In an exclusive conversation, Ayush Baid, Founder of Ellementry, talks about the tableware market in India. He speaks about the journey of Ellementry and how they are competing with traditional tableware brands.
What is your assessment of the tableware market in India? What are different types, occasions when tableware is bought in Indian households? According to you, what are the consumer Lifestyle factors propelling growth in this segment?
There is a vast void of branded handcrafted tableware market in India. People buy tableware throughout the year, but the sale goes high, especially during the festive season, shifting to a new house, upgrading the house, and during the wedding season. However, during this pandemic people, are spending most of their time at home, there is a surge seen in the home category products.
Once the pandemic is over, offline will regain the lost momentum, but there will be many online habits that will stick amongst consumers. The adoption of omnichannel solutions will help brands to ensure a seamless shopping experience for consumers.
Exposure to international market and design, home decor magazines and blogs, International cuisine, health-conscious eating, social media influence, and more are the consumer lifestyle factors that are propelling to this growth.
How your new age direct-to-consumer tableware startup did the market research before launching to get structural clarity, consumer focus group, and market surveys at its inception?
Though we started Ellementry in the year 2018, the planning of the brand began way before backed by thorough market research and consumer survey. I also figured out the potential of branded handcrafted products working for the Indian market too. After further analysis, we realized that it is the most suitable time to start my dream brand that will make even the essential products beautiful and useful. Well, to initiate a brand like this was a daunting task but we were determined to do it. We conducted thorough research of the market and the consumers, created my primary team, travelled across India, met the local artisans with my designers.
In this extensive research, we got to explore the Indian culture, Indian crafts, Indian handicraft, people's apprehension about food safety in handcrafted products, understood the modern sensibility and people's expectations from a brand like this.
How are new tableware brands like Ellementry competing with the traditional ones? How do you stand out ahead of others? How do you position your tableware Brand- as premium, functional, or somewhere mid-range?
We have our six brand pillars, and cultural revival is one of them. We stand out ahead of others due to these brand pillars. Ellementry is never away from traditions; it has just fused a contemporary touch to the traditional products while keeping the essence alive.
Ellementry is a premium lifestyle brand of handcrafted products as our positioning is to make your everyday beautiful. What makes us stand out is our in-house manufacturing capabilities and how we turn daily use products into beautiful, useful things. Our manufacturing capabilities allow us to price the products competitively, maintain quality control, and ensure short turnaround time in production.
Ellementry encourages basic sustainable living in people, promoting handmade products made of earth-friendly products while reviving our cultural roots with a modern silhouette and adhering to international food safety standards. As the founder of Ellementry, I want when a person uses Ellementry products, he should not just feel good about the products but also make the planet feel good as well.
To be noticed by the end consumer, what is your physical and digital distribution strategy - in big retail chains or small grocery outlets or purely on digital? Have you raised any capital for growth?
As of now, we have seven physical stores across India in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Delhi, Jaipur, and Hyderabad. We have seen an overall surged in-home focused product, and this has automatically given a boost to our sales as well. The franchise request has increased, recently we have closed franchises agreements in Cochin, Lucknow, and 2nd franchise store in Gurugram, and the 3rd franchise store in Bengaluru.
We have our tie-up with high-end boutique stores, and through resellers, we are also establishing our brand presence in tier 2, tier 3 cities of India. We also have 'Shop in shops contract with Foodhall, Project Eve, etc.
During this pandemic, there was an overall surge in-home product category so; we got requests for tie-ups from many e-commerce platforms like -Amazon, Tata Cliq, Myntra, Nykaa, and more. Now, Ellementry products are available for customers on these platforms along with our own digital platform.
Many proposals are coming to us tie-ups on revenue sharing basis too. To expand reach with lower investment and a good ROI, we made products available at numerous boutique stores/retailers in various cities: Hermosa Studio (Jaipur), Democracy Homes (Gurgaon), The Quorum Club (Gurgaon), The Golden Triangle (Mumbai), Satgurus (Mumbai), Bharti Lifestyle (Mumbai), Fine Prop (Mumbai), Carpenter World (Ludhiana), R.Casa (Agra) and Aavah Home Décor (Cochin). Ellementry products are also available at Foodhall (Linking road, Mumbai &Chanayakapuri, Delhi).
Brand Capital, a part of Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), has invested in Ellementry as a print media partner.
Eco-friendly Tableware? What does it imply, and how does it connect beauty and utility? What are the price points for your products?
Sustainability is the need of the hour and, with organic eating, farm-to-table dining is taking a big leap forward. Chefs are also stressing slow cooking to preserve the nutrition in the food. Each object of the traditional Indian kitchen harks back to familiar rituals of Indian culture. Materials like brass, clay, marble, ceramic, and cast iron were extensively used in Indian kitchen during old times. People are getting them back to their kitchen. Not just for our health, but for the health of the environment too.
Raw materials for our products are ethically sourced, ensuring no harm to the environment, but still practical for everyday use. This is the reason our terracotta range and our ecomix range is one of the fast-moving and always in-demand products. For example, our curd setter brings to mind the flurry of activity in a traditional Indian home, with grandmother at the helm.
We were very firm that we will create handmade home products that are sustainable and in harmony with nature. With sustainability at the heart of its design approach, Ellementry's processes and materials ensure no harm to the environment. Every material used in the products is food-safe—safe to serve in and safe to cook.
Just like sustainability, form, and functionality is our other core brand pillar which makes sure that each of our products blends form and function, expressing love for the environment and making your every day beautiful. Ellementry products are designed to serve multiple purpose role. For example, our coffee mug lid acts as a coaster; our chopping board also acts as a cheese platter; our 'Eggshell metal bread box', stores the bread securely and lets it sit beautifully on the table as you layout the daily morning spread. It has a wooden lid that not only seals in the content but also doubles up as a slicing board.
What inspires me the most is how to bridge the gap between the form and functionality of daily utility products. We take inspiration for products from a real-life situation. For example, during work from home scenarios people are looking for multitasking furniture. We are coming up with a 'work from home' collection that will have ergonomically designed furniture that will make work from home comfortable. For example, a multifunctional table that can be used as a tray to serve and eat food and to work as well.
Our price range starts from around Rs 290, and for furniture, it goes up to Rs 20,000.