Q1: Your Company has contributed to the change from traditional furniture marketing methods to online marketing. Please tell us about the journey of your e-commerce platform. What were the challenges that you faced while dealing with delivery system in a big country like India?
A1: Stitchwood has come a long way since we launched in March 2015, both in terms of scale as well as our offerings. We are now offering pretty much any kind of furniture customized to the customers requirements. India presents a lot of challenges, in terms of finding the right manufacturing as well as logistics partners, given that the industry is hugely fragmented, and there is very little technology being used, especially by the MSMEs.
Q2: Modern Woodwork readers are aspiring furniture manufacturers in India who are seeking new avenues to succeed in better marketing of their products . They would like to know about the advantages of selling through your Company over the traditional methods of marketing [i.e. :via Showrooms / Dealers/ Expos etc.]
A2: As a selling platform, we ensure that we work together with our manufacturing partners, not only on selling products, but also sharing our technology, design and quality expertise, which helps them be more productive. We try to inculcate best practices, which also help the manufacturers scale up their volume as they work with us.
Q 3: On line marketing is the order of the day. Our readers would like to know What are the current trends in terms of online furniture sale i.e.: what kind of furniture is selling more on online portals – for example : solid wood / panel furniture or modular furniture? Can you please elaborate?
A3: Online selling is equally relevant to all kinds of furniture, most relevant for loose and light furniture, to heavy and fixed furniture. Stitchwood specializes in selling customized heavy furniture units like sofas, beds and dining table, which are categories one would have thought to never sell online a few years back. Selling fixed panel furniture online is still a challenge, but that needs to be tackled through the right offline engagements to compliment the online offerings.
Q 4: What are the basic requirements you are looking from the furniture manufacturer to be a good partner with your company?
A4 : Amongst many parameters we look for, the most important are; a heavy focus on quality, usage of genuine raw material, usage of the right machinery, a capacity of 50-200 units of furniture per month, and a hunger to grow their business and change with the fast-changing times.
Q 5: How do you bridge the gap between supply and demand that is between ordering the furniture & delivery of furniture?
A5: Stitchwood, like many other online and offline platforms, aims to plug the huge gap between the manufacturers and the consumers. We try to solve the three-fold problem of access, communication and delivery. Access issues exist when customers do not know where to find the right manufacturer, or do not have access to them. Communication is an issue when customers are not able to communicate to manufacturers about what they want. Delivery is an issue when there are delays and damages in final product when it finally reaches the customer. We try and plug these three gaps through technology tools.
Q 6: What is your message to Indian Furniture manufacturers?
A6: Indian furniture manufacturers need to be aligned to the global trends in furniture manufacturing, not only in terms of machinery, but also usage of newer materials and the right technology tools to help them improve productivity. Automation is the need of the hour, in order to reduce dependency on unreliable labour. Lastly, understanding the changing consumer trends is critical in order to adapt to manufacturing newer styles of furniture. There is no reason why customers should import furniture from China and other Asian countries, if Indian manufacturers start adapting to new manufacturing technologies.
Stitchwood is an online customised furniture store that empowers you to design and create furniture that fits your requirement. Stitchwood not only offers an easy-to-use online customisation interface but it also allows you to visualize your creation to the finest detail. What’s more, we bring to you beautiful, unique and personalized furniture at affordable prices in an easy and hassle-free way. Stitchwood was founded by AjitShegaonkar and Vikas Nair.
Ajit Shegaonkar graduated from IIT Bombay (Mechanical Engineering, BTech) in 2004, and completed his Masters degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, following which he returned to India and worked as an investment banker for 6 years before founding Stitchwood.
Vikas Nair graduated from IIT Bombay (Mechanical Engineering, BTech+MTech) in 2005, and completed his post-graduation in management from IIM Ahmedabad, following which he worked in supply chain and strategy consulting for 4 years and with a private equity fund for 4 years.