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Home Stores Offer Latest Lifestyle
The modern home stores offer a complete range of latest lifestyle products.
Gone are the days when furnishing one's home meant going to a regular furniture store, selecting a piece from a few designs or books, and carting it home with much huffing and puffing.

Today, furniture stores are not just about furniture; and furnishing stores stock much more than curtains and bedspreads. The two have blended to form 'home design stores'. Innovative terminology, one may think. But, a visit to stores like Bungalow 8, Zeba and @Home will confirm the trend.

A few years ago, there were hardly any stores that sold contemporary, trendy furniture and modern home ware, but stores like these have filled that void. Most specialise in furnishings and home ware, but their products also have a certain desire factor for lifestyle-oriented clientele.

Planters, lampshades, coasters, wall clocks, table cloths, leather furniture, mirrors, paintings, candle stands, carpets, bean bags, bunk beds, book racks, glass ware, textiles, side tables, cushion-you name it and these stores have it. Says Zeba manager Dina, "People these days are as conscious about their homes as them-selves. That's why there is a shift from the routine to customised interiors".

Bold changes
Bungalow 8 experiments not just with designs but also with the raw materials. Its latest collection consists of abalone and polystyrene tableware, woven metallic table linen, silver oak wooden vases, horn and pewter flatware and hammered copperware.

Other pieces include handmade planters with burnt-effect and skillfully decorated gourds, which can be used to store things, or simply as decorative items. Starting at Rs 300, the price can go up to Rs 25,000. Store manager Kanika Kapoor says, "A lot of the designs are handmade in south India. At least 80 per cent of our designs are exclusive. And we don't repeat our creations much."

Relaxed approach
Such stores have also moved from the aggressive approach of selling to the relaxed mode. Stores like @Home do not push customers into buying their products. Instead, they pay more attention to the customers' shop experience.

Says Murtuza Mangalorewala, manager of @Home, "We want our customers to feel at home so they keep coming back to us. Our products speak for themselves. Our aim is not just selling furniture, but building relationships."

Spread over 24,000 sq feet, the interiors of the store are such that each section is like a different room. Customers can choose the furniture they want and the store has a special 'mock-up' room where the furniture could be arranged to the customer specifications. "This helps them see the furniture as it would look in their home," says Murtuza.

The store also offers 3D imaging services for customers, where blueprints for the interiors can be made, using the software. "We are not just selling furniture and furnishings but a lifestyle. As entrepreneurs we need to constantly innovate to be on top. In a way that's good, it pushes us to persistently strive towards more and better creativity," he sums it up.
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Posted on : 29/11/2005
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