Chennai is often known as a city where “nothing much happens.” But one woman thought otherwise, because despite being born and raised here for over three decades, she still found that it has a lot to offer.
“There are a lot of hidden gems and talent but only in pockets — most people don’t mingle outside their clique,” realised Suneethi Raj. That’s why she founded LocalXO, an initiative that identifies trendy people and brands from fields like travel, arts, food, etc. in the city and presents uniquely curated experiences for people to get introduced to and fraternise with.
A fusion of multiple lifestyle-related experiences, it aims at getting communities of people to mingle with others in a hands-on manner.
“Instead of just hanging out with your set of friends or being in your comfort zone, people who sign up to attend our events get to meet strangers in a safe environment. Out of all the 75 events I’ve hosted, I’ve noticed that people warm up to each other within 10 minutes and then chat like long-lost friends,” Suneethi tells DTNext.
“People just need to be open-minded to get to know others.” Given her strong network in Chennai, she used to approach people to help her curate the events but after the concept caught on, other brands or ventures began approaching her.
“It’s been a fabulous journey so far — LocalXO celebrated its first anniversary on Sunday and I’d like to say that we’ve already expanded to Bengaluru and will launch in four other places in the South as well,” she says. Thought most of LocalXO’s events are centered around food, each one has a different twist to it.
A FEW EVENTS THAT HAVE BEEN CURATED:
Home chefs and small brands that could use a launch pad are encouraged to host events. So at these supper clubs, one home chef who’s mastered a cuisine, which you can’t find in Chennai, is engaged. He/she hosts people over at a private residence and a four to six-course meal is served. “You get the experience of a restaurant at home and you can mingle with people at leisure. Also, the food is made from scratch with locally grown fresh produce,” she explains.
Most people are at ease while hanging out over food. So either for lunch or dinner, equal number of single men and women between the age groups of 25 to 40, are invited. There aren’t many safe environments for singles to meet up in the city so forums like these give them a chance to meet like-minded people or even to network about business or work. “Interestingly, lots of people above 50 years of age requested me to organise similar events from them!” smiles Suneethi.
Award-winning bartenders from the city teach the attendees about the science behind making cocktails. The best of mixes using world-class alcohol is the USP of the event. “I was pretty surprised to see that among those who signed up 90% were women above the age of 40. They’re ready to spend money and have fun, thus expanding their views and knowledge.”