How Furniture Rental is Emerging As New Trend in Indian Start-Up Scene?

In India, the market for furniture rental is seen to be around $800-850mn.
Fabrento
Sidhant Lamba

Backed up by Continental Group, is a rental platform Fabrento offers wide range of wide range of home furnishing products on rent. The company is already providing furniture to many co-living spaces like Coho, Stanza Living, etc. Fabrento has seen the growth of 3X Y-O-Y basis. In India, the market for furniture rental is seen to be around $800-850mn. In an exclusive conversation with Sidhant Lamba, Founder, Fabrento sheds light on the growth strategy of the company.

 

Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. What inspired the founder to launch Fabrento?

Fabrento was founded by Sidhant Lamba in the mid 2016 with the support of the Continental group. He started off this venture with the vision of making dream homes a reality for the consumers by renting out affordable, functional and sleek furniture and home appliances that are personally customised to suit their needs. Lamba has always been passionate about decor and furnishings and has used his expertise in the field of design and business to make a mark in the Indian markets by understanding and solving the problems people face, especially millennials, associated with handling big furniture.

With a dedicated team comprising of skilled IIT graduates and highly experienced people in the field of design, Fabrento continues to expand with a growth rate of 5-7 percent month on month and setting up units in new cities to cater to an even larger audience.

 

What is your assessment about furniture rental market in India. According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in this segment?

The current market size for furniture rentals is estimated to stand at a significant amount of 1-1.5 billion dollars in India which will only continue to increase as more and more people become aware of the option of rentals and choose this cost-effective and hassle-free way over shelling out big bucks to buy bulky furniture.

 

There has been an ever increasing lucrative opportunity to get business deals with the  millennials, students and young professionals who have to move a lot in search of better job opportunities and for higher education and find shifting furniture difficult due to strict budget and time limit. Apart from that, entrepreneurs who are setting up new offices and want to showcase their business model through their decor but don't want to risk investing too much money  and end up incurring losses, have helped gain business for rentals. Also, tie-ups with co-living spaces are helping propel growth in this segment.

Do you think furniture renting is a growing trend beyond the metro cities. Kindly also shed light on your target group.

Since furniture renting has now been made available as an online service, it has the potential to be made known and accessible to the masses and soon its scope will expand beyond the metropolitan areas. For example, Fabrento takes orders, delivers information about its services, clears FAQs and customer-specific doubts through its online web portal, thus being able to communicate with a large audience which might not just be limited to the metros and then depending on the demand and availability of consumers and funds, new units can be set up in those regions to provide faster service and cover more areas.

 

Fabrento is open to serve everybody and wants to reach people from different backgrounds. In doing so, it offers both B2B and B2C services. However, as of now, it is mostly active in metro cities, target audience being students, millennials and young professionals who are both flexible in their choices as well as price-conscious. It also taps the business potential that MNCs, IT sector and industrial clusters have to offer.

Are you backed by any VC or PE? If yes, kindly provide the details. Else, what are the plans to raise funds.

Fabrento is not backed by any kind of PE or VC. It has promoters from the Continental group and has received some support from them with the investment being over 15 crore.

It would be entering the first round of pre series investment sometime soon this year to further raise its funds to improve its reach and expand business.

According to you what are the challenges of renting business in India, especially in emerging categories such as furniture?

The biggest challenge lies in spreading awareness so that more and more people get to know that there is now a cost-effective, hassle-free and effective solution to their age-old problem of handling bulky furniture. They must get to know that they can get personalised furniture and home appliances rented out that will save them from the time and expenses of shifting along with making their home creatively adjusted to suit their preferences. Not just that, they need to see the vast difference in the market prices and comfort in renting and buying so that there remains no scope of skepticism in them and they make well-informed choices instead of not knowing the alternative.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans.

As more and more people become aware of the benefits of renting furniture and the trends of urbanisation and nuclear families continue to rise along with growing working class population, the demand for furniture rentals is bound to rise in the coming years.

Fabrento aims to grow and build market by striving for customer satisfaction, providing not just customised furniture but also setting it up, relocating and doing maintenance for free, which is reflected in its high repeat customer rates. Thus, it has done a great job in creating a large customer base in the metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai and is looking forward to covering even more tier 1 as well as tier 2 cities. In 2020, it plans to add Hyderabad and Chennai to this list and also wants to set foot in Gujarat, all the while establishing a profitable tie-in with co-living and co-working spaces which would also help create further awareness about furniture rentals.

 

 

 

 

Sidhant Lamba
 
 
 
 
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