How celebrity designer Tarun Tahiliani's son built a realty business clocking Rs 100Cr sales turnover
Today, making homes is not just about putting bricks together and making a structure where you can live for some 20 to 30 years. It is about homes reflecting who you are and your vibe.
Jahan Tahiliani has built Tahiliani Homes with a passion he shares with his father and celebrated designer Tarun Tahiliani.
Jahan Tahiliani, CEO of Tahiliani Homes
The initial years
Design runs in Jahan’s blood. Both his parents have been in the design business. Jahan says “I must have been around five or six years old. I remember going to the studio with my dad. He was sketching designs and used to even sketch his own image.”
He says he got the exposure to the world of design and business early in life. “My summer holidays were spent in and around the studio, making friends with designers,” he says.
When Jahan came back to India in 2012 from the United Kingdom, he was grappling with questions about his true calling in life.
Jahan worked in the capital markets team of CBRE, a real estate consulting giant, and felt he belonged to this profession. He decided to take the plunge. Though Tarun had designed some homes previously, his business did not have a formal real estate division.
This is how Jahan launched the realty business called Ahilia Homes, whose name was later changed to Tahiliani Homes. Experience at CBRE gave him deeper insights into the industry.
Today, he is working alongside his father. While, Jahan handles the operations, sales, and marketing, his father takes care of the design part completely.
Tarun Tahiliani, Designer
The making of Tahiliani Homes
The initial years of building the Delhi-based Tahiliani Homes were not easy. Not having a real estate background sometimes made it difficult for Jahan to understand the technical jargons. Sometimes, people would take him for a ride, owing to his inexperience in the industry.
There were also some technical difficulties, he says, adding, “How will an architect, who lives in an apartment, design a farmhouse taking care of all small details?”
Today, he is better placed in the industry and has a deeper understanding of the business.
Jahan started the business with four people. The team mainly designed holiday homes but gradually shifted to residential interiors. Today, they provide end-to-end solutions for making a house, from interiors to architecture, to the installation of furniture. The designs by Tahiliani Homes fall under four categories -- two Indian and two western -- Indian modern, Indian artisanal, classic, and contemporary designs.
The company sources raw materials from different parts of India, including Jaipur, Hyderabad, and Kerala.
Once the look and feel of the home is decided, Jahan’s father, Tarun, takes everything in his hands, splashing the canvas with his design and works.
“He is a creative guy, you can give him a task to create anything from carpets, perfume, watches, to airplanes, villas, etc, anything!” laughs Jahan.
Showcasing and representing the Indian heritage and craft is the focus of the business. Some vendors have been associated with the father-son duo for more than 20 years.
The business that was started with a lot of complexities has clocked Rs 100 crore sales since its inception by building around 14 holiday homes, villas, and farmhouses across Goa, Hyderabad, and Delhi. The team has also grown to 20 people today.
Recently, with the aim of turning homes into income-generating assets when not in use, Jahan launched an initiative called the Tahiliani Home Advantage under which the properties designed by them would be marketed and in turn generate some income for the house owner.
“The initiative will provide full-stack solutions to the owner from developing, maintaining, renting out, and even providing concierge services,” he says.
Nerul Living Front, Goa designed by Tahiliani Homes
Busting some myths
While running a business is always not easy, what happens when your father is your boss?
“Everything becomes very personal,” says Jahan, adding, “Sometimes I take liberty with my dad which an employee would never take with his boss and likewise he takes liberty with me which a boss would never take with his subordinate.”
But because this business has been built with so much passion, the two seem to ride over all obstacles.
Jahan also highlights that their target customers are not limited to the elite strata of society. “I think many people on hearing our name get intimidated and think we charge exponentially when compared to our competitors in the market.”
He says they charge a percentage of the total cost of the project but don’t take up projects below a certain threshold.
AIS Glass Villa, Goa designed by Tahiliani Homes
Jahan says he is fortunate enough to not face very severe consequences of the coronavirus pandemic which has halted business activities throughout the globe.
He also says, “The year 2020 will be the year of necessity spending. Most of the builders are saddled with debt and there are going to be huge non-performing assets (NPA) issues in the real estate industry but fortunately, we are not one of those guys.”
He also added that this year when the pandemic settles down a bit, many people will head Goa instead of planning foreign trips and this is where they are going to leverage the opportunity of strengthening the presence of their holiday homes.