Interior designers are those who make your dream home happier place to live and workplace more productive. An innovative and creative mind with the help of vast experience helps you to convert the house to a Home.
Dezinebox is a bunch of such creative, innovative and experienced people working together to design spaces beautifully. The masterminds behind the growth of Dezinebox are its founders Shweta Deshmukh & Abhijeet Deshmukh.
In a candid talk with Shweta Deshmukh, let’s know more about Dezinebox and the interior design landscape.
Shweta tells us about Dezinebox, A box full of creative treasures…
Dezinebox is a start-up launched by Abhijeet Deshmukh & myself in 2017. Dezinebox provides online design solutions with the ecosystem of product partners and design partners. We curate all the design elements in the form of an innovative online shopping list with a hyperlink to assist the customers for shopping while designing his space online. Everybody in this world wishes to create his or her own dream space. In tier-II &tier-III cities, people have their apprehensions about approaching an architect for a small project. People would not consult an architect for small work, and even an architect would not like to take it up due to the commercials involved. We are precisely trying to bridge this gap!! We have crafted online products like colour consultancy, flooring ideas, lighting ideas, Vastu consultancy, furniture designing, wall décor ideas ranging from Rs.1000-Rs.7000 per room & designing architecture projects like homes, farmhouse, school, hotels & multiplex. Peperfry, Serge Ferrari, Legrand, Everest, Nitco, Berger, Jaipur Rugs and many more product brands are our product partners. We have many architects and designer registered with us in all major cities of India.
A journey with hurdles makes destiny beautiful, here she tells us about the initial challenges they faced…
Although I have been practicing as an architect under my firm Shweta Deshmukh & Associates for 10 years it was quiet challenging to work on a start-up! Entrepreneurship is an emotional rollercoaster ride. It every day makes you, breaks you, pulls you, pushes you, takes you high or buries you down, but it keeps you moving ahead hour-by-hour & day-by-day. Starting something disruptive like online design was full of challenges. We took almost a year to build the framework of it and then the website of it. Suddenly one day during our Y Combinator Startup School graduation, we realised we missed it all, and then we dismantled the same framework putting water on our year-long struggle. I remember we build our new strategy, structure and website in the next ten days. It is an enriching experience to speak to almost 5000+ customers till date situated in every nook and corner of our country. We iterated our offerings, pricing, strategy and model and will continue to modify it in the future as well. We feel that the beauty of entrepreneurship & Overall, it’s an incredible journey so far.
Shweta tells us about the first few years of their interior designing company…
When we launched Dezinebox in 2017, we could sell only 2 boxes for first six months. We had many expectations when we started off. We didn’t want to disclose our identity, share our contact details and wanted to provide design services. Now when we look back we found it so amateurish. If we don’t disclose our identity how would customers trust us to design their spaces? We evolved by making our own mistakes. We restructured our model so many times in last 3 years. It was really tough to sustain through these failures. But we sailed through it.
The triggering point for the growth of company in her words…
We started steady and slow. After a year we realised by our mistakes and started altering our idea. But it was YC start-up School graduation and Start-up Leadership Program that helped us to identify our minuses. We welcomed all the suggestions put forward by them and executed it. This triggered the growth of Dezinebox.
When we asked about the reason behind her company’s long-standing success, she said…
As an Architect I am totally in love with my profession! My work gives me immense joy and peace. But when we started working on Dezinebox as a start-up to give online design services, I realised passion is not enough. It also needs lots of technical & practical insight. Abhijeet exactly balances that He is an ex-CITI banker and worked with start-ups as a co-founder in the past. His ever evolving strategies, understanding customers’ demands and requirements, reading market trends for the start-up industry all came together as a complete package for success. We both complement each other perfectly.
What influenced you to start an Online Designing Company?
This is an era of digitization. Every other day there is a new app or a company launched for some online products. Interiors industry is rapidly evolving online market. If we look at the statistics Interior Designing Industry of India is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 8% from US$ 837 Million in 2017 to US$ 1,138 Million in 2021. I am passionate Architect who was happily running my architectural and interior firm. I had this idea to start a design start-up for online services for a long time in my mind which Abhijeet harmonized with. His start-up and fiancé experience along with my architectural and interior experience showed a good congruence and Dezinebox was evolved.
