Home is the most prized possession for a family. They spend their time and hard earned money on making everything just perfect. The millennial generation, known for its unconventional preferences, considers their living space an extension to their personality. They want to own every corner of their home and reclaim it in a manner that shows who they are.
Even those who live in Tier-2 or Tier-3 cities and towns want only the very best when it comes to the home décor. However, the cost, or the perception of it being a bit too high for their budget does play a spoilsport for many. This is where an innovative startup, Dezinebox, comes in for the rescue.
Conceptualized by Architect Shweta Deshmukh, Dezinebox (www.dezinebox.io
) is already vowing its customers across the nation and fast growing in popularity. We caught up with Shweta to find out how Dezinebox can make anyone’s dream for a perfect home come true.
What is the core business proposition of Dezinebox as a startup? What problems does it aim to solve with its expertise?
Today everyone living in a small or a big city aspires for personalized space! We have observed that in Tier-1 & Tier-2 cities nobody provides part design services at affordable rates, like if someone wants only one wall design or small study corner. These people turn to online furniture portals but get more confused due to so many choices as no assistance available to choose quality products within the person’s budget.
These people with moderate budgets are apprehensive of approaching established architects or designers due to the fear of price escalations and delays. Similarly, people from Tier-3 or 4 towns build their house with the help of local contractors but aspire to have a good design from an established architect. So, there is an obvious need gap that Dezinebox aims to bridge.
We take inputs from our customers online in the form of videos/site photos/drawings/dimensions etc. We involve them in the design process by showing panoramic views and walk-throughs. Then we provide our final design file with all technical drawings, 3Ds and a shopping list with hyperlinks, and estimates. This protects our customer against Price Escalations, Delays & Low Quality Materials. We give transparent details of every item with its Rate, Quality, Brand & Source to get it from. We even tell them the rates/sq.ft for better negotiation and design tips which would save their time and money. So our solutions act as a Design Insurance at affordable rates! We also give part services like colour consultancy, lighting ideas, flooring ideas, Vaastu consultancy, furniture designs and complete room designing rates starting from just Rs.1000/room. That, I believe, is the most affordable price for these services!
Tell us a bit more about the Founders of Dezinebox.
I am Shweta Deshmukh, the Principal Architect and Founder of Dezinebox. I always dreamt of being an Architect. Being from a small town, establishing my Architectural & Interior Design firm in Mumbai was quite a challenge for me. I have a history of Epilepsy which troubled me a lot in my academic and professional lives. However, spirituality turned my life around and taught me to use it as a stepping stone. It has made me strong and resilient woman that I am today.
As a professional Architect, I have 19 years of domain experience and many awards and recognitions to my credits. Some of my recognitions include awards like “Exceptional Woman of Excellence” “Best Coworking Design of the year” “Archid Award” by Fortune street, and “Most Innovative Firm of the Year 2019”. I am a member of the jury for AceTech Design Wall powered by The Economic Times for the past 3 years. I was also recently featured among “Top 10 Women Led Start-ups of Mumbai in 2020.”
Abhijeet Deshmukh, Co-founder of Dezinebox heads our Marketing and advertising division. He is an Ex-Citi Banker with 16 years of experience in marketing and merchant banking. He is a visiting faculty at Amity University as well as NMIMS, ITM Business School. Abhijeet is also pursuing his PhD and a course in Digital Marketing from MICA. He is an ex-cofounder of another startup and has headed Navi Mumbai Chamber of Commerce to develop the Startup Ecosystem.
What about your Eureka moment? Give us a background on how you people mulled over the idea prior to starting up and how you actually took the plunge.
I had conceived the idea for Dezinebox in 2014 and launched it. However, as I was expecting our first baby after almost 10 years of marriage with Abhijeet, I chose motherhood as my priority. After the arrival of our daughter, Abhijeet quit his job and we both became full time parents for almost 2 years to enjoy parenthood. This was what we had been waiting for so long.
We both decided to restart Dezinebox together and re-launched it in 2017. It started gaining momentum 2018 onwards. In the last two and a half years, we have enabled hundreds of customers in several countries to successfully take charge of their home décor as well as building designs while keeping a firm hold on the costs. They all love Dezinebox for making it possible for them.
So, our product-market fit is well tested and battle ready! We are now looking forward to expanding our reach and touching the lives of thousands, and then millions of people over the next few years!
Tell us about the Early days and how you people drafted Dezinebox’s business blueprint.
My firm Shweta Deshmukh & Associates has worked on weekend homes, multiplexes & malls, farm houses, and many commercial and residential interiors projects. I designed many small and big projects without site visits in my practice too. When online furniture portals started flooding Indian market it was just the right time to ride the wave.
Abhijeet has always been a very creative person but couldn’t pursue it due to his past job commitments. So he gave a boost to the idea of online design and structured the ecosystem of Product & Design Partners. So, when Dezinebox designs your house in any location online, we can also help you in execution by referring our Design Partners in the respective city. We also refer material from our Product Partners to avail additional discounts. Today, many national and international brands are registered with us as our product partners.
What kind of challenges did you people face in early days? Any anecdotes that you’d like to share?
Initially, we strived a lot to get our customers for first few months. It was a big struggle to convince them to pay for Online Design Services. Then we participated in Y-combinators Online Start-ups School in 2018 and Start-up Leadership Program in 2019. These two programs turned out to be important milestones for us. We learnt a lot and could see what we were not doing right. We dismantled the entire framework and restructured it multiple times to be sure it was right. We evolved through this process and finally reached here today. This journey was quite overwhelming for both of us, but equally satisfying. Today we are part of NSRCEL IIM-B pre-incubation program and it has turned out to be a huge and remarkable achievement in our journey.
Where has the start-up reached today, and how are you guys sustaining in the current pandemic situation?
Decentralization is one of the key aftereffects of this pandemic. The relevance of livable space is changing today. Houses now will be technically more equipped and spacious. In this COVID-19 situation we have done exceptionally well and expanded our technical and marketing team. We have marked 50% growth month on month since March 2020. Online is the need of the hour and we’re already doing it right! We feel that this is the time when people will understand the merits and value of our idea and will open up to embrace it.
Also, we have created opportunities for local designers or contractors in small cities who have got a major setback to their existing job or business. We collaborate with them in order to expand our Design Partner Ecosystem. In return we refer our Online Design Projects to them for execution. This is a perfect win-win for all of us.
So, what next? What is the Vision for Dezinebox?
Currently, we’re focusing on rapid growth while also managing it well. While our current focus is on India, we want to scale up by increasing our team strength, upgrading technology, and expansion in other countries too. We’d love to replicate this model in the USA, Middle East and Europe. We will need to build our Product & Design Partner Ecosystem for the same. We recognize that there will challenges to be addressed and we are fully geared up for that too.
We are also building a community - DezineSocial for all those who need assistance, help, guidance regarding anything in Interior designing or building construction. It is an exclusive community for all our customers as well as those who seek to benefit from it. All are welcome to join our community https://www.facebook.com/groups/dezinesocial
We’d also like to invite everyone to our online platform www.dezinebox.io
and check out our services and portfolio. We’re confident that it will be worth your while!
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.