Beauty With Brains - Sukhmani Singh Gandhi

Married and moved to Hyderabad about a year ago, Sukhmani Singh Gandhi has already found a footing in the city. A creative, driven, and analytical lady, Sukhmani is a founder of Ciconia, a retail platform that carries a wide range of customized and luxurious gifts. She describes her husband as a missing piece of her puzzle, who completes her. Read more to know about her.
 
Tell us about yourself…
In May 2016, I graduated from the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University Bloomington) with a degree in Information Systems. My passion for analytics led me to graduate school, where I specialized in business analytics and intelligence.
 
I come from a diverse background where I have met people from different cultures, interests and passions – I love making new friends! I also enjoy travelling and have travelled extensively across the world. My diverse experiences, along with strong education and values, motivate me to learn from each interaction and always to put my best foot forward. I have the drive to succeed and a desire to surround myself with positive and motivated individuals who share similar values while giving back to the community. 
 
You’ve recently started your own company…
My love for exquisite products and passion for technology gave birth to my baby company Ciconia. I was motivated to make a website which was customer-friendly while luxurious for gifting. I also wanted to help those with a talent to show off their products on a website like never before – making it easier for all vendors to display their products on my portalexclusively.
 
After having been a part of multiple Women’s Inspiration Networks, I was convinced that India requires a platform where creative entrepreneurs, especially women, needed to be highlighted. Hence, the birth of Ciconia.
Could you tell us more about your vision?
I want to help the vendors understand the Indian gifting market to such an extent that they can predict the next best product for the ease of their customers. Along with such powerful Artificial Intelligence built on the platform, I want to root Ciconia as a sustainable brand and give back to the Indian society while putting smiles on people’s faces one door at a time. Right now, we are working on bringing in more vendors who can represent our brand and be a part of our culture.
 
Using the symbolism of the white stork (Ciconia bird), bringing a baby hanging from their beak, our company logo depicts the mystical bird delivering gifts to your loved ones. This logo is a metaphor for our company’s motherly care, careful thought behind every product, and a promise of elevating the celebration of happy times.
 
By qualification, you’re a Marketing Cloud Developer and Architect. What exactly does that profile entail?
The job is to automate the marketing technologies of brands. I’ve worked for 500 brands, designing their marketing journeys and interactions with customers, be it emails, texts or even social media. I was handling about 100 million records of customers and how each of them received the company’s marketing communications/campaigns.
 
You come from a big business family in Delhi. Did you ever think of joining it?
I hail from a family of jewellers that have been in business since Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s era. Both my parents have made an empire of the 50+ years old company Motiwala & Sons. My father started working at the age of 14, helping my grandfather sell precious stones and pearls. Thanks to which he has vast knowledge, so he ensured that all his children learnt Diamond Grading – GIA and hence, I am also a certified diamond grader. As enlightened as I am, to learn more from him, my passion for technology led me to code my website where I can take his well-known company to new heights.
 
Relatively newly married into a big joint family. How do you balance your work and personal life?
My in-laws are very supportive of my work ethics; they have always been there to support me. The move from a company in the USA to starting up my own venture could have been very tough – especially given the long hours, yet, they made it so simple. My mother-in-law is my Angel Advisor who steps up whenever I run into a halt, my sister-in-law is the most creative person I’ve ever met – and she’s joined me in this, too. They make it extremely simple for me. I am blessed.
 
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Five years from now, I see myself representing Indian women professionally while giving back to the education system and creating more jobs. I see myself doing exhibitions all over the globe, taking products from our Bharat and showing them off. I want to help automate my father’s and husband’s business while helping other vendors grow by using artificial intelligence.
 
At the same time, I do want to grow personally – while travelling more, meditating, learning new and exciting things – like ice-skating with my star husband. I also want to pursue a PhD in Marketing Analytics and write my own views on how technology can be optimized for consumers.                – as told to Anahita