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The Future Of Exhibitions Is Amalgamation Of Virtual-Physical: Dhruv Gurwara, Bridal Asia

The exhibition brings together a curated list of designers and jewellers from across the country on one platform, to make shopping for weddings a hassle-free activity informs Dhruv Gurwara, Creative Director, Bridal Asia.

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The wedding and trousseau exhibition industry has taken a major hit with the pandemic. Transitioning to a virtual environment with live interactions between designers and clients, is the only way forward, says Dhruv Gurwara, Creative Director of Bridal Asia, in an exclusive chat with BW Applause & Everything Experiential.

Excerpts:

Please tell us about the inception of Bridal Asia and its expansion over the years.

The Bridal Asia exhibition began in 1999. It was the brainchild of my mother, Divya Kapoor Gurwara. The idea came about in 1997 when my mother visited an exhibition in London. We wanted to bring together a curated list of designers and jewellers from across the country on one platform, to make shopping for weddings a hassle-free activity.

What are some innovative ideas that you brought in to ensure effective progress?

I joined the project in the year 2010. My first initiative after coming on board was launching us on digital and social media platforms. In 2015, we hosted our first show in Mumbai. The show was a tremendous success and became part of our annual calendar. We have also launched two summer shows in Mumbai and Delhi, to cater specifically to summer and destination weddings. 

Do you believe that diversification of an existing business model is the secret to long-term and sustained success?

The industry is ever-changing and it is important to be ahead of the curve. As experience providers, we have to constantly be aware of the pulse of the market, both of the consumers and sellers. Our business model is to bring the best designers and jewellers together for our clients. This is done in different ways - the on-ground show, social media, our magazine and through virtual platforms. All these channels complement each other, which helps in the overall brand visibility for us as well as our brand partners. 

How has the pandemic affected your business and the wedding trousseau industry in general? 

The pandemic hit India on the 5th of March 2020 and our physical exhibition in Delhi was scheduled for 15th March. Keeping everyone's safety in mind, we cancelled it and missed out on two shows in the winter season too. This is where diversification helped. With these unforeseen circumstances, we began to concentrate on our digital assets and hosted a one-of-a-kind virtual exhibition. The all-new virtual experience featured an option where brides-to-be could interact with brands in real-time. This maintained the integrity of our multi-brand exhibit while retaining the value of human-to-human contact. Further, it allowed brides from all parts of the country, as well as NRI clients, to experience Bridal Asia without the restraint of geographical boundaries. Its immense success has inspired me to make the virtual exhibitions a staple part of Bridal Asia along with physical exhibitions. These will bridge the gap between a global audience and participating brands, even in a post COVID world.

What measures have you adopted to meet the challenges brought on by the pandemic?

The period from March to July 2020 was a very uncertain time for the whole industry. However, as soon as restrictions were relaxed, we began to bounce back. Weddings started taking place on a much smaller scale. For trousseau outfits, I believe the market has contracted a little as the number of events and parties have reduced. However, as the size of weddings has reduced due to restrictions, everyone’s budgets have been readjusted. We have noted a rise in brides wanting to invest in expensive wedding jewellery and exclusive designer outfits.

What do you think is the future of the exhibition industry?

I believe that the future of the exhibition industry is the model we are currently following - an amalgamation of virtual and physical exhibitions. With the help of social media, brands can reach out to a global audience. However, in the bridal industry where one often invests in high-end clothes and jewellery, the 'touch and feel' experience is essential. Due to the pandemic, people shifted towards virtual shopping, however, I believe that soon things will balance out and our patrons will again be able to enjoy a fun, safe and immersive shopping experience

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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