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Why the House of Kieraya wants furniture to touch all income levels

Ajith Mohan Karimpana, founder of the House of Kieraya, believes the category deserves an omni-channel approach which would cover new and pre-owned categories supported by ecommerce to drive growth.

About five-years-ago when Furlenco and Furbicle began to make a mark in the homes of Indians who were migrating to multiple cities the concept of pricing furniture, as a subscription product, was completely new. Now that the idea has been tested and ready to scale, Ajith Mohan the founder of the House of Kieray, the parent organisation of the brands

Prava, Furlenco and Furbicle, spoke to about the future of furniture rentals and his vision to build the best experience with great designs. Here are the excerpts of the interview:

How did this ten year journey begin?

Ajith Mohan: Although I loved the education system and I enjoyed working there, I found the USA to be very boring. All the first principles innovation have been done, it is a developed country. They are solving super technical problems like going to Mars. In my case I wanted to focus on what needs to be solved here in our world. I did not want to be in investment banking and a corporate job. I decided to move to India because there are so many problems to be solved. I asked my employer, Goldman Sachs at the time, to allow me to work out of India and that's when the startup idea began taking shape.

You had personal experiences and that's how you decided to focus on the category?

Ajith Mohan: I sold all my furniture, bought in America, at a very low price; about $5000 worth of items were sold for $500. Upon arriving in India I bought furniture again and I realised that I was mis-sold products that did not match my expectations. For example, the furniture store owner had told me that the furniture I had purchased was made out of teak wood. It turned out to be anything but teak. I realised then that furniture, as a category, suffered from issues such as packaging, logistics, pricing and importantly they had been built and designed to stay at home forever. The furniture was not designed to move around or for a new customer who would want to use the product and return it.

Also corporate employees travelling for short stints would have their companies paying full price for the furniture. The companies would pay through their nose to shop furniture for expats. This was when I started up, a decade ago, to solve all these things and I did not, to be honest, know what would happen. I was a first time entrepreneur. I went about logically building the business. I began working on pricing a rental sofa, which was not done before, I had to decide how much a customer would pay on a monthly basis for renting a Rs 40000 sofa. We were the first ones to set these prices in India. We had to position the brand and show what is of value to the customer.

(Please watch or listen to the entire podcast to know more about Ajith's ambition and plans.)

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