On 3rd December 2017, a new name in the field of home furnishing and decor has opened up in Patia, Bhubaneswar. Promising the consumers of Odisha for the first time an experience of national and international level called Estética, a first of its kind, furnishing studio concept in Bhubaneswar. We, at Coffee Bytes, caught up with Shashwat and Sambit Satpathy who are set to carve their names in the home furnishing arena. For them, it is not about merely selling furnishing but helping their customers find, the right solution for their spaces. Their tagline ‘Create.Love.Live’ is an extension of their promise of co-creation with their customers.
Tell us a little about yourselves? How did the idea take hold of foraying into being an entrepreneur?
Shashwat– We both have spent most of our lives outside the state. I grew up in Bihar, did my higher studies in Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad. I have worked in the field of qualitative market research and have been studying consumer behaviour in all major industry verticals.Initially after marriage, we stayed in Mumbai where Sambit worked with companies like Guilford UK, Siyarams, KK Birla Group. In 2008, we shifted to Ahmedabad as Sambit got an opportunity to head the furnishing division for Sintex Industries. He later on moved to a leadership role at the textile division of Reliance Industries. It was here in Ahmedabad that we were exposed to the idea of starting something of our own. Our respective professional experiences helped us to pick up the various aspects of business and gave us the confidence of starting Estética. It was a big decision given the fact that both our families do not have any business background..
Sambit– For us it was important to know what we were getting into. We made some frequent visits to the city to understand the market and study the gaps. During this period, we had a lot of interaction with friends and family. On one such occasion, we happened to get exposed to some furnishing choices made by one of our acquaintance for their newly done up home. We could see some immediate gaps in quality and which led us to do some further research on the topic. Shashwat’s market research background helped us craft an optimum design for conducting a consumer survey in the twin city of Bhubaneswar- Cuttack for making need gap assessments. The findings helped us to zero down on this line of business..
So Shashwat and Sambit tell us about what Estética is all about? And how is it different from the average furnishing store?
Shashwat– Estética is all about visualization and providing a platform for the consumer to design their signature homes by choosing the furnishing which best suits and defines them. The people in the city have shown a tremendous evolution in their tastes and consumption habits over the last few years and Estética strives to capture the imagination of these consumers when it comes to furnishing. We offer them an eclectic range of curtains, upholstery, bed linen, cushions, wallpapers, flooring, blinds.
Sambit– We observed that there were only a few good quality brands present here and those who were present were not offering their best range to the people here. We strongly felt the need to expose more to the consumers and allow them to take an informed decision. We have brought in about 10 brands already and will be adding more to the kitty as we go further. Our focus will be to always bring some exclusive brands which usually do not take the mass retail route but produce some of the finest quality of furnishing fabrics.
Tell us something about your store? As a consumer what lies in store for them?
Shashwat– Earlier the home décor sector in Bhubaneswar was a price driven market. You have to understand if people don’t know the value of the brand they will not be willing to spend for it. And the retailer plays an integral role in driving home this point. Now things are changing and rapidly evolving into a quality conscious and trend driven market.
Sambit– We have designed the studio in a manner that the customer can get the liberty to visualize the design in his/her own settings and we converse further with them to help them narrow down their choices.
So is Estética a leap forward in the field of home décor and furnishing?
Shashwat– We strongly believe that the studio is offering a disruption from the current ways in which furnishing is being consumed. The interaction between the customers and our team will be more to collaborate for their requirements, than just buying and selling. One of the most interesting corners of our studio is where people get access to colour schemes to visualize their entire set of upholstery, cushions and curtains.
Sambit– See when it comes to decorating your house, you can’t just go off and buy something and then realize that it is not going with your vision for the interior.
So suppose you were to buy a sofa and you walk into Estética. We ask you certain simple questions like what kind of social life you have? Do you have many people coming in everyday or is it a select few? What is the age group of people that are staying in the space or is it just a sofa for display? It all depends on you and your taste. We prefer developing the taste of a customer rather than thrusting something onto them. What is also on offer, probably for the first time in the city, is customization. We can get customized designs and finishes done if required. For e.g. you want your kids photographs or their idols on a curtain, we can get that for you! Similarly, if you want your upholstery to have an anti-microbial, stain repellant finishes etc you can have that too right here at the studio.
We could go on and on about this business venture but we think it would be fair to let you decide with a simple example of how important it is for you to be aware about what materials you are using when you are doing up your home. During Sambit’s stint as Business Head of Technical Textiles division of Reliance Industries, he was instrumental in refurbishing the house of one of country’s top businessmen. They had installed some expensive imported curtains for the sea facing room of their daughter. While they looked beautiful with the interiors, they missed out on providing blackouts for the curtains which resulted in colour fading. He was summoned to salvage the situation. His team conducted a situation audit and suggested a different composition of curtains to tackle the direct sunlight falling into the room. Albeit made in India and was much appreciated by the Mumbai based globe-trotting businessman. So people, when you need to furnish your home, you should always give equal importance to purpose as to price! It’s only then that your house will convey the best about you!
By Aditya Nag