This Entrepreneur is on a Mission to Enhance Customer Convenience Through Innovation
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Namit Bajoria, Director, Kutchina, a leading Kitchen Appliances Company headquartered in Kolkata, was never interested in his family business of chemical manufacturing. After the board exams, he told his father about his desire of starting something on his own. His father wanted him to get some experience before starting his venture.
Bajoria worked in a few organisations including a CA firm and a telecommunications company as a marketing executive before he launched his kitchen appliance company in 2000, at a time, when they were not in vogue and were mostly unheard of. Today, Kutchina is a household name, with 24 office branches, 51 distributors, 243 deal-ers and over 1,500 employees. Presently the company has a turnover of 250 crores and has set a mission of targeting INR 500 crore in the next 3 years.
It was market awareness that led Bajoria into kitchen appliances. He realised that the market for bath-room fittings was surging and soon people would be willing to invest into expensive kitchen fittings.
"I visited an exhibition in Germany and discovered auto-clean chim-neys. It immediately caught my attention as the chimney in our house was a nuisance, requiring cleaning every other week. That's how Kutchina started with auto-clean technology and we started importing them from Germany," he shared.
Innovation for us is all about Enhancing Consumer Convenience
Technology today is a driver of growth in some form or the other for almost every product. Kitchen equipment, being a part of consumer durables, have a huge scope to integrate technology that brings convenience to the consumer. "Sticking to the product we make, innovations applied are all latest tech advances which increase convenience to consumers," informed Bajoria.
Identifying Tier II and Tier III Cities as Potential Future Markets
The current ratio of Kutchina's presence in metro cities to smaller towns is 50:50 considering both company-owned and distributor franchisee stores together. Since their distributor penetration is quite high across India, most distributors have a franchisee Kutchina store which is located in towns outside Bengal, main cities as well as small towns of West Bengal and in North East like Assam where distribution presence is into deeper pockets.
The company has more than 30 stores as of now and plans to reach 75 this year and 200 by next year end. "Expansion strategy is planned phase wise taking major Class A cities in phase 1, followed by major cities from the list of Smart cities based on the market potential for the whole range of products," informed Bajoria.
"Investments being looked into store expansions are nearly 5-10 crore over next one year wherein we are looking into a majority of franchisee and distributor showroom model of operating the stores under Kutchina Brand. However, some stores will definitely be company owned," he divulged.
The majority of Indian population lives in Tier II and Tier III cities and this is where the growth in income is predicted as the standard of living in such locations is improving pretty fast. Bajoria rightly identifies these as potential future markets. "Presently about 40% of our business comes from these towns. However, for Water Purifiers and Small Appliances, considering their penetrative nature of distribution and availability, about 60% of the business is expected to come from these cities in the near future. We are already seeing that in Small Appliances," he claimed.
Kitchen Interior is Attracting New Designers and Innovators
Bajoria is in business for the last ten years and has seen a lot of changes in customers approach. "Once it was a luxury, now it has become a necessity. Also, due to smaller kitchens in flats, latest space-saving accessories are much in demand. Lifestyle has crept into the kitchens and therefore beautiful and stylish kitchens are in vogue. There are still lots of possibilities. Kitchen interior is attracting many designers and new concepts are coming up regularly," he enthused.
Bajoria is a firm believer in the idea that a brand should stand on the pillars of quality, affordability and innovation for convenience. Under his leadership, Kutchina became the first company to have introduced auto clean technology in kitchen chimneys. Running high on the success of kitchen chimneys, he has now forayed into small appliances, making it the only holistic kitchen solutions brand in India.