In 2019, surveys indicated that India’s furniture market was booming towards garnering 16.09 million by 2023. With the high growth of companies, as well as a variety of products and modes of purchase, the furniture industry was growing both due to the increasing number of furniture based firms as well as demand for furniture. Over 2019, the industry has progressed immensely. Modular kitchens were in trend everywhere, the internet saw more searches on interior designing and gradually, the market and demand expanded to tier-II cities. ‘Personalized customer experience’ was the most often chanted mantra, with all brands constantly trying to outdo not only competitors but also creating better versions of themselves. 2019 saw an immense demand for space-saving furniture and smart homes with maximized avenues for lower carbon footprint.
In contrast, the beginning of 2020 was an immense shock with the uncontrollable spread of COVI-19 which continues to spread an aura of doubt and confusion even today. With lockdown measures, the furniture industry has been affected as others. However, there are some silver linings to this situation as well. Firstly, with more people preferring to work from home, there is an increased demand for comfortable furniture at home, especially office equipment. Many employers like Google and Amazon have been offering up to US$1,000 expense reimbursements for home office equipment to enable the creation of productive work experience at homes. According to research by Capgemini: “50 percent of clienteles are anticipating a decrease in their furniture spending, whereas around 23 percent are expecting an increase in such purchases, owing to the changing lifestyle patterns, specifically with ‘Work From Home’ becoming the new normal”. The second trend seen in India is an increased demand for eco-friendly solutions. From the increasing number of thrifting stores on Instagram to large-scale recycled clothing adopted by larger conglomerates, one can see the beginning of a huge shift towards reusing and recycling. In an interview by the Business Times, Raghupathy S, senior director of Godrej Green Centre stated that “ the market potential for eco-friendly products and services is over $40 billion”.
In light of these trends, refurbished Furniture can hence be an excellent entrepreneurial initiative today. This requires several skills but is a highly rewarding experience monetarily as well as in terms of the skill-building and artistic experience. Here, we provide you with some introductory information as well as tips to begin your furniture refurbishing experience.
What are the skills required?
For you to individually take up the furniture refurbishing business, you would require skills of carpentry. This would be helpful in basic repair such as tightening screws as well as more complicated affairs such as resetting legs. You will also have to remove or strip paint from the furniture, sandpaper it, and apply new coats for a complete finish. If you choose to work with cloth-based furniture, you might also have to upholster them - replacement of fabric-covered furniture.
If you are one with exquisite taste, you could also begin a refurbished furniture business that deals only with the reworking of antiques. This would require more care and skill, and you could explore hiring of people acquainted with carpentry if necessary. You would also need significant networking, and the possible help of an expert to ensure that the products are authentic.
How do I create a workspace?
With the pandemic heavily looming over us all, the workspace is best avoided due to potential infection. For the furniture refurbishing business, you could choose to convert a part of your home into a workspace as well as rent a space for the same. In the beginning, it is quite cost-effective to create a workstation within your home to reduce costs. This does give you maximum flexibility in terms of work timings. If you already have space and equipment to refinish furniture, your startup expenses will be relatively low.
Pricing and Profits
In research conducted on furniture products, it was found that IKEA was the top brand as it offered “trendy styles at low prices”. This doesn’t require you to sell at absurdly low prices, but customers’ trust is primarily gained by fair pricing. The refurbished furniture must be at a relatively low cost than the original for people to even think about a potential purchase. People are also willing to spend more if they are convinced of the quality- your marketing and user experience will heavily impact your pricing.
Initially, pricing your products could be a little difficult. Different items require different services, so you will have to individually estimate costs for each furniture piece to accommodate the cost of materials as well as the time required for work. However, with practice, this does get quite comfortable as in all new ventures. In the long run, if you manage to create a solid clientele, then your profits will be significant.
Sale and Clientele
While starting a business is quite intimidating, the furniture refurbishing business holds a personal touch to its nature and will attract customers. Competition could be strong in some parts of the country, but by providing quality experience, you can garner an initial client base. You could also expand this through referrals, and this would particularly be very helpful in the refurbishment of antique furniture. You can also sell through online platforms, which has boomed extensively during the pandemic. The online furniture category, which includes furniture, decor, kitchen, hardware, and services, has shown a growth of 700 percent annually; the future growth is estimated to be close to $2 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) over the next two years. This is sure to continue to grow due to ease of access, in addition to concerns over safety right now. Investing in a website that reflects your essence and ethics will be a boost for your marketing and prove to be a worthy investment.
One important factor to be considered during this venture is safety. Repairing furniture involves a potential risk of injury, and the process of painting and varnish will expose you to uncomfortable fumes as well. Ensure that you are well informed about the procedure and safety precautions from an expert. It is best advised to consider an apprenticeship with an existing furniture firm to acquaint yourself with the skills as well as procedural safety involved in this business. There is also a significant rise in the demand for multifunctional furniture to provide quality work from home experience. This trend is also influenced by the financial situation where people are apprehensive about purchases as pay cuts and loss of jobs have risen to a great extent. Studying the needs and keeping yourself updated about trends is indispensable for a successful venture.
The Global News Wire states that “The Indian Work From Home (WFH) Furniture Market is forecast to grow from an estimated $2.22 billion in FY2021 to $3.49 billion by FY2026”. While the furniture industry was not added as an essential business during the lockdown, it has become quite a necessity due to the current working condition as most IT firms and educational institutions are in full swing despite being work from home. The situation looks uncertain, and this setup could extend well into 2021, our furniture refurbishing startup can convert this need into a significant business by concentrating on brand image, digital marketing especially social media presence, and a commitment to quality products and customer experience.
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