Kanika Gupta Shori embodies the cool-headed entrepreneur that can have both a brilliant idea and see it through the trials of execution. After the success of Square Yards under the able powerhouse partnership between Tanuj and Kanika, she has thrown her might and intellect behind Square Yards latest offering, Interior Company, an interior décor solutions firm that, for the first time, takes exquisite home design and furnishings to the sensible and thrifty middle class.
You have recently launched your Interior Décor and Home Furnishing vertical as a subsidiary of Square Yards. Could you tell us more?
Square Yards launched Interior Company in 2021 to provide high-quality home furnishing and interior services at affordable costs for budget homeowners. Interior Company wants to foray into the untapped middle-class segment, providing an end-to-end experience where homeowners can discover thousands of high-quality, customizable designs and products and dress up their homes at affordable prices.
Our platform provides high-quality 3D visualization of spaces with an immersive VR experience, allowing customers to experience the final product with a “What you see is What you get” assurance. It also includes end-to-end designer workbench, auto ‘bill of material’ generation, order and logistics management with vendors, thereby giving real-time status updates of their project to the customer with seamless, timely delivery.
Since its launch, Interior Company has designed and delivered over 200 projects. The company has offices in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Noida, and Dubai and plans to expand its footprint in the coming years.
What was the inspiration behind this? How does it integrate with the parent company, Square Yards?
Having a deep passion for home furnishing and interior décor, I wanted to channelize my inner creativity and help people bring the confines of their homes or office to life. This desire has lived in my heart ever since I donned the entrepreneurial hat and founded Square Yards in 2014.
Even though Square Yards grew to be India’s first integrated real estate platform in just seven years, expanding globally with a direct presence in 20 cities and nine countries, I still felt a void within myself. So, I turned my passion into purpose and conceptualized Interior Company. The timing was spot-on, as Square Yards received a strong demand signal for interior services from its existing clientele. So, we added this missing puzzle to our integrated real estate ecosystem.
This vertical is your brainchild and you have been growing it from the get-go. How easy or challenging has the whole process been?
I got to relive the thrill and fun of creating a business from scratch with Interior Company. This time, I was much more confident, had clarity of thought, and more colors on my palette as compared to when starting Square Yards back in 2014, which was from my home office while nursing a newborn and exploring the world as a new entrepreneur.
This time, the most crucial task at my hand was to put together an ‘A star’ team and it turned out to be entirely female-dominated. I am lucky to have found strong women leaders who could understand, build and scale a creative service-oriented business.
You have already expanded to major metropolitan cities in India. Could you walk us through the logistics of establishing such an extensive operation in India and UAE?
We have an in-house team of interior designers who provide design consultations to clients and execute orders through impaneled local vendors that we have tie-ups with. In addition, we have partnered with factories in Manesar, Bangalore, and Mumbai to manufacture according to client specifications, helping us speedily transport the finished products.
How does Interior Company stand apart from other interior design companies currently in the market?
The interior design market caters mainly to the mid-segment and luxury homeowners, thus leaving few options for affordable homeowners. The idea of Interior Company is to make high-quality interior design affordable and cater to the strong appetite of budget homeowners without compromising on quality. With our USP – Affordable, Stylish, Efficient – we ensure a smooth, hassle-free designing experience for the affordable segment that is 30% of the homes sold in the country.
Interior Design is a multi-billion-dollar industry. How much of a market share do you believe you can attain in the next three years?
We want to consolidate our leadership in the affordable segment and capture the demand for home interior and modular solutions from tier I and tier II markets. We are investing significantly in technology to create the most sophisticated platform in the interior design industry. We hope that our wholesome initiatives help us provide the best customer experience across price, timeline, quality, and after-sales service that keep us in good stead to capture significant market share in the coming years.
In your earlier interview with ASPIRE, you mentioned that the real estate industry is male-dominated. How do you feel about being a pioneer in beating gender norms in the industry?
I believe that entrepreneurship has no gender. A woman who believes in her abilities can achieve anything under the sun. While starting Square Yards, I was initially nervous as I was going back into the cut-throat yet gratifying world of professionalism after a maternity break, creating a fine balance between work and family.
The trick was to put my head down and swim with the currents. I succeeded by being firmer, more professional, and disciplined than my male counterparts. I have never faced any major problems in my entrepreneurial career just because I am a woman.
Men can be great communicators, but women possess the qualities of active listening, thorough communication and compassionate understanding, making them effective leaders. Today, seven years down the line, I am proud to have played such a decisive role in Square Yards success.
What is your future vision and plan for the vertical?
We want to be an industry leader in the interior design space, becoming the first choice for consumers when designing their new homes. We are slowly and steadily building towards that mark by attracting the top industry talent, expanding vendor and designer community, and adopting technology and aesthetics.
We are focusing on geo-expansion to the remaining Tier-I cities like Chennai and Hyderabad and foraying into Tier-II cities. Interior Company is also building offline experience centers starting from Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, and Bangalore to let customers closely understand the quality and aesthetics before finalizing the design. There are plans to open these design experience studios in all Tier-I cities soon.