Modelling homes with modular furnishings

Aarush Kitchens and Bedrooms
Suraj Naik has built Aarush Kitchens and Bedrooms into a business with international benchmarks

By Samay Shetti

Over the last decade, the furniture market in the country has witnessed a resounding growth of modular furniture. Documenting over 40% growth according to the recent trend, the segment is well on its way to dominate the market in a very near future. Having taken note of this well in advance, Aarush Kitchen and Bedrooms ventured into it with ample time on their hand to make a mark and cement their place in the Goan business landscape.

Started by Suraj Naik in the year 2014, the company has registered a substantial growth since. “We have witnessed a 100% growth in the last financial year and presently have a projected growth of 300% in this year,” says Suraj. With their deals mainly focused in their area of kitchen and bedroom furniture manufacturing, the company already has names like Blum, Hafele, Hettich, Greenply, Siemens, Bosch, Greenlam, Merino, Dupont, Rehau, Action Tesa and Franke enumerated in their list of associated partners. In the words of the founder, “The vision of our company is to be recognised as one of the top global furniture manufacturers with products ranging from premium to commercial, along with delivering the highest quality standards.” To achieve this, the firm is powered by a diligent team of employees who put in their unique skill sets from various backgrounds together to produce state-of the-art modular furniture precisely as per the needs and requirements of the customer. Other than that, the firm also deploys high-end machinery sourced from Germany and Austria.

Aarush Kitchen and Bedrooms, a venture named after the founder’s son, grew out of a construction firm that was being run by Suraj Naik since 2003. Being a first generation entrepreneur himself, Suraj started his entrepreneurial journey immediately after completion of the course of Diploma in Civil Engineering from Kumta. With an experience of over a decade in contractual assignments in the construction field and a keen observation of the changing market trends, he observed that, with passing time, the demand for modular furniture was gradually taking a steep incline in the upper quadrant. That was the time in around the year 2013, that he began tinkering with this new venture in a niche of furniture domain.

This gradual shift in customer demand was backed by the overwhelming advantages of the modular furniture over its conventional counterparts. Modular furniture is basically factory-made, ready to install and use furniture which can be used according to the need and room spacing. It’s easy to install or dismantle according to need and gives a modern look to one’s interiors. Moreover, considering the limitation of space in an apartment or flat, modular furniture is very helpful to save space, as it is completely customisable and can be designed precisely as per the requirement with an impeccable finish. Rapid urbanisation too, is another aspect that is driving the segment’s growth phenomenon, owing to its quick deployability and being completely collapsible. With next to no hassle in the manufacturing process and delivery, greatly increases its portability. A recent report by TechSci Research called ‘India Furniture Market Forecast and Opportunities 2019’, the furniture market in the country is projected to cross USD 32 billion by 2019. However, more than 85% of it is currently made up of the unorganised sector where conventional methods of carpentry are still in use. “This is also where modular furniture has an edge as they are manufactured in industrial units using precision machinery, cutting out any manual labour in the process, including the imperfection and time lapse associated with it,” says Suraj.

Aarush presently caters only to the domestic markets along with partnering with builders for full projects. The company focuses on the niche area of the elite section of clientele for now. “We have tie-ups with several architects and builders across the state,” says Suraj.  They have their industrial unit in Corlim Industrial estate and a showroom in St. Inez, Panaji – both having been established at the time of inception in the year 2014. Reminiscing the starting phase, Suraj says,  “The starting was the most difficult time for us, as the investment was very high considering both the industrial unit and the showroom had to be opened together. Customers acquisition was also a challenge as the concept of the modular kitchen had not yet spread out in Goa.” This challenge was mitigated by the founder and his team taking it upon themselves to go around places and market their products. Gradually, they saw the growth however, registering a growth of 40% in their first year and going up to 60% by the third. The pivotal point in their business came in the 2017, shares Suraj. Registering a growth of one hundred percent, they also turned profitable that year. He credits this to the tie-up with Mahesh Pai’s Financial Hub and Mahesh taking up the mantle of a business coach. “Mahesh’s advice opened me to new thought processes which led me to explore great possibilities,” says Suraj, “Another great factor that brought about a complete change in our way of carrying forward our business is a trip to Blum GmbH in Austria,” he adds. Suraj shares that it was at Blum that he was exposed to the latest trends in the modular furnishing sector. Moreover, he learned the importance of research and development process in a business, he adds. To illustrate the point he says, “We divide a kitchen into 5 zones. This is observed through certain kitchen zone arrangement the average walk distance approximately is 1927 kms in 20 years. However, using proper zone arrangement we can reduce it by 20% of the distance a person walk in the kitchen to 1530 kms in 20 years. Thus making the kitchen more functional,” he says. “Our objective is to ease this further by designing the kitchen more efficiently aimed at reducing the user’s effort” he adds.

Keeping this in mind, Aarush Kitchens and Bedrooms specifically design their furniture and consoles considering individual customers to provide them with an optimal environment and comforts. Factors considered are the client’s physical stature, special requirements, difficulties if any and so on. The products offered are in three packages – Pristine, Marvel and Signature series for Modular Kitchens with Pristine being the economical one and Signature being the most exquisite while for their bedroom counterpart, its Serene, Elite and Ritz series. They also offer modular wardrobes which include the options of Swing, Harmony which slides and folds when opened, sliding doors and walk-in closets. “When we offer a proposal to clients, we offer them two layouts to choose from. One is by our designer which is made to be an optimal solution for the customer and the other being one with the client’s preferences, but optimised wherever possible. Once the design is drawn up, the client is given a 3D presentation of the design so that they can get an idea of the look the designs would play up to before the manufacturing starts,” he states. The designers employed at the firm are trained in Austria under Blum; and the employees at the production plant are also trained by a delegation from Blum. Suraj also noted that all the professionals employed at his firm are freshers. “When I started, in this domain I was, myself, new to the field. Hence, I understand the hassles of being one very well. The only thing I look for in candidates while hiring them is their willingness to learn and add value,” he says.

The plant is presently equipped with precision machines – panel saw, edge bender, multi boring machine, simultaneous drillers and so on. A new hot press and a high-end edge bender will be added to their arsenal by the end of October. By eliminating the use of glue completely from the bending process would give a seamless finish to the products. These new pieces of machinery will reduce the processing time of each panel, thus ramping up the company’s production rate exponentially. This would be necessary now considering that they plan to expand across the states with new outposts in Kolhapur in Maharashtra and Mangalore in Karnataka, while addressing the needs of the entire Konkan coast simultaneously. In long term, they also look forward to expanding their production unit over other premises.

Over time, driven by their mission, Aarush Kitchens and Bedrooms have made a resolute mark in their domain and continue to grow further with the same fervour

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