Home is where the heart is, as found by Design Cafe
Hrithik Kiran Bagade, Jan 02, 2017, DHNS 0:09 IST
If there is ever a feeling to sweeten the essence of the adage ‘home sweet home’, a Bengaluru-based technology-driven interior design firm has unearthed the nectar.
It was in 2012 that Design Café began to help realise the dreams of many a home owner, initially serving the demand from the wealthier segments. After having worked on interiors of 200 properties across Bengaluru, Belagavi, Hubballi and Chennai, founders Shezaan Bhojani and Gita Ramanan, decided to tap the needs of the burgeoning mid-segment (homes in the range of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore) — in the process, leveraging technology to make the whole exercise a lot more organised, as also an immersive experience.
“Specifically, people with homes in the range of Rs 70 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore, require an interior budget of Rs 5-15 lakh, for which, they opt for a less-professional freelancer, or a smaller firm,” Bhojani tells DH.
“We wanted to scale business to this big segment, and turn the whole process of design and building more professional. In November 2015, we launched our own website, which we pre-designed themes, rooms, and fixtures, to be savoured by customers,” he adds.
Design Café offers an entire suite of interior design solutions — kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, furniture, furnishings, curtains, and lighting, and so on. And, technology has played a vital role in charting the firm’s onward journey, along with aiding customers in their home creation.
“We use technology in the building process itself. Once an order is placed with us for an entire home, it can actually be tracked. We have 40-50 designers, and an IT team,” Bhojani says.
As a home owner or a customer, one needs to get onto Design Café’s website, and one can see the design range, including the selection of paints and curtains. By clicking on an option, the firm can customise the same in a day or two, completing a home in about 59 days, ensuring timeliness and quality. Among other things, the website also boasts of the ‘Design Your Kitchen’ feature.
“When people visit our website and select a design, they can then choose to meet an expert, and fix up an appointment online, or call our helpline. They will meet our designer at our experience centre, who’ll understand their requirement, and offer customisations and suggestions. If they like it, we go for production. Customers can also experience a complete home in virtual reality,” he adds. There is an experience centre and an office in Bengaluru, and another experience centre is opening here.
Over 70% of Design Café’s focus is on apartments, with the remaining is on tapping villas.
In the last one year, it has signed up 100 homes and aims to close Series A funding next month. The firm plans expansion to Mumbai and Delhi in 2017, and is vying to secure Rs 500 crore in revenues by 2020.