This woman entrepreneur is disrupting the interior design space with her B2B platform for freelance 3D visualisation experts, designers
Interior designer Deepmala Rath realised a particular issue amongst her peers during the lockdown — the designers working on high-cost 3D visualisation found it difficult to ensure a sustainable, scalable business.
Interior designers are highly dependent on 3D visualisation to help their clients understand the final output better. And the pandemic served her the right time to start Dezinefy — a B2B ecommerce platform — that works with a pool of freelance 3D visualisation experts and caters to independent designers and design studios.
An IIM Kozhikode alum, Deepmala has over a decade’s experience in the interior designing space and is aware of the challenges freelance designers and entrepreneurs in the field face regularly.
In her previous stint as a strategy manager at Livspace, the home interior and renovation platform, she has dealt with over 500 designers in the field execution and operation sector.
Founded in June 2020, Deepmala says, “Dezinefy offers a niche service of 3D visualisation because that is the need of the hour, and designers do not have access to this at an economical rate. This is mandatory for designers to go ahead with closing a deal, and there is no support system for that.”
In fact, financial restraints amidst the pandemic have deprived many freelancer 3D visualisers of work.
How does it work?
After the designer signs up the platform, they are required to fill a form stating basic parameters such as the dimension of the house, placement of furniture, colour combinations, and any other additional information they want to present to their clients.
On the other hand, 3D visualisers can sign up as a seller and go through an onboarding training programme to deliver the same at fixed rates and time.
As the designers submit their requirement, a team of 3D visualisers will pick up the project and deliver within 24 hours. The Bengaluru-based startup has remarkably disrupted the turnaround time and efficiency by splitting the work for fast delivery through its centralised service platform.
In the market, Deepmala says one 3D visualiser usually completes around four projects in a month.
In fact, the startup also aims to disrupt the pricing of such projects. At present, the entrepreneur claims to charge only 50 percent of the market rate to the designers.
Dezinefy charges Rs 1000 per view, where a 2BHK room would require seven to eight views, and a 3BHK would require 10 to 12 views. Of this, the startup retains 20 percent as commission.
"On average, designers spend at least Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 with existing options in the market. While we offer a lot cheaper alternative, we haven't really disrupted it in terms of cost. It is good, but not the best. As we scale and standardise, the pricing will go down," Deepmala adds.
Started with an initial investment of nearly Rs 5 lakh, the startup is now focussed on building its customer base of designers and hopes to have at least a hundred by the end of the current quarter. Deepmala says the startup is seeing a fair demand and expects it to increase once the pandemic settles.
Starting up amidst COVID-19
With just six months into the business, and noting that nurturing a startup to growth stage takes time, Deepmala says finding a suitable co-founder who does not seek immediate benefit was quite the task.
She says, communicating with young startups made her understand this is a common problem, especially with bootstrapped ventures.
Deepmala notes, “A lot of people started up just because they lost their job, but that is not the way to do it. Many others lose patience when they fail to see returns in a few months of starting up and being hit by the pandemic.”
She says combining a tech platform with interior design services is a rare feature, and having no background in computer technology had become a challenge. However, she now has her Co-founder Pawan Hegde, who is a techie with experience in ecommerce platforms, to help her in the venture.
As a bootstrapped venture, Dezinefy relies on organic marketing and has been doing great business through her connections in the design industry. However, reaching a mass audience is difficult.
Empowering women entrepreneurs
Notably, besides monetising the platform, Deepmala shares a unique goal of empowering women entrepreneurs in the field. She has observed that while most designers are women, the industry is male-dominated as it goes beyond design, execution, project management, among other things.
She says, "Women struggle to rise above designing to other leadership roles. My motive is to support women designers - of course, they are great designers, but they can also do great business if they have the right support.”
(Edited by Suman Singh)
Edited by Suman Singh