Rutuja Marale, caught up with Tarun Lala, Founder & Director, Fanzart and Sangeeta Lala, President- Retail of Fanzart, a luxury fan manufacturer with over 82 showrooms spanning over 30 cities in India.
Here are the excerpts:
Q. Before the second wave how was your business? How was it compared to pre-Covid levels?
Tarun Lala: Our business started gaining momentum after the lockdown eased last year. Since people were spending more time at home they felt the need to upgrade and one of the easiest upgrades in a home is to change to designer fans which highlights and enhances the ambience of every room and every area
So to our pleasant surprise overall we ended up with more demand and business revenue as compared to the earlier year. We did face challenges with a shortage of goods due to high demand though.
We also had more conversations on the Franchising end, because I think Covid has influenced people to think a lot more collaboratively.
Q. How are you managing your sales during the second wave? Have you introduced any marketing innovation?
TL– We’ve introduced our online platform to go D2C – Direct to Consumer to sell directly online. And so while the offline remains closed for now, we are seeing many leads, inquiries, as well as excellent sales online. Whatever can be shipped is being shipped and the balance will be delivered when the lockdown eases.
– We are offering our design team services for customers and inserting models of their choice in their spaces of their homes/designs online so that it is easier for them to conclude. We have started Whatsapp video consultations so that people can make their decisions remotely, without having to visit the showrooms.
– We have an in-house interior designer who is offering free consultation during business hours.
– For customers who were apprehensive to step out of the safety of their homes we offer them in-home demos so our team goes over and install any 5 models of fans from their choice for them to choose.
Also to add using the downtime we developed means to provide customization for our products and now we are able to offer most of our models in almost any colour as our customers desire.
Q. Who are your customers predominantly? How is a typical purchase cycle?
TL– HNIs and UHNIs (Residential): Most of these projects are acquired directly or via Architects & Interior Designers. We have 100+ models to match almost any kind of home interior design and more specific models for dining, dressing, Kitchens, etc.
– Corporates: We have fans for Corporate Offices and Office buildings. These are larger sweep fans. 5ft to 8ft. We also have the first of its kind recessed or concealed fans for Tile/Grid/wooden false ceilings.
– Hospitality: We have waterproof fans for outdoor locations which come built-in with a table. We also have beautiful wall mount fans. We also have the most premium waterproof (IP certified) mist fan in the market which are most effective for marriage halls, exhibitions, and larger indoor as well as outdoor areas.
A typical purchase cycle is like any other interior product- choose, match and install.
Q. Explain the use of technology in your business/ products:
– We use Technology in our products.
– Summer-Winter Feature, where the fan spins anti-clockwise for a cool breeze and clockwise for a cozy circulation.
– Sleep feature – where the fan automatically alternates between higher and lower speeds to give you a wholistic sleep experience.
– We use Brush less DC motors in our fans that absorb 70% lesser power.
– Our pedestal fans use Human sensors to sense humans and automatically adjust the oscillation.
– We use sensors to adjust speed by sensing increase in temperatures.
– We have a smart phone app as well as Alexa integration for controls.
– We also have a patented technology that turns the fans into HUBs. So we can offer you end to end home automation by making the fans into HUBs.
– We build 3D models of the fans that Architects and Interior designers can use in their renders on Google Sketchup as well as other tools.
– We are building a virtual reality as well as Augmented Reality app out of this.
– We are also using enhanced technology to customise finishes, colours and screen printing on our fans.
Q. Are you planning any launches in this financial year?
TL-We just launched the GrandMaster Series that is great for Corporate and Hospitality. Our GrandMaster Series comes in 4 variants that sweep (Diameter) between 5 ft and 8 ft. Anything beyond that is custom-made to order. We already adorn the ceilings of Hotel lobbies, Corporates – like JW Marriott, Bosch and more. They look less industrial and more stunning due to the matte finishes to their black and silver colour options.
On the Residential side: We have launched the Windflower Rose Gold, an addition to our Award winning Windflower Series. These fans come with patented Vortex Blades, multicolour LED chandeliers with dimmer, Summer-Winter feature, new quirky remote control and a beautifully designed body with finishes in Rose Gold, Champagne Gold and Coffee.
This year we are looking to launch some interesting products that should further expand our target market. As and when we come up with one or more new products it will be shared on media from time to time.
Q. As a large retailer what challenges have you been facing during the pandemic, since last year?
Sangeeta Lala-Since this pandemic has kept people indoors the visiting customers have been more focused and only serious buyers have been walking in to select and buy. From our side we have taken all possible measures starting with educating our teams to follow covid appropriate protocols, sanitization and maintaining adequate distance with our valuable customers.We also got our entire team vaccinated.
Q. Are you taking any CSR initiative for Covid relief to help those needy?
SL: It has been a time to think and act from the heart hence from our side we took various measures to reach out and support many Covid relief initiatives to provide help.Apart from that we planned the following
– We have pledged 20% of all our May online sales towards Covid relief.
– We have also pledged an extra 10% of all our Mother’s Day sales towards Covid relief.
– We have donated money towards various Covid support and relief initiatives.
– We have donated hand sanitizers, bedsheets, pillow covers to hospitals and other NGOs.