gifting with the portal completing 1,00,000 daily visits, one million daily views and 10,000 daily orders with Rakhi seeing them on top. This undisputed czar of gifting crunches numbers by day, and by night too, it seems.
“Deepika Padukone and Salman Khan are the top celebrities that fans gift to through our site!” he reveals. How that works in real time we ask? “We get a lot of requests for gifts for Deepika and Salman Khan, cakes, flowers, etc and the IGP office delivers them, it’s simple,” explains Sharma.
He shuttles between his seven offices across India and Los Angeles, and is currently working with his able-bodied team of master craftsmen — his brother Pranav Sharma, Rahul Garg, CEO from IIT Mumbai and Tarun Joshi, CFO, from ISB Hyderabad to perfect the gifting ritual.
There is also a more spiritual side to Manan that he prefers not talking about, because otherwise, his Lucknavi andaaz and irreverent sense of humour go hand in hand with his proclivity to see humour in life’s frailties! Yes, quite the talker, his offices have a motley crew with pizza slices passed around, techies sprawled, and Sharma finding laughter amidst number crunching and humility.
“Running a team in today’s fast-paced world requires humanity and discipline, and yoga taught me that. I did my masters in human consciousness in Yogic Sciences from Lucknow University, and it’s become a part of my life in a very personal sense. Learning philosophy, anatomy, life in terms of yoga, helps one understand the human psyche,” explains the father of two girls, Kyna and Kasha, and who’s wife Pooja is the go-between his site and what the consumer would like to see, “Yes, she helps understand the consumer psyche, given that she is the typical target we cater to,” he adds.
Yet, this meteoric rise for the Math Honours student from Aligarh Muslim University who went to Amity Business School for a management degree in marketing and finance started when he became the first employee of IndiaMart.com and promptly assistant vice-president sales in record time. He then started his dream gifting portal IGP as a partnership with the parent company in 2001.
Not many know that he was an extraordinary sportsman in his younger days. “I played national level football as a centre forward. In school, I was the athletic champion, and my best was in the district triple jump,” he recalls.
With his father, who was in the IAS, and his mother, a housewife, the Sharma family was posted to Lucknow and it became his home. He still cherishes the lessons his father taught him, and how his dad’s honesty and purity of purpose are what guide him, even today, “I got a poetic biography of my dad’s — a kavya rachna — Pag Badhey, Shank Bajjay printed. It was written by a poet who had admired my father’s work ethic and honesty,” he says.
“We also travel within India to source gifts. For instance, for Rakhi we sourced different rakhis from over 80 karigars, with 1,000 rakhis in zari, kundan, gold, pearl, and our most recent, with semi precious stones, our conversion rate is more than 10 per cent of visitors,” explains the ‘Rakhi’ing czar .
He recently opened an office in Bengaluru and loves coming to the city, as he feels the vibe is wonderful and youthful. Of course, not to mention his particular love for good food (the famed thali at Nagarjuna and ghee roast), and great friends....