[Startup Bharat] This Mohali startup aims to rejuvenate your space with its unique home decor products

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The growing importance of remote working called for an aesthetically relaxed and vibrant environment. As people stayed at home, they chose to remodel their living spaces with unique and affordable home decors.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, living space at home has become the most important part of everyone’s life. I started this company to make the home more alive as we now spend most of our day in our homes. Our goal is to make luxury items affordable and reach more people,” says Ashima Singla, who started her own business inspired by her father, who is also a businessman.

“A lot of these efforts were DIY, and people were looking for something out of the ordinary. We tried to explore the choices of people who indulge in in-home styling and came up with different ideas to bring the luxury home decor genre online,” he says Ashima, Founder and Managing Director, Whispering Homes.

launched in 2021, Mohali based Whispering Houses offers luxurious home accessories, including Dried flowers, pampas grass, furnishings, works of art, exclusive lamps, ceramic vases, collections of temple ginger jarsEtc.

Its in-house research team helps the startup identify the latest trends to keep up with the market.

How it works?

Whispering Houses wants to be the one stop shop for all things decoration. In addition to curating products, it acts as a marketplace and distribution partner for small businesses, as well as a sourcing partner for interior designers and architects.

Ashima says, “The products on our website are of high quality and reasonable prices with the idea of ​​helping our customers to afford luxury decorative items, keeping in mind the latest trend around the world.”

Whispering Homes operates two business models: an inventory-based and a small business marketplace.

“The inventory-based business model helps us ensure product authenticity and maintain competitive pricing. Home decor is our sole focus, and it’s all about bringing customers and businesses together with exclusively designed products,” says Ashima.

To date, Whispering Homes has served 3,200 customers across India, with the highest transactions Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, and gurugram.

Startup is over 1,400 Home Decor Products (SKUs) on its platform – some imported from China and the US, the rest made in-house. So far it should have been sold 8,000 products.

Ashima says, “We’ve partnered with small companies that produce and we help them sell on our platform. We work with over 50 designers and 15 brands on our platform. For the business-to-business (B2B) side, we are working on fulfilling business orders for projects.”

The startup sources its raw materials from small suppliers across India and a few designers who work exclusively for the brand. It sells through Amazon and AJIO Luxealong with his own website.

“Our business is based on e-commerce, and based on the positive feedback from our customers, we have started to help companies remodel their homes, offices, hotels, etc.,” says Ashima.

Currently, Whispering Homes has a team of 16 members.

Funding and monetization

Bootstrap with an initial investment of Rs 75 lakhsWhispering Homes products are priced between Rs 399 and Rs 80,000. The average ticket size is approx Rs 4,000.

The startup takes a commission between 15-30 percent by small businesses, depending on the product category. This commission also includes operating costs, customer service and shipping costs.

“We started retail in October 2021 with just 35 orders and achieved a handsome 2.7 lakh sales in the first month after launch,” says Ashima.

“Through constant marketing efforts and customer feedback, we have come a long way and now stand at Rs 61.1 lakh in April 2022,” she adds.

The way ahead

Corresponding statisticsIndia’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) online home decor market was about 2 billion dollars in 2020. It is expected to increase $5.4 billion in 2025.

“Starting the company during COVID-19 was challenging. Another challenge was to make the product quality understandable to the customers as we are new in this segment. However, based on the positive feedback from our customers and brand awareness, we are working on a solution for this,” says Ashima.

Because home decor is a highly visual activity, brands need to use imagery to create an intuitive experience that aligns with home shoppers.

Whispering Homes – which competes with such Nestasia Modern Search, and The DecorKart— plans to use augmented reality (AR) technology on its website so people can experience the products in their spaces.

This also opens up opportunities for those looking to create their personal dream home projects, where they can recommend to the startups’ clients what suits them best.

Integration is also being worked on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) with its marketing tools and chatbots to improve customer loyalty.

The startup wants to expand into new markets, enter the B2B market and bring more small businesses on board.

“We plan to establish our systems and create a fulfilling shopping experience for our customers. From now on we are focused on enriching this experience and will take care of the funding in the future. We are also planning to start in Dubai. We have shipped some B2B orders outside of India and plan to expand globally,” says Ashima.

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