Business

Contours making a mark in the Indian furniture market

In the male-dominated world of the furniture industry, Anisha Johri and Ritu Duggal, founders of Contours Furniture System are celebrating their 20th year and are also the founders of Decorage & Associates, an Interior Design & Build Firm which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. They have been designing their custom-furniture pieces with precision and ease. They were recently entrusted to design Flipkart’s largest fulfilment center in West Bengal at Haringhata which is spread over 108 acres.
To reduce their dependency on other modular manufacturing units, they set up Contours to meet their own site requirements. Located in one of the prime business hubs in Kolkata, the establishment has garnered experience in executing turnkey projects for clients from different segments, both commercial and residential with State-of-the-Art Machinery delivering a variety of designs efficiently. To meet the market’s changing needs and keeping the pace with the gendered business world, they have designed modular offices, workstations, executive cubicles, etc. for clients like Axis Bank, American Towers, Kolkata, EarthBags, Nivea, etc. They have also been awarded the Times Power Women Award for their phenomenal contribution to the field. 
An interaction with the founders- Anisha Johri and Ritu Duggal.

 

Tell us about the inception story of Contour Furniture? How has the growth of the firm been since its inception?

Decorage & Associates, a corporate Interior design firm was formed by Anisha and Ritu earlier.  For our projects,  there was a requirement of modular furniture.However,  there would be an inordinate delay in procuring the same from other factories within India. So, you can say necessity,  became the mother of formation of Contours Furniture System.

So, we set up a small factory in a 3800sft space and  started manufacturing for our own modular furniture. We initially started with a few  machines from India,  but we did not find the efficiency and accuracy in the machines in those days, so over few years we imported machines of Chinese Taiwanese and even American makes. As the concept of Modular Furniture increased in Kolkata, Contours Furniture systems was not only producing for in house projects but also for projects of other firms and interior designers. Today, we are proud to say we are operating from a 12000 sqft space and can produce upto 500 workstations in a period on one month.

 

What trends do you see emerging in furniture industry, post Covid-19?

Soon after we opened up after the 1st phase of covid lock-down, we suddenly felt a surge in Home Furniture orders coming in.  More and more people after Covid,  wanted even their homes done in Modular furniture. As carpenters became scarce and clients were not ready to have them work in their homes. Unlike most of the renowned modular. furniture companies, we also manufacture Modular Furniture in Plywood, which is a better option for home furniture. Manufacturing with Plywood, gives us and edge and Interior designers are also now happy to take modular furniture for homes from Contours Furniture System.

What significant changes have you observed in the way customers buy furniture?

Like mentioned earlier, home modular furniture has become very popular and even private firms now have started preferring modular furniture over hand made furniture.

How do you get design inspirations? Where do you get your design ideas? 

There is a misconception in the minds of people that modular furniture has  design restrictions and are simple and boring.We create furniture in different designs and keep exploring more ways to make our furniture look interesting. We do not like repeating designs. Infact, we get very excited if the Interior designers who get modular furniture manufactured for their projects from Contours come up with new and challenging designs for us to produce.

What’s your marketing strategies in growing Contour Furniture?

We believe in slow and steady wins the race, so we gradually also want to exploring the retail segment and start marketing in other 2 tier cities. Although, our furniture has been installed all the way in Goa too, but we want to start marketing our furniture more aggressively in East India and then make Contours Furniture System into  a National name.

 

 

What’s the future for eCommerce in the Furniture Industry? 

There already are some Furniture companies into ecommerce.  More players of modular furniture will enter in the field soon. DIY furniture, is also something, we feel, could find a good market in India as labour is also gradually becoming more and more expensive.

 

So, what’s next for Contour Furniture?

Yes, eCommerce is definitely what we are wanting to look into next. For offices we will be looking at Executive tables, Conference tables and reception tables. Also tables for Home Office furniture. For residences we will start with beds, wardrobe and dressers initially. DIY items like wall pieces, stools etc is also what we would like to explore and  see the response.

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