Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Every time you go to a restaurant or a hotel your eye goes over to their statement furniture piece? OR every time you visit a city you are drawn towards its architectural and design marvels? Each furniture piece in your house has a story or a special meaning? Are your friends impressed by the way you have done the interiors of your home? Do you still have that 150 year old heirloom that your great grandfather passed on to the family?
Maybe these things indicate your love and passion for finer details of furniture and interior designing, if so, and if you have ever considered starting your own furniture design company, then read below to find out how you can achieve that. Examples for tips are taken from a successful designer furniture brand- East Lifestyle, which is now a 2nd generation customised furniture business and Inputs are given by the co-founder of East Lifestyle, best furniture shop in Bangalore, known for their craftsmanship and handcrafted wooden furniture.
We are assuming that you have cleared first step of starting a business, which is gathering funds. Whether you want to use your savings or you have an angel fund from some investor, below are the tips which will help you create a successful furniture brand of your dreams.
Tip 1: Find your niche! Do your research
Just like any other business, test your water before you plan to dive into it. Identify your clientele and your market before you step into the market. What kind of furniture you want to sell? Which demographic do your clientele fall into? Will it be custom made furniture or mass produced furniture? What material you want to specialize in? Who will be your competitors?
Co-founder , East Lifestyle says “East Lifestyle started with a basic concept of creating class apart handcrafted wooden furniture, we were very clear from the beginning of what kind of furniture we want to specialize in and over the years, this clarity has helped us carve our niche in customised luxury furniture, our clientele consists of serious furniture buyers”.
Tip 2: Location is important but shouldn’t be your top priority!
Yes, you read it right, if you want to enter into customized designer furniture business, location is not your top priority. People will find you if they know you! First decide, if you want to go retail or do only online sales. But as a pro tip- try to have at least one show studio for your work as it will help get you the initial credibility. Location depends again on Tip No.1, i.e your clientele, find a studio space in the area where your kind of furniture sells, don’t focus on being on main market street or in a mall. For instance, Bangalore’s best furniture shop, East Lifestyle is not located on the busy roads of a market, it’s situated in a much quieter area of a posh locality, but that doesn’t prevent their customers to find them.
Tip 3: Serve quality over quantity.
Now that you have decided what you want to create and sell, and you have a location, you need to make sure that what you sell is better than an average product. Being a new player in the market, the quality of your product can either make you or break you. Do not compromise!
If you know design, excellent, if not, spend a little extra money in hiring some great designers and carpenters, polishers etc..! This investment will go a long way in creating your brand loyalty.
East Lifestyle has been a pioneer of customised wooden furniture in India, they might create limited number of exclusive pieces a month, but each piece goes through thorough design and product execution to make sure that the quality and design of the product is excellent. This dedication to give the best is what makes their customers loyal to the brand.
Tip 4: Time to sell – Show, Train and Advertise
Now that you have the product, you have a store, a team of designer and producers, it’s time to sell your product.
Show – Make sure that your however small studio needs to look like a dream! It needs to inspire people to improve their homes using your pieces. Create a website. Use platforms such as Shopify / Wix/ WordPress to create basic website for your store. They are cheap and user friendly, also they are well integrated with various search engines thereby making your website easier to find it’s way in a vast sea of millions of websites.
East Lifestyle, recently launched it’s eCommerce website to sell customized luxury furniture online. People can now customize their own sofa, table, bed, dining table etc., through their website sitting thousands of miles away.
Train – Train your sales team to be able to pitch the idea of beautifully furnished dream home to a new customer. Train them in basic knowledge of the product including the base material to production process. Your sales team makes as the first point of contact for your brand name to the customer, make sure they understand the product and the clientele mind-set.
Advertise – In today’s world, where there are 100s of new businesses opening every day, it’s almost impossible to get noticed without advertising. Give at least 5% of your initial investment amount just for local advertising, such as magazines, newspapers, and most of all digital marketing such as Google Adwords, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Google Analytics, Facebook and Instagram and other social media handles. Either hire an agency to do all this or save the money and learn basic skills through various blogs and YouTube videos.
Tip 5: Pricing your products.
In today’s competitive world, you need to be best in quality and best in price offering. Study your competitors pricing strategy and make your products prices accordingly. That 2% price difference makes a huge impact on people’s buying decision. So make sure the price is right!
Co-founder, East Lifestyle- Best furniture shop in Bangalore, says “In the last 3 years we have seen a huge price war amongst various sellers in the furniture industry, mainly due to various new brands coming up almost every month. This has largely impacted the mid/low sector brands in offering heavily competitive prices to the consumers.”
Tip 6: Delivery and Customer Service
A lot of brands even big names don’t offer home delivery and installations for the furniture products, make yourself different here. Offer delivery services (If possible free) and excellent customer care service post-delivery. This ensures a sense of trust of customer in your brand, as you take full responsibility of your product from designing to delivery.
East Lifestyle offers free delivery to all it’s customer within Bangalore city limits and outside Bangalore they charge the bare minimum cost. They undertake full responsibility of packaging the product, delivering it your door step, placing it in the right spot. Being Bangalore’s best furniture shop, East Lifestyle, gives 5 years warranty on all of their wooden customised pieces.
Tip 7: Hire a good accountant!
Make sure your account books are all upto date, make sure all transactions are filed and all taxes are paid. For early days of business it may seem like a good part of your profit goes into taxes, but it’s the most important aspect of your business if you need to run a stress free and a long running business. Comply to all local state and central laws, get your papers and licenses right. Accounting of even small things such as office stationary or bathroom supplies is mandatory in running a smooth successful business.
Tip 8: Be a craftsman, but don’t forget to be a businessman.
Last but most important tip for all ‘crafty’ entrepreneurs. You might think that your skill and passion for furniture designing and manufacturing will make you a successful brand, that’s a mistake almost 95% of entrepreneurs make. Running a business is not about presenting your art and knowledge in the most beautiful way. It is way more complex than that. It is designing, selling, advertising, accounting, paying taxes , salaries, paying rent , electricity bills and statutory fees. It is not just about designing a piece of furniture, it is about selling it to your client making enough profit without making him feel that he is over paying you for your art or craft.
Entrepreneur Consultant and Co-founder of East Lifestyle, Bangalore’s best customized furniture studio, says “If you can’t sell it, don’t make it! Otherwise it will just be a dead investment for you and your business, and as an entrepreneur your focus should be on maximizing profits and not accumulating dead weight”
Hope these tips help you or someone you know who has a passion for starting a business especially in furniture domain. Above all, if you dream it, you can do it.
But knowing and being well read before starting a business can help you save a lot of disappointments and mistakes. If you need any more information about the same, feel free to write to the team of East Lifestyle at: firstname.lastname@example.org