We are publishing an interview of Mr. Neerav Jain, Founder & CEO, CityFurnish
Please tell us about the founders
I have done my Bachelor’s in Commerce from Delhi University, and Business & Enterprise Management from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. My first job was with Peppefry as an Export Manager, post which I went on to attend the Lean Launchpad and Business Innovation course at Utrecht University.
I have also worked in various key positions at Climpex furniture and my family business, Chandra Shekhar Exports, and have a career spanning 3 years. Thanks to all the past experiences, I have extensive knowledge about the furniture industry and the skill of managing sales, marketing and business management (B2B and B2C) in addition to formulating strategies for growth with an overall business perspective. I have also attained knowledge about customer segmentation, capturing market share and increasing customer base, a major contributor to CityFurnish being amongst the top three brands in the industry. Leading the team as founder and CEO, the key focus area for me is to drive the company towards growth by way of strengthening the brand and by leveraging upon inherent strengths of the business, offering a one stop solution to customers for their complete furniture and furnishing needs
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
If you look at the present generation, there is a massive shift in the way they pursue their lives. They have a lifestyle completely different from what the previous generation had. The previous generation was open to buying furniture, as they were not keen on switching jobs or cities. But the millennial do not have any such restrictions. A majority of them choose to move to metropolitan cities as these offer more opportunities and better facilities. But the problem which exists with moving around so frequently is the amount of resources available to them, which are somehow limited. Therefore, they look for something that suits their pocket as well as matches their requirements.
CityFurnish wants to be the go-to place for all the consumers who are looking for affordable and durable options. My hometown being Jodhpur, I myself faced this problem when I was studying at Delhi University, and having dealt with it personally, I know exactly what my consumers require and demand for, and I believe I can fulfill those needs.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
The idea behind CityFurnish is an innovative and interesting one. I understand the importance of comfort in the lives of my consumers; therefore ensure that my brand is providing them everything they need.
CityFurnish believes in providing products that not only add to the look of the house, but also ensure that the consumers find them a true value-for-money. The significant advantage of the business is its ability to manufacture and design our furniture at its own facility in Jodhpur providing tremendous advantage, by means of controlling the quality and cost of products. CityFurnish’s in-house technology stack enables the brand to manage inventory at more than 95% efficiency than its competitors and enables faster collection of payments. The products are produced using high quality Sheesham wood to guarantee durability, and are carved with beautiful designs All the products delivered to the customers are as good as new and as a brand Cityfurnish does not reuse the soft furnishings. We deliver and setup the products within 72 hours without any additional charge.
Additionally, we also provide packages of Furniture + Appliances + Mattress and home essentials for hassle free living experience
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Cityfurnish operates on a rental recurring model. Our business model is based on recurring payments as rentals from our customer. With more and more millennials shifting to sharing economy, monthly payment for rentals provides convenience and flexibility to our user. Using technology, we make monthly payments easier by Recurring Payment online or by using ECS. Rental payments provide an affordable solution to the user to furnish their home without the burden of capex and the hassle of maintaining / relocating furniture.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Our user base comprises of value conscious users looking for a temporary and flexible solution to furnishing. Majority users are from salaried background from the age group of 25-33 years of age.
As these users’ lifestyles demand multiple relocations or frequent movement, rentals provide them a hassle free service. Along with the affordability brought in by Cityfurnish, it is a major relief to our users
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
My vision for CityFurnish is to help Indians to move away from the concept of buying home furniture and appliances, and help them accept new way of living, that is renting furniture, furnishings and home appliances from CityFurnish. This way they can save a great amount of capital which can then be invested in other important matters. My dream also includes providing superb service to our users for complete customer satisfaction, and I will put in all efforts to make it bigger
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
Every start-up faces some challenges in its initial stages. The major ones for me were:
- There were three major hurdles we faced initially. One thing was the age factor; I was starting very young and had just completed my undergraduate education. I had two years of work experience with my family and naturally it takes a little bit of time to understand things. Typically, if you see the breed of start-up coming in, they are filled by IITs and IIMs. When you are just coming up with a bachelor’s degree and scaling up, it’s challenging. It’s not just about funding, but about hiring too. When you are hiring someone who is smarter and more educated than you, you need to convince them to work for you.
- Secondly, having vision clarity. Furniture is nonstandard item. You can have categories in luxury, but in furniture this is a very difficult thing. We were clear that what we want to achieve as a company. We want CityFurnish to be known for furniture the way Uber is known for cab services in spite of the fact that they have started other services too. Establishing oneself in a particular category is a challenge. In short, don’t go for small money; create your own domain no matter how tough it is.
- The third difficulty faced was creating a brand with limited resources like budget. Creating a brand needs investment. I learnt about this while I was in college. I was the Placement Cell and Commerce Society head. In a society, you need to pull up an event with very few funds. I learnt how to create a network effect and create a buzz. We started targeting customers near Chanakyapuri who weren’t much price conscious. They were very generous with reviews and sharing contacts. They acted as leverage for giving us publicity. It is a mammoth task creating a brand with limited resources. We wanted people to talk about our company.
Visit cityfurnish.com to know more about us.
Thanks Neerav. Best of luck!