Designs for contemporary homes
Designs for contemporary homes

Magppie was the first design led stainless steel home accessories brand in India. In less than a decade, they have achieved an international status and are present over 20 countries. Piyush Sehgal, Business Head, Magppie Retail Ltd, shares their business idea with us.

Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Tell us about your brand Magppie. What is your USP?

Piyush Sehgal (PS): We started way back in 1999, when we had a strong manufacturing capability in stainless steel. We decided to glamourise stainless steel for the Indian consumers. Since then, up till now, our primary USP has been our design ability. We worked with over 200 international designers and 30-40 Indian designers. We have always been able to churn out the newest design products and provide emotional products to the consumers that they could really feel and experience while using them.

AS: When you say emotions are expressed through your products, could you talk us through your product range?

PS: We have traditionally been very strong in the home accessories business. So these are lifestyle accessories that people use for various purposes. We categorise them in varying ways; the most important is guest entertainment. So wherever you have touch point of the guest, we have offerings that can really enrich that experience of guest interaction at your home, so there will be products catering to your dinner area like thali sets and coffee sets. Then there are décor products as well, which would enhance the look of your living room. That was primarily the traditional business that Magppie was involved in. Starting this Diwali, we are launching into a couple of new categories and we are moving into the direction of art furniture. Back in 2007, we had introduced our ice-cube brand, which is the modular kitchen brand, where we sell premium kitchens in the range of Rs 12 lakh to Rs 50 lakh. So we are using our steel capabilities, design bandwidth and out kitchen manufacturing abilities to enter the space of art furniture capturing the space of your living area.

AS: Who primarily constitute your targeted sector?

PS: We are primarily targeting the premium customers and our price range also reflects the same. Even though our products start at prices as low as Rs3,000, the accessories can cost as high as Rs 60, 000-70, 000. But kitchens, as I just mentioned, could go up to Rs 50 lakh.

AS: Are your manufacturing your products in the country or getting them sourced from international markets?

PS: We do most of our manufacturing here in India itself and I think that has been one of the USPs of the brand. The operational excellence that we have pioneered in the last few years by making some mistakes and learning from them is what has given us the bandwidth to be able to manufacture in- house in the country. We have three plants here in India; we have an extended manufacturing ability in China. We have been supplying to our retail stores in India as well as the export business outside.

AS: The consumer trend has evolved drastically over the past decade. How will you define this change?

PS: When we started, the Indian consumer was obviously not that experimental. When we launched our stainless steel lifestyle accessories, there was a consumer need development that we had to undertake. At that time, it was difficult to see stainless steel products as premium products, which can be gifted in their whole network. Since that time until now, consumers have really gone through a dramatic shift in their psyche. Most importantly, they are much more travelled, they have seen products abroad, they go through the design trends that exist outside India and now they are able to experiment much more. The disposable incomes have also increased tremendously. The kind of homes people build and make investments in bringing them up have also grown multifold. The sales of our products depend on how one invests in their homes. So as the home segment had grown in India, the sale of designer home accessories has grown in tandem. AS: Setting up products of such varied proportion would have required you to forecast before rest of players do. How did you do that? PS: Magppie, when it started in 1999, was launched with the premise that Indian consumers have some latent need that we wanted to capture. We had to test it out to understand the particular need. If you look at stainless steel in the Indian psyche, it is just a bartan, so to position stainless steel as a premium metal, which could be at par with silver, was tough. But we knew one thing for sure that if we provided the Indian consumers with good designs, good quality finished steel and most importantly, understanding their need at home, we could do it. This understanding gave us the impetus to offer products to suit their requirements.

AS: How many retail stores do you have and how many are you planning to open in the near future?

PS: In our accessories business, we have around 16 stores. We have four stores in the modular kitchen business. Our plan is to open 5-7 new outlets in the next 6-9 months. The focus will not be on the numbers, it will be on the quality of those retail locations, because with time, the brand is moving from premium to luxury and it is important to tap into the best locations. Four of these stores will be coming up by the next month. Two of them will come up in Delhi while we are opening one each in Chandigarh and Mumbai. We have one store in Sydney as well, which is our only international store as of now. We plan to open stores all across Europe.

AS: How has the international market responded to your product offerings?

PS: The response from these markets has surprisingly been fantastic. We have our products being retailed on the best lanes of Europe as well as in some of the best areas in the US. The most important aspect of our products is that these are Indian, yet very international, the reason being they are made by a lot of international designers. Hence, the thinking is customised for Indian consumers but the origin of this thinking is incorporated from the West.

AS: What is the format of the stores that you follow?

PS: We have multiple product categories; we have lifestyle stores where most of our accessories are being retailed. Within the next month, we will be moving in another direction altogether. We will be launching some new products, including bar accessories and art pieces. So, our upcoming stores will run on a new format, where they will not only be retailing the accessories but also the art furniture offerings. Our business has always depended on footfalls; hence we have primarily concentrated on setting up our stores in malls, because this gives us the advantage of impulse purchases. But moving forward, this is going to change as we are looking at setting ourselves in areas where consumers would see it as a destination product. So we are targeting the high-street locations with our next two stores in Delhi.

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