New-Age Entrepreneurs Ishaan And Neha Suri Break Down The Luxury Wedding Marketby | April 11, 2019
Ten minutes with Ishaan and Neha Suri, the creative duo behind the wedding photography brand Artfoto Studios, and you know why their weddings look unlike any other. Founded in 2013, Artfoto's personalised service, bespoke clientele, and signature editorials have made it one of the most sought-after wedding photography companies today. Whether it's organising a private proposal for a prospective groom or documenting a three-day destination wedding in 45 minutes, Ishaan and Neha know exactly what their clients want.
But that's not the only feather in their cap. In 2018, Ishaan and Neha set up a new brand management and marketing agency called 1010 Creative that creates strategic visuals and premium content for brands across the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries. From conceptualising and executing Gaurav Gupta's Instagram-shattering store launch last year (Imran Amed was present along with other bigwigs) to shooting 150 couture garments in a day to create content that lasts three months, 1010 creative does it all.
We got together with the founders to talk weddings, digital marketing, and what's next for the new-age entrepreneurs.
Luxeva: How do you think the wedding industry has evolved in the last 5 to 10 years?
Ishaan Suri: “The wedding industry is huge. We’re currently a three billion dollar industry in India. In the last six years, what we saw were simple people getting used to the idea of publicly displaying or documenting their wedding and spending money on experiences to celebrate their wedding, that, of course, includes entertainment, food and more. Today, I firmly believe that weddings are going to slow down. People are looking for professionals who can provide something different, something exclusive, something that they’re willing to spend on, not because it's a luxury, but because it’ll last them a lifetime.”
Neha Suri: “Our clients are all independent, strong individuals, and they have their own ideas, which they want to portray through their wedding. It’s not dictated by money.”
Luxeva: Who is your client? Are you very selective?
Ishaan Suri: “Our biggest struggle for the last six years has been figuring out where we exist in this ecosystem. The bottom line is that a wedding has nothing to do with being married. Finding a couple that is willing to invest their time, energy, and their life in putting together a tailored event where people can come celebrate their togetherness, and that is willing to be a part of every little guest experience, that’s the greatest challenge. And we especially choose to service people who come in through referrals or from the same circles. That way we know we're on the same page, and we can service them better.”
Luxeva: You mentioned that weddings have now changed, they’ve gone beyond the rituals. Do any, in particular, come to mind?
Neha Suri: “We just did a wedding where the couple exchanged garlands, had a registration, and that’s it. But, on the third day of the wedding, they had a pyjama party at the Taj hotel in Mumbai for their friends. There were 150 youngsters—they had a sit-down dinner, speeches, games, and it was just one big party. They even organised customised nightwear for everyone. And that’s the thing; the idea of a wedding is no longer restricted to a mehendi, a sangeet, and a wedding. Everything is now being customised. People are still doing elaborate things, but the ones that are doing it are doing it because it means something to them. And they’re not doing it for social media, they’re doing it for themselves.”
Luxeva: There are lots of wedding photographers and filmmakers out there. How does Artfoto differ from those?
Neha Suri: “So, we’ve just started a new property called ‘Moments Of Love’. It’s basically 15 or 20 seconds of video from the wedding that contains special moments, which weren't included in the main wedding film.”
Ishaan Suri: “Apart from the regular wedding videos and conversations, our clients keep getting these Easter egg surprises from us till about six months after the wedding. It’s not part of our deliverable to them, but stuff keeps coming up because there is so much happening at a wedding. When you have 200 people together in one place, there’s a lot of love and chemistry being shared. And what we’ve realised is that more than watching themselves walking down the aisle, people like to see themselves sharing a laugh with their best bridegroom or best bridesmaid.”
Luxeva: How difficult is it to pull off a destination wedding? On a scale of 1 to 10?
