Furniture industry remains one of the most unorganized sectors in India despite the popularity of handcrafted Indian furniture — both within the country and outside of it. The financial downside of this sector can be gauged from the fact, that with revenues ballooning up to₹887.50 million in 2014 the overall contribution to Indian economy remains a meagre 0.5% of the GDP.
However, with e-commerce gripping the Indian consumer like never before, there are changes happening in this scattered sector as well. The rise of startups in home furnishing space like Urban Ladder, PepperFry and FabFurnish indicate towards to the upcoming boom in the furniture industry aided by these online marketplaces and many others. The future trends also signal towards a promising future in furniture industry, which is expected to reach₹2,708 billion by 2019 at CAGR of 25 percent. [2015-2019, Cushman and Wakefield report]
Naturally, there is a lot more that needs to be done to reach those numbers and hence lies a significant scope of disruption and innovation through technology in the furniture space. Jaipur based Wooden Street aims to do exactly this by giving a superior furniture buying experience online and offer customised, hand-crafted furniture at standardised rates.
Furniture Bonded With Love
Launched in May 2015, Wooden Street claims to beIndia’s first E-Commerce store to offer customized furniture online to its customers in addition to a number of readymade furniture pieces. So, if you need a computer table designed according to your specific requirements or in a particular size only, you just need to share your idea with Wooden Street and they will design and manufacture that table for you.
Not only this, you can be a part of whole design process as well — starting from selection of wood, processing and finishing, giving your inputs in each stage through simple clicks on computer and get your customized piece of furniture delivered at your doorstep.
Wooden Street was founded by Lokendra Ranawat, Dinesh Pratap, Virendra & Vikas Baheti this year. The founders believe that great furniture doesn’t have to cost a fortune and they bypass middlemen to connect customers directly with the makers — a fair point considering how reputed those ‘middlemen’ are for charging exorbitant ‘commission’ rates to get your furniture built.
Currently Wooden Street has a team of over 30 people to look after activities such as designing, prototyping, sourcing, order management, sales etc. It operates from multiple offices located in Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur delivering furniture across India and has installation services in 8 major cities.
How Shopping on Wooden Street Looks Like
The main process of ordering Customized Furniture on Wooden Street is carried out in three simple steps:
- A user shares his/her idea and requirements through website, email or WhatsApp.
- The design experts in Wooden Street work through the idea and develop a 3D model of the furniture, which is shown to the user for approval. Based on the further inputs and recommendations, the design is modified until a final design is finalized.
- Once the final design is approved by the user, manufacturing takes place and after some final customized furniture is delivered to the doorstep of the user.
To help you select the best possible wooden handicrafts, there are pictures from multiple angles along with exact dimensions and material and finishing details for each product on the website, enabling the customer to choose according to his/her exact requirements.
The company provides free shipping on all the products. All these products are manufactured by Wooden Street and are subject to a warranty period of one year against manufacturing defects.
The Differing Factor For Wooden Street
While there are many other startups coming up in furnishing segment, the customized furniture offering is something, which puts Wooden Street in a slightly niche segment. Wooden Street gives — what they call — “a personal touch” to the furniture buying experience of customers enabling them to get the furniture exactly they want.
Co-founder and CEO Lokendra tells me,
We are setting new standards in the E-commerce furniture industry to offer our customer a experience like never before by customizing their furniture pieces.
However he adds this is just that start & the team’s efforts are completely involved in customer satisfaction. To bring in technology in a greater role, they are also planning to come up with a mobile app with augmented reality features.
The Road Ahead
It has been just over 6 months of operations for Wooden Street and they claim to have a 150% average growth. Wooden Street has successfully fulfilled 400+ custom orders and is been experiencing a 25% page views growth rate monthly.
The website has attracted over 51000 visitors so far and they expect this number to cross a 100K by the end of December 2015. Now the company is planning to launch a mobile app soon which will be based on augmented reality features, enabling the customers to co-design furniture with their in-house furniture experts.
The startup remains bootstrapped at present but is looking to close the first round of seed funds within the coming six-eight months.