The demand for certain products is or would be far higher than the ability to deliver the products. The furniture industry is one such example of such a scenario. The market is mostly unorganized and lacks variety, quality and supply strength. Keeping all this in mind Camabeds a part of Natasian Corporation Pvt Ltd was founded in 2013 by 2 businessmen from Spain Fernando Villuendas and Antonio Fernandez. They came to India driven by country’s enormous economic growth and demand for high quality services and products. Both of them are engaged in various ventures in both the continents like solar energy, trade and even laundry and dry cleaning. Along with Kamil Pawlowicz, who is the brand’s CEO, they created Camabeds as a result of the company’s mission of making it easy to buy great value products everywhere in India.
Their aim was simple- to create furniture solutions of modern, European designs which would have high usability and low price. Also in order to make the model work, they had to manufacture them fast and deliver it anywhere in India.
The idea and market
Like every business startup, Camabeds faced a lot of obstacles on their way to success. Since the idea was pretty new in India, they decided to import certain models from Spain, where their company has a HQ. They ran tests in the online marketplace to check whether the products will sell and what would be the client’s opinion. The products sold well, however they quickly learnt that their beds’ height was not what customers in India expected and they were faced with certain number of returns. This gave them a brainwave- there was demand, but they needed to learn more about the market and adjust the products accordingly.
In the first stage, they decided to start with production in Kolkata, where their Indian HQ is located, however that complicated the logistics. Because of distance from main markets like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore the transportation costs were higher than expected, therefore they shifted their production unit to Pune, which is more centralized and hence they could serve their clients faster.
A big share of the revenue comes from online sales from their own e-commerce platform www.camabeds.com and through partners like Amazon, Flipkart or Snapdeal. Online sales was their first priority as it was relatively new and growing fast when they started the business and this gave them the ability to reach out to a great number of clients effortlessly. Currently they have dealers of their products in most major cities.
Furniture products, in many cases, require better customer insights like feel, touch, softness which cannot be conveyed easily by photos or videos in websites. Entering the offline market helped them scale up the business, though, to achieve significant numbers, it took several months. In recent months the offline share sales has been around 80%. Hotels and guest houses are main customers for their folding, guest beds and roll-away beds.
The initial investment made for Camabeds was mainly from manufacturing stock for 6 months of 10 SKUs which they planned to sell online. After that period, they invested in human resources, marketing and sales departments and advertising which helped them achieve their goals offline.
“The potential in the market we operate in is enormous considering the demographics and players in the market. We look forward to further growth of sales from online as this is very new and relatively small, compared to the traditional retail market. In the next year our expectation is 10 crores business from around 70 SKUs, which is around 20% higher in comparison to the current year” says Kamil.
Considering the structure of the market their competitors are in a few levels of business. First would be online players like Urban Ladder. Then there are local manufacturers which mainly are part of the huge, yet, unorganized market.
Since the market is relatively new, it’s difficult to plan in the long run, therefore to provide great products in a short span of time, Camabeds has to be extremely flexible with the production. That forces them to have limited number of SKUs and keep very close view on each product performance and manufacture only the best-selling ones and rest of them are usually modified to adjust to market expectation.
One of the biggest challenges in online sales is the distribution of products in a short time. Clients are always impatient. They want their new piece of furniture to be delivered “now”. That could only be achieved by having a strong courier partner and proper stock maintenance.
The road ahead
Being one of the top sellers of furniture online by now, Camabeds’ focus is now oriented towards improving and extending their dealer network in the smaller cities and towns in the country as well as starting a chain of their own stores in particular cities. Besides that, they plan to enter neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka or Nepal.
For a start-up, the industry poses several challenges. The demand however will continue to multiply. The good news is that due to the real estate sector the furniture start –ups will be benefited. Also with the increasing number of jobs and offices there will never be a dearth of buyers in the market. The number of people coming into the country in search of opportunities can’t be quantified which is also a good sign. These factors are all a boon for the furniture industry whose future seems to be very bright.
Camabeds with its unique style and taste has no doubt a million more opportunities ahead, with its online and offline presence.
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