In 1988, two boys, in the first year of their college, met for the wedding of a common friend and decided to walk in to the best showroom for suiting in the town Circa 1988. Their discerning eye picks the costliest of fabrics immediately. The salesman sensing their inability to pay brusquely asks them to leave. The two boys promised to themselves that this experience will never repeat. We are talking of the founders of what is today called M/s Spacewood Furnishers Pvt. Limited - A Rs. 5 billion furniture company spanning kitchens, wardrobes, all kinds of home furniture and doors.
And the tale of the two friends started here. During their second year they got into a small business of solving text problems on various subjects of engineering, got it published and gainfully sold the publication to struggling students of engineering. This was their first step towards entrepreneurship and partnership! They made money and threw it on the face of the salesman and bought the expensive fabric! Coincidentally, they both got placed in VIP industries, Blowplast group after passing put of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in 1992. Kirit was with the Vendor development department of Modular Office Furniture and Vivek in the design and planning department of VIP Luggage. After working for 18 months with dedicated learning in purchase, vendor development, manufacturing and other aspects of business, Kirit Joshi and Vivek Deshpande knew that furniture it was that was their life's calling.In 1994, they founded Spacewood Furnishers Pvt.Limited and then did not look back with a 2000 sqft rented workshop, 8 workers and Rs. 65,000 investments for furniture components.
Every year the business kept growing and all earnings of the enterprise was pumped back into buying new machines. In 1997, the founders invested in membrane pressing technology which was first-of-its-kind in India. They had visited Germany and bought this new technology for manufacturing kitchen fronts and shutters. With import of this unique technology, Spacewood became synonymous with Modular kitchens. In 2005, Future Group's innovative furniture format called Hometown started. Spacewood got the opportunity and started making finished products such as Bedroom Furniture, Modular Kitchens and sold them as private label - Spacewood.
In 2013, the founders realised that the private label business was restrictive as retailers and OEMs are limited. For further growth, the brand 'Spacewood' had to be built. Spacewood planned its own retail arm, Modern Living Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Given the clear challenges of creating a brand and retailing, they needed huge marketing support and expertise which was not available in-house. Moreover, Nagpur being a Tier 2 city, local talent was not available. Spacewood's vision was to be the leading furniture and interior products manufacturer offering innovative products and solutions to every home in India.
Spacewood partnered with Brand Capital with a vision of creating a brand. This marks an important milestone in its retail journey of becoming a consumer brand from a supplier to big retail furniture player. The initial communication focused on awareness build-up and trust for a new entrant into a highly fragmented furniture space. The strength of BCCL media properties amplified it's reach by targeting specific audiences. The large format ads in micro-market supplements achieved twin objectives of establishing the brand and enhancing visual appeal. The messaging in Spacewood's communication relied on simplicity and high emphasis on visuals to showcase large kitchens, living room furniture and wardrobes. Kirit says, "It was a dream come true to have Spacewood jacket ads in The Times of India!"
Spacewood kept growing at 25% CAGR and was eyeing exponential growth and new products in the future. In 2015, Sumitomo Forestry Group, a Japanese Building material company invested and took 26% stake for an investment of ~$14 mn. This was the first ever FDI in furniture manufacturing in India. Spacewood is now a leading Brand name in India with presence in homes, kitchens, offices and doors. They have also started selling online and tied up with Pepperfry, Flipkart, Amazon, Urban Ladder and become a top seller in bedroom furniture category.
Some success mantras of the Founders
- Be Passionate at work. If one loses passion and excitement, then the organization's performance goes down.
- Entrepreneurship is a journey, one never reaches the destination but sees milestones, time and again.
- Entrepreneurs need to have a larger vision and social responsibility. He/she is responsible to his employees, customers, investors, suppliers and all stakeholders.
- The objective of an entrepreneur should be to achieve not to acquire.