Meet the interior decor brand that wants to ensure there’s no place like home
Casa Décor offers sustainably-made handicraft home decor items sourced directly from Indian artisans, and available anywhere in the globe through its online presence.
Home sweet home turned haven amid the pandemic. Apart from downtime and relaxation, our intimate spaces are now used for purposes of work, exercise, and even socialisation – leading more and more people to invest in upgrading the look and feel of their homes.
Noida-based home décor startup, known for its handcrafted yet functional pieces, found itself well placed to meet this altered market scenario.
“Casa Decor is an amalgamation of culture and lifestyle, where the focus is not just on transforming spaces and moods but also changing lives in the process. We take pride in liberating local artisans of India and working with them to create an environment that allows them to run their households respectably,” shares Niraj Johri, Founder and Director of Casa Décor.
After graduating from University of Greenwich, London, Niraj became aware of the market potential of exporting artisanal hardware and accessories for the home furnishing industry. Over the years, he has solidified Casa Décor’s market presence across the Americas and Europe.
Through its curated collection of home decoration items, the team at Casa Décor “celebrates the imperfections inherent in the art of handicraft, while ensuring their collections are not produced at the cost of the artisans or the planet”.
Over the last few decades, Casa Decor claims to have supported the livelihoods of more than 10,000 households in India, by putting the indigenous craft clusters of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on a global stage.
“Through our widespread product reach and expansive portfolio, we have been fortunate to support and empower more than 3,000 women that make artistic hand-painted designs on our unique product offerings,” Niraj says.
Inspired by a love of Indian tradition and handmade artistry, Casa Décor’s team hopes to motivate its Indian audience to decorate their spaces exclusively with Indian handicrafts, or modern “made in India” interpretations.
It does this through its offerings of quirky, modern, and traditional designs.
Under Niraj’s guidance, the brand has expanded its distribution, social development contribution, digital footprint and won various industry awards.
Casa Décor offers a range of luxurious furniture, Christmas décor, kitchen and garden accessories, and metal figurines. Their products stand out in comparison to others on the market, owing to innovative use of colour and attention to detail. The fact that they are handmade, from ethically sourced raw materials, also adds to their appeal.
One can choose from a range of accent pieces, decorative and useful elements for the home, kitchen and bar as well as outdoor spaces, decorative hardware and a variety of accessories.
The prices range from Rs 199 for their smallest item (a wall hook), and go up to around Rs 5,000 for certain kitchen accessories. They have a dedicated pets collection comprising décor for animal lovers.
“With every piece, we strive to strike a balance between ingenuity, art, and function that captures the rustic charm of our traditions without clashing with modern trends,” Niraj says.
Casa Décor’s factories are located in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
One can access their products through their website and third-party retailers like Amazon and Flipkart. They ship across the globe and aspire to become a brand with pan India presence through franchise shop-in-shop models, distribution franchise, and B2B distribution.
Since most of their buyers belong to a younger, digi-savvy generation, Niraj believes they look to the internet to compare prices without considering the genuine cost of handmade products, which are bound to be higher in price when compared to machine-made products. Further, those who are aware of the value of handicrafts and appreciate them, prefer spending on branded names. Apart from these challenges, trendy foreign brands like IKEA also add to their woes.
“We had to really struggle through this reality in our initial days. However slowly and steadily we became the brand we are today, by experimenting with our collections and offering out-of-the-box designs,” Niraj says.
Once the brand found its feet, the pandemic brought on additional challenges. Initially, it was simply to ensure the safety of their employees and customers, while staying on track with timely deliveries. They were able to overcome these issues by adopting a variety of sanitation measures and relying on efficient courier partners.
The team also noted a major change in trends and consumption patterns during this time, with more people investing in functional products.
Niraj explains, “The pandemic changed the way we live, forcing a lot of people to work from home, take online classes, and transform their lifestyles. Everybody was ordering laptop tables in the initial days and two years into the pandemic, after spending the majority of time at their home, homeowners want to invest more in decor items that don’t clutter their space.
"The sales of entertaining and hosting items such as items for serving and other kitchenware have also increased as people are socialising more in the safety of their homes.”
Growth and future plans
Though the brand was launched in 2008, it began retailing online only four years ago. The initial investment in the business was roughly Rs 45,000 put in by the founder’s family. In the last five consecutive financial years, the brand has had a turnover of Rs 100 crore. From an order count of 100 per month, today they ship over 15,000-25,000 orders a month.
They now have 100 employees and 200 artisans working for them, along with over 5,000 wage rate workers.
New collections are launched every four to five months. Though no specific themes have been followed thus far, they are planning to launch specific categories soon. Their most recent launch comprises home organisers and wooden artefacts, and planters which are an addition to their outdoor collection.
Plans are also in the works to launching physical retail stores soon, to cash in on their existing online presence and goodwill.
YourStory’s flagship startup-tech and leadership conference will return virtually for its 13th edition on October 25-30, 2021. Sign up for updates on TechSparks or to express your interest in partnerships and speaker opportunities here.
For more on TechSparks 2021, click here.
Edited by Teja Lele