Just when you are thinking that a particular startup segment is reaching its saturation point, you find that another startup is ready to make a foray into that very segment.
Mohit Lohiya, who was working in the marketing department of a furniture company, observed that the demand for industrial furniture was not noticed by many e-commerce players in the furniture and home décor segment.
In July, 2014, Shivani Lohiya and Mohit Lohiya co-founded Home Glamour, an ecommerce furniture and home décor platform specializing in vintage-styled industrial furniture. “The furniture market is filled with Chinese or Indonesian, or the so-called ‘rosewood’ furniture. The existing demand and unfulfilled supply in the industrial furniture market led us to launch this platform.”
Entering a highly competitive and crowded market is a daunting task. A new idea demands a dose of uniqueness. Home Glamour offers customization in the vintage industrial furniture category right from scratch. The website aims to add a design quotient to this furniture segment.
Home Glamour started with an initial investment of Rs. 2 lakhs, most of which was spent on website development and social media marketing. The website addresses the B2C market, targeting primarily the Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.
At the moment, the venture is completely bootstrapped and is looking forward to infuse more funds for product development and customer acquisition. Talking about raising funding from investors, Mohit says that he’s trying his best to keep the venture bootstrapped for as long as possible. He, however, observes that the competition in the market is fierce and he would likely have to raise funds to scale up the operations, improve customer acquisition and innovate on the product offering.
During the year 2014-15, Home Glamour claims to have clocked a turnover of around Rs. 9 lakhs. It has been seeing around 90 per cent, month on month growth. In comparison to last year, it witnessed an increase of 118 per cent in revenue from its website.
“The Indian audience has started developing a taste for this kind of furniture and we personally see huge growth prospects of our venture in the coming days. On the product roadmap, we are working on some never seen before product themes; a beautiful fusion of modern elements with vintage styled furniture,” says Mohit.
The furniture and furnishings market in India is pegged at $ 20 billion in size, and is ranked the fifth largest market in the world. Despite the huge size of the overall market, the online furniture market is small, and ruled by only a few. Mohit realizes that the biggest challenge comes from other established players in the segment such as UrbanLadder, FabFurnish and PepperFry. Analyzing the figures in this segment, it transpires that these players have a tight grip the online market, and they seem to have left little space for any other player to grow in the past few years. The three companies have also raised huge funding from various investors.
In April, 2015, Urban Ladder raised $50 million in a new round of funding led by Sequoia Capital along with TR Capital, and existing investors Steadview Capital, SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital.
Late last month, Pepperfry snapped up $ 100 million and became the first player to reach the magic figure in the niche e-commerce segment in the country. The round of funding was led by Goldman Sachs and Zodius Technology Fund. Existing investors Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) and Silicon Valley-based Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) also participated in this round.
According to a PTI report, FabFurnish is set to raise over USD 50 million from its existing investors, including Rocket Internet and Kinnevik, within the next one year to fund its expansion plans. The Gurgaon-based company has already raised more than USD 30 million from these investors.
Commenting on the existing market, Mohit says, “We believe that competition will be always there. To overcome the competition we are focusing on our product offering, quality and service. By offering unique products we would like to create our niche in the market, and develop Home Glamour as a brand in the industrial furniture segment.”
It will be interesting to witness the arrival of new players in this segment, and see how they go about creating their niche in the face of such severe competition.