Fashioning furniture

Playing a critical role in chartering the course of the retail business and expanding it into new opportunity areas, K. A Parameswaran, CEO, Ebony Gautier tells us about the company's development strategy which would include undertaking expansion of Ebony
K. A Parameswaran

Playing a critical role in chartering the course of the retail business and expanding it into new opportunity areas, K. A Parameswaran, CEO, Ebony Gautier tells us about the company’s development strategy which would include undertaking expansion of Ebony Gautier’s specialty retail stores across the country over the next two years. Besides evolving the overall strategy for its future growth, his key task is to drive the company towards a greater focus in the market segments. 


Shubhra Saini (SS): How big is the branded furniture market in India? And what is the market share of Ebony Gautier?  
KA Parameswaran (KAP):
The Indian furniture market is estimated at around Rs. 25,000 crores of which the organised market would be around 10 to 15 per cent. We have just opened two showrooms in the country so it is too premature for us to assess our market share. 

SS: How popular is the concept of branded furniture retailing in India? Do you think Indian customer is ready to splurge on branded furniture? 
KAP:
Branded furniture retailing is coming of age in India with a lot of big players entering the fray. The taste of the new age Indian consumer is evolving and that is true for furniture too. The consumers are adopting new bedroom concepts, latest products like walk-in wardrobes as well as specially designed furniture for children. With the opening of the consumer mindset and the availability of quality product options the consumer is now spending more on home adornment and furniture. 

SS: What was the affect of economic downturn on your business? How you are planning to assert yourself in the market? 
KAP:
Yes, there has been some impact as conversion is taking a bit longer as prospective customers are tending to delay purchases. However we have recently reworked our product and pricing strategies to make our offerings more attractive in the market place. 

SS: What is the USP of your furniture line? 
KAP:
The core USP of the Ebony Gautier brand is its contemporary furniture themes. These products are designed and manufactured in France to deliver quality standards using the best and most environment friendly raw materials. We are confident that products of our design and quality are not available elsewhere in the Indian market. 

SS: What is the nature of Ebony and Gautier’s tie-up?
KAP:
The nature of the collaboration between Ebony and Gautier is in the form of an exclusive distribution arrangement covering India and neighbouring SAARC countries.  

SS: Gautier enjoys a respectful position in the International market, what are your expectations from the Indian market? KAP: India is witnessing a gradual change from classically designed furniture to contemporarily styled furniture which is the cornerstone of all Gautier designs. This coupled with the contemporary furniture in new homes and increased purchasing power augurs well for our Indian business. 
  
SS: What are your expansion plans? 
KAP:
After Noida and Gurgaon we plan to open more stores in the North and South markets in the first phase. Showrooms in Chennai and Bengaluru are next on the anvil. As per our plans we would be having 10 stores by the end of the next twelve months. 

SS: What kind of response your present stores are getting in India? 
KAP:
The response has been extremely positive with more than 80,000 people having visited our stores in the last year and a half. Our sales have been as per our expectations and we hope to increase it substantially in the coming season.
 

K. A Parameswaran, CEO, Ebony Gautier
 
 
 
 
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