Mumbai-based Stitchwood plans to be an online alternative to the local carpenter
Stitchwood, an online customized furniture store, founded by IIT B-IIM A duo allows users to design and create furniture that fits their requirement. They aim to offer an easy-to-use online customization interface that allows users to visualize their creation online before making a purchase.The parent company behind Stitchwood is Tangramme Furnishing Solutions Pvt. Ltd. They recently raised a US$ 100K seed round, and are presently raising US$ 750K. Their goal is to let customers design their own furniture online, and then get it crafted and delivered to them.
Team behind it
Ajit Shegaonkar and Vikas Nair co-founded Stitchwood in 2014. Ajit graduated from IIT Bombay in 2004 and completed his Masters degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. After that he returned to India and worked as an investment banker for six years.
Stating the reason why they started Stitchwood, Ajit says:
No two Indian homes are the same, then why should people have the same looking furniture in their homes? Stitchwood provides ways for the client to design their furniture as per their requirement that too without having to leave the comfort of their house and without having to deal with complicated software or the hassles of a carpenter.
Vikas graduated from IIT Bombay in 2005, and completed his post-graduation in management from IIM Ahmedabad. After that he worked in supply chain and strategy consulting for four years and with a private equity fund (which has invested in Flipkart among other startups) for another four years. He adds:
Mass customization is not a niche market, contrary to what some people mistakenly believe. It is just a natural progression for the fragmented customised furniture market towards getting more organised and branded.
The startup has a seven-member core team with dedicated people for marketing and strategy and a technology team. The final manufacturing is currently outsourced, so Stitchwood has a quality control team at the backend to ensure that quality is maintained at all stages.
Ajeet Khurana, who is one of the investors in Stitchwood, added:
As an angel investor, I look for capable entrepreneurs entering into a large market size enabled by sound technology, and great investor interest. StitchWood meets all those criteria. That is what makes this a dream opportunity.
How does it work?
Users can visit their website and design a sofa as per their requirements in two ways:
-‘Design your couch’: Users are provided visual aids to pick the frame of their sofa based on their needs. Right now users can pick options such as ‘standard’, ‘comfort’, ‘sectional’, and ‘starline’.‘Chesterfield’ and ‘Tuxedo’ are in the pipeline.
After selecting their desired configuration, users then need to decide on the specifications of different components such as the ‘arms’, ‘upholstery’ , ‘cushions’ and ‘legs’. They are provided a visual aid based on their selection, in these sections as well.
-‘Upload your dream sofa’: Users can also choose to upload images of their desired sofa through their website or WhatsApp it to the Stitchwood team at 9819409663 and get an estimate on how much it would cost and then place an order.
Those short on time or having no special requirements can also choose from a list of their sofa catalog. Another service that Stitchwood provides is on-site visits. After customers share their initial requirements over phone or through the website they can request carpenters to visit their homes, so that they can better understand the customer’s needs. Currenlty, there is a marginal difference between on-site visits and the regular service and will remain so for about a year. After that Stitchwood will consider charging a premium for on-site visits.
Others in the sector
Home and furnishing e-commerce has also picked up in India with many startups and upstarts doing well:
Stitchwood has been accepting orders for about a month now and has received good feedback and very specific design requests from their customers. They are currently active in Mumbai and they plan to enter Delhi and Pune in the next few months.
As of now, they only provide sofas, but are planning to add customised dining tables and beds in the future. They are also considering coming out with a mobile app in the future based on the feedback and response.