Life, as they say, is no picnic – which is exactly why we should all be having a lot more picnics.
Nothing beats lolling on the grass while enjoying a chilled glass of bubbles and delicious food, and just relaxing with your loved one(s).
Picneeds strives to do just that for you – and it goes beyond the typical East Coast variety that involve plastic mats and fried bee hoon with chicken nuggets. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that though.)
But picture this instead: bespoke picnics that let you dine in style, while someone else takes care of the logistics for you.
Started by married couple Khairul Amri Mohd Sidik (29) and Siti Nadzirah Hassan (24), Picneeds is an on-demand picnic-planning service that promises to cater to your every whim and fancy – as long as it’s within reason.
The duo will conceptualise your event, set up the space, deliver the food, and even help to clean up after you’re done.
Inspired In Sri Lanka
According to Khairul, both of them have been “avid picnickers” even before the launch of Picneeds, which was established in the second half of 2014.
Nadzirah, in particular, loved setting up her own picnics.
Instead of paper plates, she made an effort to bring ceramic plates; and even swapped tacky plastic sheets for nicer-looking mats.
“She loves putting attention to detail to these sessions, especially when celebrating occasions for loved ones,” said Khairul.
“The amount of effort needed is very underrated and we thought to ourselves: why not provide a magical experience for others, especially in this day and age where there just aren’t enough hours in a day?”
He added that back then, the picnic service market were not very saturated. While there were a few direct competitors, they weren’t operating on a very frequent and sustained basis.
“We went into it in 2014 with the aim of making it full-time one day, but we just didn’t know when. In November 2015, when I went to Sri Lanka for a solo trip, I was just inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of certain individuals and how they went about their lives, plying their trade despite it bringing them very low returns.”
At that time, Picneeds was beginning to see a promising rise in demand, so Khairul took a leap of faith and tendered his resignation from his writing job almost immediately that week.
The Dream Team
However, Nadzirah aggressively objected to him being his own boss.
They were in the middle of planning for their wedding back then, and she was concerned about their finances because they have yet to “amass a lifetime worth of savings”.
Despite her objections, Khairul still went ahead and ran the business full-time alone in December 2015.
Nonetheless, his wife helped him all the same. After she knocked off from work, she would head over to wherever Khairul was and lend him a helping hand.
They would finish at 3am, and she would catch a short nap before heading out to work again.
It was exhausting for both parties, so Nadzirah eventually decided to quit her civil service job after a year to help out her husband and run the business together.
Khairul described Nadzirah as the creative force – he felt that the business could only work if he had her on board.
“At the start, if we couldn’t do it together, we wouldn’t take up the job. So we were limited as such,” lamented Khairul.
When asked on how it’s like to work with a married partner, Khairul said: “Being in business with your partner is a wonderful thing. We can resolve arguments and neutralise tensions at work without any words – a hug and kiss works.”
“Plus, we’re around each other everyday and we’re still not sick of each other so I guess that’s a good sign for the relationship.”
When Passion Pays
Picneeds relied a lot on social media to spread the word about the business.
They posted picture-perfect shots of their picnics, which include themed set-ups, on their social media platforms such as on Instagram and Facebook.
“From then on, we had requests from friends, and friends of friends, and it [the business] took off,” said Khairul.
At the start, when they were running the business part-time, they were only doing five to 10 picnics in a month.
Now, they receive that same number of requests in a day – during peak periods such as on weekends and public holidays. However, they are unable to accommodate to all the requests due to “limited manpower”.
The most they are able to take up now is up to 3 picnic projects a day, which is why the team is looking into expansion and hiring at the moment.
Currently, they set up an average of 50 picnics per month, earning them about $5,000 to $8,000.
And rain or shine, business is going good for them – except when there’s haze.
“That’s when we don’t have business at all.”
Nonetheless, Khairul admitted that the “cashflow from jobs was good“, which is why it took them only about a year to break even.
To kickstart the business, they spent over $10,000 on a van with 1.5 years of COE (Certificate of Entitlement) left, and another tens of thousands more on inventory.
Additionally, they work in a home office, which helps to reduce their overheads.
According to Khairul, people often tend to overlook the logistical or creative demands of planning a picnic.
Picneeds aims to provide customers with a hassle-free experience by offering a start-to-finish service, which includes a packed picnic basket too. Packages start from $190 onwards.
This allows the customers to focus on the “social aspect” instead of worrying about the nitty-gritty logistics details. Customers literally have to simply sit back and relax during the picnics.
Khairul also works closely with his clients to tailor each picnic to their wants and needs, and lends his expertise when it comes to choosing an ideal picnic location.
“The hassle of setting up a picnic of our scale and detail is not something everyone would be able or willing to go through just for an Insta-worthy shot,” said Khairul.
The devil is in the details, he added. The types of cutlery, the menu, right down to the props, all contribute to a pretty picnic.
Be it for birthdays, anniversaries, bachelorette parties, or wedding proposals, Picneeds will definitely have you covered.
In fact, Picneeds has also recently expanded their services to include weddings, particularly outdoor solemnisation ceremonies and small wedding affairs.
Featured Image Credit: Montifs