A Bombay Dyeing bathrobe, a Welhome bed spread or Rosebys curtains are not new to Indians today. Higher disposable income of urban and semi-urban Indians, more exposed middle class, brand fervour and intervention of international players have given rise t
The Indian home fashion and décor market is valued at over Rs 15,000 crore. It is growing at an average rate of 10 per cent YOY and is expected to touch $12 billion by 2015.
Most of the players in home décor segment such as Bombay Dyeing, Carmichael House, Welhome, Rosebys, Sanskriti Expressions, Splash and Creative Portico have taken the franchise route to expand further. Recently, a UK-based home furnishing and clothing brand, Laura Ashley, too, unveiled its plans to foray into the Indian market through the franchise route.
Exclusive home decor range
Home furnishings retailers offer an incredible range of bed spreads, furnishing fabrics, curtains, rugs, durries, carpets, placemats, cushion covers, table covers, linen, kitchen accessories, bath linen etc.
Creative Portico is among the pioneers in offering kids bed and bath linen and is the largest consolidator in kids segment in a range of cartoon characters from Disney, Mattel, Cartoon Network, Nick and Marvel. The company also has a range of bed and bath linen for tweens and teens, including collection from Hanna Montana, High School Musical and iconic youth brand like MTV. Another product differentiation it offers is health-based bed linen products. Portico Therapeia range promotes healthy living with non-toxic, anti-mite and anti-bacteria treatment. The range includes bedsheets, pillows, mattresses, pillow protectors and soybean quilts. Sanskriti Expressions retails wooden furniture, wood crafts, stone crafts, home furnishings and made-ups and paintings, besides the assorted collection.
The company offers a basket of 3,000 products with at least 50 new samples being developed every month.
Rosebys London satiates the home decor needs of the modern woman, who is educated and has increased exposure.
“The objective of Rosebys London in India is to address the latent need of modern consumers. The brand will focus on increasing the category expectations of the consumer and inspire their imagination. The brand offerings will make home décor experience a special one and give it a personal meaning and value,” claims Nikhil Sen, Director, Rosebys Interiors India Ltd.
Invest in time, efforts
Portico has also invested a lot of time and effort in building one of the best team of merchandisers and front-end sales team. Bed linen is a category that needs lots of selling inputs from the sales staff, for which product knowledge is paramount. The company has institutionalised staff training at all levels as a practice. Sanskriti Expressions has a consortium of more than 50 cottage industries and a host of artisans and vendors to support the supplies to its retail network.
Rosebys has adopted a strategy to open a number of Rosebys stores simultaneously in a particular region and does regional advertisement rather than national advertisement. “By advertising regionally, we connect with the need of consumer rather than overspending on national advertising and meaning nothing to anybody,” explains Sen.
The product sourcing of Rosebys is done from a panel of meticulously chosen vendors from India and across the world who can deliver the quality and consistency required for the Rosebys products. The Rosebys design team develops the theme and designs for the product range. The same is then developed as samples with the vendors and subsequently produced after all requisite approvals.
The fulfillment to the store network is done from a central mother warehouse in Delhi. The frequency of dispatches varies from once a week to once a day, depending on the store throughputs, distance and the nature of products.
Creative Portico ventured into franchising in October 2008 and has one operational franchised store at Mumbai. Talking of its expansion through franchise route, Rajiv Merchant, CEO-Creative Portico (India) Pvt. Ltd, says, “We spent adequate time in understanding our customers while offering them innovative design solutions in the Indian market. Having done it successfully, we look forward to transfer our expertise to our channel partners.”
The company plans to open 10 franchise locations by 2010. Besides exclusive retail stores, Portico also retails its merchandise through its retail partners like Shoppers Stop, Lifestlye, @Home and other leading stores in shop-in-shop format. Sanskriti Expressions started franchising in 1998 but put it on hold as very few understood franchising then and started the second round recently. However, it has a network of over 60 dealers and the company expects to take the count of dealers to 75 by 2010, besides opening the exclusive retail stores. Starting its Indian retail operations in the month of October 2008 with the launch in the state of Punjab, the company has expanded in states like Punjab, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttaranchal, Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh with the franchise route.
Score on site selection
Location is a very critical issue with the retail stores as the locale demand varies from concept to concept. Preferred location for a Creative Portico store is on prominent high streets or malls whereas a Sanskriti Expressions clicks more in a less crowded locale. Highlighting the reason for this, Nipun Porwal, Head Retail-Initiatives, Sanskriti Expressions, claims, “In our case, a smart optimisation of visibility and floor space is the key. It has been observed that people spend more time in those stores, which are located away from the noisy environment. In some cases, suitable residential premises have done wonders as they provide perfect ambience and are available at one-fifth of the cost otherwise. So, there is absolutely no need to spend extra on location, provided these locations are backed with adequate marketing initiatives to generate more footfalls.”
The Indian market being sensitive to festive seasons leads to more than 50 per cent of sales generation during Dusshera -Diwali-Christmas-New Year shopping cycle, especially in home furnishing segment. Therefore, companies come up with special offers and exclusive designs in several price ranges to allure customers. Talking of such practices, Merchant maintains, “Being a fashion pioneer, we constantly outwit ourselves and introduce collections aggressively. For instances when a channel partner needs to liquidate old stocks, attractive push is given on the retail front.”
Moreover, old stocks are replaced by the new ones at regular intervals. The company has policies in place whereby the start-ups can get the merchandise replaced with the newer designs periodically. Rosebys product line also caters to seasonal variances, where consumers are able to find differentiation with regard to unique designs, type of fabric used in developing products such as bed linen, comforters, cushions etc, besides the adornments that cater to the lifestyle element. The materials used in developing such adornments such as stone, sandstone, wood, ceramic etc, too alter with the consumer’s seasonal perception and create an exciting array of lifestyle ensemble.
High hopes for future
Home décor has gained such a stature that people do not mind spending on it. With people getting high on aesthetics, the industry can surely foresee a bright future. Though the sector is largely unorganised, the Rs 15,000 crore organised market invites both national and international players to satiate the home furnishing needs of the consumers.