Ishaan Suri: “10. [laughs] People want to go to a destination to be under one roof, to be together. They want to be with 200 people 24/7 because they want to enjoy every minute of those three days. And for us it means content coming in 24/7. We’re a content-driven company, and we love to work for people who can proactively give us content. People who can emote, who can talk, who can dance, and who can do things that aren’t instigated. That’s why destination weddings are so tough because there is so much content and there are so many stories. You need to keep your eyes and ears open at all times, and your imagination just runs wild.”
Luxeva: What about the process? Doesn’t that make it more difficult?
Ishaan Suri: “Yes, of course. The thing is, we don’t really know these people. All of a sudden you’re allowed to be a part of someone else’s universe for three days. And in those three days, you need to get to know everyone, their friends, where they came from, what’s their relationship, because when we go back to the office to tell that story, we can’t deliver timeless, lifelong content if we don’t know what their life is about. Non-destination weddings that way are easier because you’re with the family for only six hours because that's the amount of time they're spending with each other as well.”
Luxeva: What’s the upside?
Neha Suri: “The relationship that you build with them after staying with them makes it easier, from the storytelling perspective. Because I know their story by the end of it. I know what they’re about, and it’s easier to direct that film because I’ve spent so much time with them.”
Ishaan Suri: “We did a whole experience for one of my bride’s brothers so that he could propose to his girlfriend. We planned the entire thing, with 150 people, scripted it, pre-recorded some parts, produced it, everything from start to finish. We set up this old-theatre in his backyard, she came in, sat down, and we started. In the end, he tore the screen and stepped out, proposed to her. That memory is burned into my brain because I was a part of that, and I helped make that happen. Being able to be a part of something like that comes from a relationship, it comes from spending three days with his family in Manesar.”
Luxeva: So, how did 1010 Creative happen?
Ishaan Suri: “1010 was started out of the need for clarity of service. I love weddings, but I also love the editorial side, and I always wanted to get into the fashion, luxury, and lifestyle product space. Because of that, we started doing a lot of brand work. When it comes to brands, like brides and grooms, you need to be a part of their world. So, whether we’re working with Raghavendra Rathore or Gaurav Gupta, they trust us because they know that we understand their brand. There was also the fact that a lot of the couples that we had worked with were coming to us to create content for new businesses they had started, and wanted us to help them grow their business.”
Luxeva: Do you think your experience with Artfoto has helped with the kind of work you’re doing for 1010 Creative?
Ishaan Suri: “Yes. Because we were trained to work in the premium, personalised wedding market, we’re able to deliver high-quality work to brands at a tenth of the cost. Plus, we have the manpower to pull it off. We do everything under one roof, and yes, there are many other agencies who do that, but we do it in our way and with brands who trust us.”
Neha Suri: “And now, with Instagram, the way you create content is also different. You no longer do big budget campaign shoots, because that content barely has any shelf life. Luxury brands no longer want content that lasts for the whole season, they want new content every day. And that’s our strength. There’s a need for bulk content in the luxury market, and we fulfil that.”
Luxeva: Any project that 1010 Creative was a part of that stands out?
Ishaan Suri: “We had our first big international breakthrough last month when we were brought on board as the content packaging team for the launch event of Ralph Lauren in India. That was a big win for us. PR Pundit made the introduction because we had worked together for Gaurav Gupta’s store launch at The Qla, and that event got a lot of eyeballs. Ralph Lauren then asked us to send them our profile. That profile then went to Hong Kong, then New York, and then we got a go-ahead from Ralph Lauren global to be a part of their launch. That was the real winner.”
Luxeva: What’s in the pipeline now?
Ishaan Suri: “This year is big for us. We’re regrouping, restructuring, and we now have a new office, a new team, so there’s a lot. We are making our wedding product even more focussed and more exclusive. We really want to produce more powerful content instead of volume content. As far as 1010 is concerned, we’re working with clients from the luxury apparel industry, food, luxury accessories, jewellery, and lots more.”
Featured Image: Arrtfoto Studios and 1010 Creative