This Raipur-based interior designing firm is keeping it simple and elegant
Interior designers Ruchi Gehani and Rashi Bothra say the past year has benefited the interior design industry in many ways. “People started valuing their homes as they spent more time indoors, be it farm houses or their working spaces at home. They realised that they are not moving out of the space very easily and are spending a lot on the interiors,” they say.
Reports reveal that the home interior and renovation market in India is estimated to be between $20 and $30 billion and expected to increase at a CAGR 7 percent every year.
The duo is happy to have entered the domain by founding Azure Interiors in 2013. Azure, they explain, refers to the place where God resides and is also the colour of the clear sky. “When we design any space, we try to make it serene and elegant. The firm’s name reflects that,’ Rashi explains.
Ruchi and Rashi met while pursuing a year-long diploma in interior designing in Raipur. While interning at a design studio together in the city, a common acquaintance approached them to work on a one-bedroom commercial space. The duo says their sense of design aligned and so they decided to experiment with their own firm together in 2013.
The two of them juggled site visits and other tasks during the day and focussed on drafting design concepts at night. They took up limited projects to ensure they have adequate time to perfect each assignment.
“As we were just entering the industry, we wanted to learn through work and not rush the journey. So, we focussed on trying out new things and went slow and steady.”
Today, Azure Interiors caters to clients across India and works on different projects like commercial, residential, corporate offices, as well as retail and hospitality spaces but specialises in luxury interior design.
Started with payments from a project and little to no investment, the startup has gone from designing one-bedroom spaces to Clarks Inn Suites with 52 bedrooms. With a core team of 10, the duo works with nearly 50 vendors and contractors working exclusively for the firm. “Today, we are handling 30 to 40 projects at any given time,” Ruchi adds. They have also designed Rosebey Resorts and Nolte’s showroom in Raipur.
As Raipur is a small city where almost everybody knows each other, they say word-of-mouth has played a key role in Azure’s growth.
With its service priced at Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000 per sq. ft, Rashi says the idea that less is more is a central concept to their work, along with emphasis on high-quality material.
The duo says they make a good team and hence work on every aspect of the business and design together instead of dividing responsibilities. The routine is clearly set – they dedicate two days of the week to designing, one day for meetings with existing and new vendors and contractors, and three days of the week are focussed on management and execution-related work.
Most importantly, design-related work is never delegated to others. And to keep up with trends, they attend as many interior designing exhibitions as possible in addition to on-site learnings.
Challenges and the road ahead
In the last seven years of operations, Ruchi says, one of the biggest challenges was that people would not take them seriously “because we were young, and probably because we are women. But as our work increase, we started getting the projects we deserved and this boosted our confidence.”
After the first three years, they began leveraging social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for marketing and saw an annual growth rate of 20 to 25 percent every year.
Having completed more than 100 projects so far, the startup is looking to expand its team and enter international markets soon.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan