A decade ago, shopkeepers at furniture stores were often the most affordable ‘interior designers’. Furniture was brought by their recommendations and promotions. Cut to today, a consumer in a non-Metro city too has his or her preference of Italian marbles or German-manufactured chairs, thanks to the online marketplace. But why are urban consumers so attached to their personalized spaces? In a conversation with Indian Retailer, interior designing firm Arrivae founder Yash Kela reveals the challenges for a firm in an online marketplace, the growing love for customization and the influence of startup ethos. Excerpts:
The online channel has been overcrowded with interior designers providing personal solutions. How is the market for online players?
Like any other industry, the interior design space also has its fair share of players in India. However, there are several challenges too and some of them include a lack of advanced visualization tools, project management expertise and appropriate tools for the same, a dearth of organized supply of furniture elements, irregular cash cycles and so on. All of these challenges lead to limited growth opportunities for designers, whether online or offline. For instance, at Arrivae, we address these challenges and even enable designers earn 3x-5x more revenue. Our project management tool Delta helps designers plan the projects better and the execution team supervises the installation process on site and ensures it is seamless. These tools enable designers to dedicate their creative bandwidth on coming up with superior design solutions.
Why is there such high need for customization in personal spaces?
Today, every customer demands customization and personalization when setting up or renovating a place, be it residential or commercial. The growing global exposure in Indians is making them more discerning and cosmopolitan.Also, the rising affluence amongst urban consumers coupled with more international travels and higher disposable incomes means they are willing to spend money to make their homes/commercial spaces reflect their personality. For instance, the spaces were create are executed by us but are designed by the customer and is made by the customer.
How has the startup ethos changed interior designing solutions?
As more startups enter market, it has spurred young entrepreneurs to differentiate their organizations in terms of the culture. Interior spaces at offices are now becoming an extension of the identity and personality of the founders.Also, some of the leaders consider interiors to be important tools for attracting and engaging talent, and ensuring that employees feel motivated to come to work every day. Open offices, break-out themes and unconventional work areas have enabled young professionals to collaborate better and deliver high results.
But what makes your products unique?
We offer customized interior solutions for residential and commercial segments. The solutions offered are simplified through monthly installments at home loan rates for residential customers, enabling them to design homes that coincide with their possessions. With this, our customers don’t have to delay the work or phase it out over several years. The financial product enables us to widen the adoption of our interior design solutions across India. We also specialize in offering visualization tools to enable customers to visualize interiors conceptualized by them for their respective floor plans. These tools are backed by automated manufacturing facilities and execution expertise at a site to enhance customer experience.
Smart kitchens, smart appliances are in trend. What role is technology playing in enhancing customer experience?
For instance, our platform ‘Delta’ enables customers to design and visualize their kitchen through kitchen specialists (designers) in two minutes. All they have to do is articulate their requirements before the meeting. The visualization tools are backed by a real-world assortment of core materials, finishes, and shades to deliver spaces designed by customers and executed by us.
What different tech solutions/services have you adopted?
We have the perfect blend of state-of-the-art tech tools from global players which are deployed along with homegrown solutions and services. Also, we have the best-in-class technology for personalization of designs and their visualization so that customers get exactly the kind of dream space that they had imagined.
What are your retail expansion plans in terms of products, categories, stores?
We intend to expand our store presence across 200 locations over the next few years. These stores will cater to Full Home Interiors and Modular Kitchen Wardrobe range. We currently have 12 stores across various locations.