With households forming 65% of the $7,922 million Indian furniture market, how are entrepreneurs leveraging the potential in this niche segment of business?
Gone are the days when kids’ rooms consisted only of teddy bears and hues of pink and blue. From cozy little baby cribs, playful beds and bean bag furniture to room accessories like colorful drapes, thematic wallpapers and bed linen—there are special furnishings available for every toddler’s taste.
The rising number of single-child-double-income families deeply inclined to spend on lifestyle products, coupled with an exposure to international standards, is luring many urban and middle class parents to invest in high quality furniture and furnishings for their kids’ rooms.
Says Veena Deepak, CEO of Vividha, a kids’ chain that sells children’s furnishings and theme-based décor, “It is an innate tendency for every living being to mark their territory and aspire to have their personal space. Like adults, children also require a dedicated area where they can play, learn and grow. Parents are now realizing this need for their little ones to explore their creative selves.” Children are also becoming demanding and are major catalysts in their parents’ decision to deck up their rooms.
But is this demand being met? According to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian Furniture market is worth US $7,922 million, with about 15% in the organized sector catering to households, offices and the hospitality sector. A whopping 65%, households form the biggest consumer segment. Most of the furniture, however, is for adults and doesn’t cater adequately to the requirements of the kids, especially in terms of size and design.
|Most of my clients are from outside Chennai and I keep in touch with each of them through the phone or e-mail. I ask them every minute detail, from the sex and age group of the child to how much time and money they can put into maintaining the room. If required, I even ask them to send me images of the room |
When it comes to creating a space for children, there is still a gap, with many furniture companies either being international or having a limited range of children’s items. Only a few players are catering exclusively to children’s furniture and room décor, making it an opportunity waiting to be grabbed by aspiring entrepreneurs.
Glimpse at existing players
Interestingly, many women entrepreneurs got the idea of starting this venture when they were expecting their babies and had very limited options available in the country for their baby’s room. Says Garima Agarwal, owner of Peek-A-Boo Patterns, a store that offers customized home furnishings for children, “When I was expecting my daughter, I searched all over India to find accessories for her room. Keeping the scarcity of such products, as well as my fashion designing background in mind, I decided to tap this market.” Although Garima considers window dressing her forte, the store has a host of other things to offer including curtains, cushions, bed linen, knobs and handles, white boards and even storage boxes. Along with the ready merchandize, products can also be customized to suit the tastes of the customer.
Similarly, Rani Advani had been an interior designer for 18 years before she finally decided to launch Bumblebee, a one-stop-kiddies’ shop, as she likes to call it, which offers infant and kids’ bedding and accessories. “I had to rely on my trips abroad for my baby’s bedding and coordinated accessories, since there was no place to source it locally. That is when I conceptualized Bumblebee,” says Rani. She imports children’s beds, bedding, strollers, baby shower gift sets and nursery furnishings from the UK and US and soon also plans to venture into baby bathroom sets, clothing, as well as accessories for feeding. Being an interior designer, Rani also provides consultancy and takes up turnkey projects like designing nurseries with custom made furniture and furnishings. What is the price tag attached with these products and services? “The cost of the readymade products ranges from Rs 800 (drawer and door knobs) to Rs 8500 (double bed sets). Designing entire nurseries with flooring, cupboards and furniture and coordinated accessories can cost up to Rs 7 lacs for 200 square feet. However, if the customer just wants to furnish the room with lamps, rugs, wallpapers, etc it costs less than Rs 20,000,” says Rani.
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