Office ambience and décor play very important roles in today’s work culture. As a business, you need to able to display your edge and personality through your office space itself. However, buying several pieces of furniture during the initial days of starting up is not only risky but also involves heavy investment. In such cases, renting is a safer option.
Spotting an opportunity, 35-year-old Sidhant Lamba founded Fabrento in 2016. The Delhi-NCR based startup is helping businesses style their office spaces in a cost-effective way by providing functional and sleek furniture on rent.
While there are several startups that offer furniture on rent, Fabrento’s USP lies in providing customisable furniture to match your décor and style. And, guess what? Once a furniture is no more in style or is not in demand, the startup redesigns it, keeping the structure the same.
“This special service of personalising products is a unique offering that no other rental furniture company has undertaken so far,” claims Sidhant.
So far, Fabrento has also partnered with accommodation providers including CoHo, Aasha Hostels, and Stanza Living, among others, to provide furniture on rent. Apart from office furniture, Fabrento also offers furniture for bedrooms, living spaces, dining areas, appliances (like television, refrigerators and washing machines), home offices, and kids’ rooms.
Master of his trade
After completing his master's in international business from Regent’s University, London, in December 2007, Sidhant joined his family business The Continental Group, in January 2008, which provides interior solutions.
He has also studied interior decoration from Inchbald School of Design, and London and art and its markets from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Wanting to learn more, he also pursued a lighting design course from Chelsea College of Arts, United Kingdom. He also studied social and digital marketing in Dubai.
Also the co-founder of The Style Stamp (an online community for the fashion industry), Sidhant says, “Furniture renting was already a lucrative business overseas and I was inspired to do something similar that would cater to the Indian market.”
Currently bootstrapped, Fabrento was started with an initial investment of Rs 15 crore.
At present, the company has a team of 50 at supervisory, operational, managerial, and advisory levels.
“Our team comes with a combined experience of more than 40 years in the furniture design and business industry. This ensures that all our products are of the highest quality and are functional to suit all customers,” Sidhant says.
With branches in Chandigarh, Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru, Fabrento creates and designs most of its products in the factories of The Continental Group. While using state-of-the-art machinery of its sister company, Fabrento has its own set of designers and artisans.
“This not only ensures quality but also allows us to refurbish and alter the products as per demand in the next cycle at our own repair centres. This flexibility also makes our rented furniture last longer than the rest,” Sidhant says.
In December 2018, the startup added something new - Fabevents - in Delhi and Punjab. “Under Fabevents, we rent furniture and accessories for weddings and celebratory events,” says Sidhant.
It has also built furniture for corporate events for businesses and plans to expand this segment across other cities. The startup offers complimentary cleaning and maintenance every six months to ensure that the furniture remains in their best condition.
The furniture rental business
With more youngsters shifting cities frequently, consumer behaviour is slowly shifting from buying to renting. Moreover, the idea of shared economy has been welcomed with open arms. This has led to a rise in trends like car rental services, shared apartments, and holiday homes.
According to a report by Vinod Kothari Consultants, the global furniture rental market is valued between $5 billion and $8 billion. While the Indian rental business is still not as organised, with companies like Furlenco, Rentomojo, GrabOnRent, CityFurnish, and Voko, experts predict that it is valued at around $6 billion.
Offering both package deals and individual pieces, Fabrento’s prices vary from city to city. For example, Sidhant says, double-bed packages in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, and Pune start from Rs 999 per month, whereas, in Mumbai, Thane, and Bengaluru, they start from Rs 900 per month.
Under its relocation offer, the startup transfers all rented furniture from one place to another - within the same city -without charging any extra cost.
According to the founder, the startup is currently growing 3x year on year.
The way ahead
At present, Fabrento is operational in five cities. The founder plans to expand to Hyderabad by early next year, and Chennai by mid-2020.
“We also want to create our presence in Gujarat, and continue collaborating with different businesses and establishments,” he adds.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)