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How Priti International became India’s largest exporter of waste handicraft products

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The company India’s sole exporter to China and is planning to open 12 more showrooms in China solely for its products

Bengaluru: Priti International finds its niche within the furniture domain and is anticipated to expand substantially with new offerings to the new-age consumers’ needs and wants by directly engaging with consumers and acquiring knowledge about their requirements, wishes, likes, and dislikes.

Story of growth

India is the world’s fifth largest furniture producer, with the industry expected to reach $37.72 billion by the end of 2026, growing at a double-digit CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.37 percent between 2020 and 2026. Hritesh Lohiya, founder and CFO, Priti International entered this market noticing the opportunity it held and how it had the potential to push its ideas to the right customer.

In the early 2000s, he was failing at entrepreneurship and was unable to sustain any business for an extended period of time, from chemical manufacturing to stone-cutting. Finally, when his stockbroking firm failed between 2004 and 2005, he decided to take a step back and reflect. “Things began to change in the year 2005. I met some people who accumulated military waste items such as clothes and metal scraps while living in Jodhpur, which is a few hundred kilometers from the India-Pakistan border. I purchased a few waste items and began making home decor items such as cushions and bags in a chemical manufacturing factory, marketing the products via email to various buyers. However, when I visited Delhi in 2009 to present these items at an exhibition, my products piqued the interest of a buyer from Denmark, who gave me a $10,000 trial order. This gave my wife, Priti Lohiya, and me the confidence to investigate this business opportunity further. Priti International, based in Jodhpur, was founded in this manner,” Hritesh elaborates.

Innovation at the core

The brand currently offers 250 SKUs of which coffee tables, dining tables, and side tables are its highest revenue contributors (about 60 percent). Other categories that form a part of Priti’s business include tables, chairs, beds, wardrobes, lamps, etc. With increasing internet usage and a pandemic that has pivoted potential consumers from brick-and-mortar stores and online sites, the environment is favourable for D2C brands.

The D2C phenomenon not only allows customers to make better choices, Hritesh admits that it also allows brands to reach out to customers with relevant products. “It will be fascinating to see the D2C journey that the country embarks on as new technologies emerge,” he says.

The firm designs and manufactures various handmade products out of waste materials. “We make handbags from old gunny bags, cast-off military tents, denim pants, etc. We are also into producing furniture from waste tins, drums, old military jeeps, tractor parts, waste machine parts, and lamps from old scooters and bike lights. These products are then exported to various countries like China, the USA, European nations, and Australia. Our website includes back-end software designed specifically for our customers. This software provides product updates and tracks each stage of production,” he explains.

Being customer ready

“Everything revolves around our consumers. Our customer base is in 36 countries and acknowledgment of our customers and their requirements have provided us an advantage in the market. Our production facilities are spread over 3 large factories, with around 400 people working for us and we have partnered with third-party logistics to ensure the efficient functioning of the business,” he adds.

Brownie Points

  • Priti International is now India’s largest exporter of waste handicraft products and the country’s sole exporter to China.
  • The brand is planning to open 12 more showrooms in China solely for its products.
  • The company plans to open brand stores in Jodhpur, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru in the coming year.

First appeared in The India D2C Yearbook 2022

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