She tells us about their quality offerings…
We provide online design services across the globe. We had created products of services. Our online products are colour consultancy, flooring ideas, lighting ideas, Vastu consultancy, furniture designing, wall décor ideas ranging from Rs.1000-Rs.7000 per room. None of the designers of Architect would give consultancy for such small requirements of clients. We receive all requirements online from the client from any corner of the world. After understanding their requirements, we involve them in the complete design process and then deliver the final product. Our product ecosystem helps us to give a shopping list online. They help our customers execute their projects at a reasonable cost. If some clients, ask for offline services, then we recommend our registered design partner in that particular location.
How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your services?
We wish to create our footprint in all major cities of the world. We always believed that Dezinebox could serve globally. We began providing services in the middle east & then realized that our ecosystem was not equipped to handle overseas clients then. So, we decided to focus on India. Now, after testing the Indian market, we wish to focus on foreign customers, especially the NRI community.
How do you combine beauty and function while designing?
We always prioritize functionality over beauty. Once the basic space requirements are addressed, then each area can be enhanced with various design elements. Nature plays a vital role in our designs, and it always reflects through some carved out design niches like cosy green corners or courtyards. We are more sensitive towards the environment and follow sustainability. We strongly feel the material that leaves the least carbon footprints on the environment should be proposed and recommended. This would be our little contribution towards mother earth.
Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
I have professional experience of 18 years. I worked in Pune for few initial years and then shifted to Mumbai after my marriage. I worked for few architectural firms in internal years. I established my firm Shweta Deshmukh & Associates in 2010. I have worked on variety of Architectural & Interior projects such as weekend homes, resorts, multiplex & mall, farmhouses, bungalows, co-working spaces, incubation hubs, restaurants, luxury residences. Abhijeet had worked with Citi for more than 10years. He worked with a start-up as a cofounder for a year after that. Also, he is a visiting faculty in various management colleges like Amity University, NMIMS, ITM etc. He is also pursuing his PhD.
What are the key achievements of your entrepreneurial journey?
I am a jury for ACEtech Design wall and Grandstand Awards for consecutive 3 years. I was conferred with “Exceptional Woman of Excellence” award by Women Economic Forum and All Ladies Leagues in 2017. I received Archid Award by Fortune street in 2019. Our firm received “Most Innovative Firm” award in 2019. My incubation Hub project in Mumbai, was awarded as “Best Co-working Space” in 2019. I was invited as a speaker by WADe Asia to talk on “Architect Building an IT platform. Also, I was featured as “50 Phenomenal Architects”, “Inspiring 50 Architects” “Woman Achiever” “India’s Young Architect & Interior Designer”
The team is a backbone of any business, here she says something about her team…
We truly believe in growing together. Our team is like our family. If we wish to be rich, then we also need to make our team rich. We encourage and motivate the team by involving them in all important decisions of our company. We don’t believe in cabin culture and there is a lot of trust and faith we have among our team.
Is there any special experience with your clients you would like to highlight?
I want to give a context here. When we started two years back, customers never believed us as they couldn’t see us. They couldn’t think how we would design their spaces without going there and without meeting them? So it took us almost two years to earn the trust of our valuable customers. We created a G+3 bungalow of 4300sft at Fatehabad, Hotel & restaurant in Goa, a luxury apartment at Alibag, a Living room in Srinagar and many more, a home at Buldhana, residential interiors in Pune, Jaipur. They all are on the list of our happy customers, and they refer back to us many more now.
With the rising technology, the Interior Designing sector has changed over a period of time, Shweta tells us more about it… Have you ever thought of buying furniture online a decade ago? But today we do that! There are no more trade secrets in this industry now. Everything is available online and customers are much more aware and up to date about current trends. They have so many options available online for all products as well as even designers. We are exactly making use of this. We empower our customer’s to execute our online designs. We are giving them DIY solutions.