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Vaibhav Aggarwal, Co-founder and Managing Director, FabFurnish.com

Anil Mascarenhas / 14:18 , Nov 26, 2013

Vaibhav Aggarwal, Co-founder and Managing Director, FabFurnish.com is a graduate from the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology- Guwahati, following which he completed his masters in business administration from The Wharton School, University of of Pennsylvania. Currently he holds the position of Co-founder and Managing Director at FabFurnish.com. Under Vaibhav’s supervision, FabFurnish.com has seen significant growth in a short span of time. He oversees all marketing activities and initiatives at FabFurnish.com.

FabFurnish.com is India's largest online home store, that retails designer furniture, furnishings, décor items and kitchenware. The portal showcases an assortment of more than 25,000 products. The online store houses several top brands, including Noritake, Bombay Dyeing, Corelle, Esprit, Tupperware, Swayam, Fab Home, KingSelect, MOM-Italy, Elmwood, Blossoms, Rocca, and Eternal, among others. Highest selling products at FabFurnish.com include solid wood furniture items - recliners, coffee and accent tables, book cases, collapsible furniture, and sofa beds. Among other products, the kitchen category, in entirety, is quite a hit with customers.

After completing his MBA from Philadelphia, he worked with Renault on India research project for a year. Post that he joined Bain and Company and became the Senior Analyst. Because of his great skills and strategies, he was promoted four times within three and half years. Later, he joined Groupon in Mumbai where he launched operations and built a 25-member sales team. He displayed extraordinary skills under all these diverse portfolios which he was managing.

Replying to Anil Mascarenhas of IIFL, Vaibhav Aggarwal saysFurniture buyers are now younger, and looking for more contemporary designs. We see growing interest in small-compact furniture, multifunctional furniture, outdoor furniture and suave leather furniture.”

What are the changing trends in the Home Décor & Furniture Industry? How much is done online?

Furniture buyers are now younger, and looking for more contemporary designs. We see growing interest in small-compact furniture, multifunctional furniture, outdoor furniture and suave leather furniture.

Internet has played a major role in promoting globally-inspired designs. While the online market is right now nascent, there’s an evident growth in online home shopping.

Brief overview of your business model.

We are a mix of inventory and marketplace model. While some of our products are sourced from brands and stored in the FabFurnish.com warehouse, we facilitate the process of delivery, customer service, and returns, if any, in the marketplace model. We always try to make sure that our customers have the best delivery experience, irrespective of the item they order.

Do you see imported stuff also?

Our motive is to provide to our customers the widest range of hi-quality, trendy furniture, at unbeatable prices. And our design experts don’t mind trotting the globe to connect with good vendors and pick quality furniture and furnishings.

How do you ensure your logistics are in place? Have you outsourced your logistics?

We have partnered with top logistics providers in India as well as manage it in-house in leadingMetros.

Any issues in the payment gateway systems. Do you seek any improvement in these?

Not really. We are quite satisfied with our payment gateway provider. If credit/debit card payment fails for whatever reason, our payment gateway redirects user to a cash delivery option.

How did this venture start? Who helped you in your initial years?

We started on March 2012. While the largest organized player is only $200-300 million, Indian home furniture & furnishing market in itself is worth more than $18 billion! So we saw a hugepotential to build a scale business in this segment. Besides, shopping for home in local Indian markets, even in metros, is quite a painful process owing to its largely unorganized setup. This is where the idea of by helping people beautify their homes, by venturing into this untapped segment, clicked to us.

We are backed by Rocket Internet, Germany - the world's largest Internet incubator, with presence in 50+ countries.

What are the opportunities and the Challenges?

Online furniture buying is a very nascent segment and we are proud to be the leader in developing this category. We, initially, had concerns over the touch-and-feel factor involved in furniture buying, especially in Indian market scenario. However, the traction we have seen in last one year has been very encouraging.

The size of the market, increasing % of women now shopping online and our first mover advantage – all present significant opportunities for us.

What is the size of the Online Home Décor and Furniture Industry in India? Any numbers on potential growth?

Overall home market in India is $18 billion+ with an annual growth rate of ~10%! Online segment is very nascent and has just started to pick up.

Comment on your growth so far and where do you see the portal headed in the coming years?

We have gone on to become India’s largest online home store in terms of visitors, collection and customers served to date. As per industry’s leading publications, our traffic is more than 2x our next online competitor. We currently have 25,000+ home products, with an ambition to grow this number by 100% over next 3 months. Objective is to ensure that customers keep coming back to us for all of their home needs.

What are the main differentiators at Fabfurnish?

Our USP lies in our large and contemporary collection of more than 25,000 products, thorough product display with 360-view of every product, and convenient payment options that even include part-payment option.

What are some of the learnings from Groupon?

At Groupon, I set up 3 cities in a span of 3 weeks. When you are scaling up so fast, it’s super important to get people who can hit the ground running and deliver from day-1 itself. It’s critical to get those people in and then incentivize them right. Equally important is to have a strong two-way communication and ensure that your vision and ambition is transmitted to each and everyone.

You are also a photographer by choice. Tell us more. Do you plan to take your photography interest into some business venture?

That’s a personal passion. I’ve no plans to pursue it professionally.

How many products are available on your portal?

We have an assortment of more than 25,000 products, tastefully picked from round the globe.

Do you have a rigorous filtering of products?

Our product range is refreshed on a daily basis. Keeping up with the latest trends, seasonality, and redefining home fashion is our prime job. In the last two months, we have added close to 12,000 new products and also removed a few thousands from our collection.

What are the high-selling products on your portal?

We have identified niches that are not easily available offline. Recliners, collapsible furniture, and bakeware, to name a few, sell like hot cakes.

Do you have any of your own brands?

In an effort to best cater to the varied demands of our customers, we have come up with our own brands too. To give few examples - Fab Home is contemporary and stylish furniture. Elmwood showcases classy, wooden furniture. Home Republic exhibits inexpensive, non-wood, utility products.

What are your expansion plans. Which are the cities you are targeting?

We provide Pan-India shipping right now.

Who is your typical customer?

An urbane homemaker, in the age-group of 26-45 years, who has a taste for good living.

What is your marketing strategy. Tell us about your distribution network.

FabFurnish has been super RoI and analytics driven in its marketing activities. For each marketing campaign, we have a well defined set of performance metrics and are fine-tuning our campaigns 24x7.

We have also invested in social media, given the awareness and credibility it helps us establish.