Hi Lokendra, and welcome to the interview. We will talk today about the online furniture market in India and what Wooden Street’s mission is. What exactly does www.woodenstreet.com?
Lokendra: 90% of the furniture market in India is still unorganized & stats denote a potential of $20B. Before our launch in May 2015, we studied the furniture market, tried to understand every possibility and the segment that needed attention. We believe that each home is unique and is designed according to every consumer’s personal preferences, taste & style. Unlike any other furniture e-retailer in India, Woodenstreet offers the first, exclusive custom-made furniture services.
Right from the beginning, there is something that I found very interesting. It’s custom-made furniture, but you can order it online. Usually, when you think of custom furniture, you think about having to stay at home to have someone coming to your place and take measurements, talk about styles and color then wait for a price proposal. How can this be done online?
Lokendra: The upcoming generations cannot adapt to the traditional way of buying furniture. Our current lifestyles reflect busy schedules, & the possibility to sit and engage with a local carpenter looks impossible. This is where Woodenstreet is changing the regular trends in furniture buying. Furniture innovation is something we have been crazy about since the start. Our team works hard to deliver unique furniture concepts. Recently we have launched India’s 1st Pool Cum Dining Table. A single product serves two functions at the same time. Now our working model might look quite difficult, yet the process is very practical & simple. We work on a standard procedure as enlisted below:
- If a customer wants a completely customized product? Then they share a reference image or description of the requirements while our furniture designers work on the request and get back with the best-worked possibilities.
- Upon confirmation of the essential elements, let’s say the wood finish and style, we then share a workable 3D for further approval. Once the approval is given, the price proposal is shared & the confirmed order request is raised for manufacturing followed by dispatch upon completion.
- Also, a customer can look at the 1000+ furniture products available in our online store, which is then ready to order; any customization in these existing is also accepted.
I think this is quite a sweet concept for the furniture business. How did you come up with the idea?
Lokendra: I think every idea starts from a personal experience that is because till you don’t come across some constraints in situations, you would never want to find solutions to those. While I moved back from London to India, setting up my new home was a difficult task. With this same thought in mind myself and Dinesh Pratap, Virendra Ranawat, and Vikas Baheti, we arranged the entire setup frame for Woodenstreet.
What types of furniture can be done this way?
Lokendra: Talking about what kind of furniture, if we speak of furniture styles, then anything that logically makes sense in structure can be built, but regarding the durability aspect, we only play in genuine solid wood considering each piece would be an individual’s long term investment.
How long does it take from the start of the process until you get the furniture order?
Lokendra: We collaborate with an extensive network of furniture vendors, and with our dedicated design unit, it takes about 2-3 weeks to manufacturer each consignment, including the confirmation, manufacturing & logistics stage.
And who is the typical customer?
Lokendra: Our TA is the customers falling in 25-45 from urban Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities.
Any tips for people buying furniture? And when is furniture too much furniture?
Lokendra: Buy furniture that never gives you a second choice which means our focus should be on bringing home something we have wished for & also that works strongly on its quality. Attaining quality is only possible when we speak of solid wood furniture; you can always repolish, redesign or remanufacture the piece within the duration of 10-15 years.
Commenting on “When the furniture is too much furniture,” Well, it is never actually. Why I would say this is because our family keeps growing, we build new interest daily, which adds up to our living standards, & when we speak of this, each space at our home can accommodate a new furniture piece.
Where are you located, and where do you deliver?
Lokendra: Woodenstreet’s manufacturing units are located in Jaipur, Jodhpur & Udaipur, with our local offices in Delhi (NCR), Mumbai,Bangalore,Pune,Hyderabad,Chennai & Kolkata
I bet most people outside India don’t know how the furniture market is in India, including myself. But I bet you have many antiques, a lot of beautiful hand-made furniture and mass-market furniture.
Lokendra: India is known for its marvelous artistic work of wood that is acknowledged across the globe. The industry showcases exceptional furniture designs, rich & compact in nature, not the least; the premium quality & durability have added elegance to this segment in the both traditional as well as modern aspect. Also, India is accounted as the largest furniture manufacturer of solid & antique furniture exported to major locations in the US & UK.
I wonder, what is the best selling furniture item? And once a piece of custom furniture is created for a customer, does it become available in the shop for others?
Lokendra: Speaking of the best selling furniture item so far, the Dining Table Sets, Beds & Sofa Cum Beds have topped our list. The second part of your question regarding custom made furniture again depends, if something unique is constructed, we would add it up to the list of available products but, on the other hand, modifications in size or nothing great in resembles doesn’t stand a chance of being worth to be enlisted.
What happens if the furniture does not match the room? Let’s say the customer made a mistake while taking measurements?
Lokendra: We have scrutinized our process end to end so detailed that we bypass such situations and scenarios. The process, which I explained above, being crystal clear that there are rare chances a customer could complain of a mistake. However, if a team receives an immense customization request regarding a larger space, we even send our team for physical verifications of measurements.
I see that you place a lot of effort into creating videos and pictures to showcase the furniture in an environment as close as the real one. How is this done? Do you set up a stage and photo session for each piece? This must be huge!
Lokendra: We believe in creating a virtual furniture buying experience very close to that of real-time. This adds more comfort to your customers while they don’t pull up second thoughts when they already have ample trust. Studios are set up for photography & video shoots covering ten different angles of each. So a lot of dedication is delivered to each furniture unit from the manufacturing till its dispatch.
What would be your elevator pitch for Wooden Street?
Lokendra: We specialize in customizing furniture as per specific requirements. We work on innovative furniture concepts to offer an exclusive multi-utility range.