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Home furnishing brands to be as aspirational as apparel

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“Although home fashion brands are not as popular as apparel or accessories, the modern consumer is evolving and seeking quality product in everything. Soon, probably in two years from now, you’ll see consumers buying not only high-end bed sheets/covers or curtains, but also quilts, blankets, cushions and all other home furnishing products,” Rajiv Merchant, CEO of Creative Portico India, told Indiaretailing while announcing the launch of The iBedding (claimed to be ‘allergen relief health and performance bedding’), in Delhi.

Discussing the USP of the new product, Merchant informed that the new range has been developed keeping in mind the health-conscious consumer. The fabric used to manufacture the product has been ionised, the treatment that traps allergens such as pet dander, mold, pollen, dust mites and mildew, which are later eliminated after normal wash.

“We, on an average, spend 6-8 hours of a day with our bed sheets and pillows. The aim of the new product is to make those hours very safe,” said Merchant.

Asked how the consumer is being made aware of such a product, Merchant informed that the company has planned a new marketing campaign and also trained its retail staff to educate consumers. Also, the company is distributing booklets and DVDs containing information on advantages of iBedding.

iBedding has been introduced by Portico in collaboration with the US-based company Intellatex.

Asked if Portico is planning to have standalone stores or open in shopping malls, Merchant said they might consider the option only if the real estate prices come down. As of now, the company is concentrating on expansions in tier II cities, and is also in process of opening more shop-in-shops.

“With a shop-in-shop at a prime location, we can have better branding and brand positioning at lower costs, and we’ve been able to create our own niche in the market with the shop-in-shop concept,” said Merchant.

Commenting on the rising competition, Merchant said though various companies have entered the segment with various concepts, Portico has its own unique identity and positioning in the market. He marked out Bombay Dyeing as the only competitor, and said the company is prepared to take this healthy tiff head-on.

Discussing plans to create a mass-market product, Merchant said that discount chains and low-cost hypermarkets are doing well and indicate the potential in a mass product. “So, we are planning to launch products for the masses, but these will not be of low value. We do not want to compromise on quality for the sake of cutting costs,” he concluded.

– Ranjan Kaplish

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