Business India ×

Published on: April 27, 2022, 5:16 p.m.
For that perfect home
  • ellementry Kochi store

By Suman Tarafdar

The lockdowns changed focus for many of us, resulting in a multitude of new patterns and trends. One of which was a focus on homes. Suddenly, as more and more waking hours were spent at home, getting its look, feel and aesthetics right became a priority for many. This is where a plethora of sectors cashed in, not the least of which was the interiors space. 

“The pandemic saw increased consumer focus on home and home-cooking and increased online spending, and we were uniquely positioned at the intersection of these elements,” says Ayush Baid, Founder, ellementry. “As a result, brand recall grew significantly, and sales increased to an all-time high.”

ellementry is a young brand, like its owner, who started his journey when he launched the brand in 2018, when he was just 22. “I have always wanted to build a brand that contextualises Indian art forms for contemporary living in India and across the globe – a brand that truly brings out the centuries-old craftsmanship that our country so beautifully boasts of,” says Baid.

“It all started while I was pursuing a data analytics programme at the University College of London. I saw an untapped opportunity for elevated kitchenware and dinnerware in the Indian market. The existing, largely unorganised market paid little attention to design and food safety, leaving a gap that could be filled with branded, handcrafted products centred on sustainable design, product multifunctionality and aesthetics. This led me to research consumer needs across India. I met local artists, explored the demand for branded handicraft products for everyday use, and eventually started ellementry.”

Of course, Baid had an advantage. His father, Dileep Baid, owns Dileep Essentials, a part of the Dileep group of Industries that has a legacy of 30 years in exporting handcrafted lifestyle products. “We share the same manufacturing expertise and capabilities,'' says the scion.

“Our vision is to give a platform to the unorganised sector of artisans and honour their skills and craft in creating handcrafted lifestyle products of an international level. Together we have already been able to move this unorganised sector into a semi-organised one, and we are working towards making this sector fully organised. The availability of my family business’s extensive manufacturing facilities, my data analytical skills and the knowledge of changing consumer spending trends online ensured the growth of ellementry. Today, with an e-commerce website and nine retail stores across India, various SIS locations and numerous boutique stores, we reach out to our loving customers.”

Three of the stores are company-operated ones, while six are franchise stores. Dileep Industries reported a turnover of Rs250 crore with a 15 per cent YoY growth last year. ellementry is the D2C brand of Dileep Essentials, the retail offshoot of Dileep Industries. The turnover of ellementry was Rs30 crore in this financial year.

Growth opportunity

The market for home interiors and renovation in India is estimated to be between $20-$30 billion, according to Mordor Intelligence. The online home decor market in India is expected to increase by $3.75 billion from 2021 to 2026, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a CAGR of 10.24 per cent, according to Technavio. While a huge segment is still in the unorganised sector, there is increasing emergence of numerous brands, often with backgrounds in the space. Homeware is more niche, though the entry of Ikea has brought a new awareness of offerings for the Indian consumer. 

Baid stresses that ellementry can stand out in a crowded market as “it is the first Indian brand with a manufacturer-to-consumer offering, facing little competition from brands curating similar products. Being the manufacturer, we can afford competitive pricing, minimal dead inventory, adherence to international food safety norms, and faster lead times. We have a design team, and we are very proud of it. With more than 4,000 artisans and well-designed products, they are also contributing to craft revival and the continuation of India’s craft legacy”.

“We take meticulous care of our retail shopping experience,” says Baid. “We strive to provide a fully integrated shopping experience for our customers. This allows our consumers to interact with us through these channels. We also have tie-ups with numerous boutique stores in tier 2 and 3 cities. We also have a 'Shop in Shops' contract with Foodhall, Project Eve, Shoppers Stop, etc. We introduce new products every month and new collections quarterly.

Again, the pandemic enforced lockdowns have helped. “Overall, there has been a surge in the homeware category.  People are exposed to good living, and there has been a shift to sustainable designs where one product is able to serve multiple purposes. The most popular and successful categories for ellementry are dinnerware and drinkware. More or less, the customer is homogenous in nature across India when it comes to homeware categories. After the pandemic, there has been a huge surge in the homeware category across all the geographies.”

Catering to different age groups 

“A typical ellementry customer for us takes pleasure in the mundane things in life, can appreciate craftsmanship and is looking for a fresh and reimagined approach to products that have been part and parcel of their everyday life,” elaborates Baid. “This entails a wide range of audiences we engage in various ways; we cater to different age groups and socio-economic statuses. We have kept ourselves open so they can reach out to us and we can communicate with them. We have a very engaging Instagram page where we reach out to our younger and aspiring audience who have come to our stores looking at the beauty of our products through our eyes.”

“ellementry has widely extended its touchpoints in the past years with collaborations from Shoppers Stop and Foodhall and opening up marketplace channels to reach its potential customers. At ellementry, we don't limit our thinking options,” says Baid. “Still, if we had to define a cliched TG, we would say that anyone who takes pleasure in little things and likes to have quality products made sustainably, is our target group. In simple monetary terms, anyone who can or has purchased a car is our target group.”

“As we take pride in our handcrafted products, we are encouraged by the fact that most of our customers like to touch and feel our products. We believe that our products are unique pieces of functional art; hence, we also felt the need to have a strong retail presence even though we have the conveniences of any major e-commerce player.”

 “Another goal for 2021 is to make ellementry a one-stop solution for all your home improvement,” says Baid. “ellementry products represent Indian culture and milieu with an international taste. So, through our e-commerce site, we are venturing into the foreign market, precisely, the US and European countries. We are also going overseas this year, mainly in the US market through marketplace Amazon and mom and pop stores.”

ellementry’s distinct designs have certainly caught the urban SEC A attention as both offline stores and online presence expand. For those with an eye for aesthetics, try resisting an ellementry product! 

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