Founders – Akshata Menon Vig, Dev Vig
Facebook Link – De Space
Imagine building your own house! You can save a significant amount of money. Does the story end here? No! If you can convert this into a business, you can make a huge amount of money out of it. Akshata, being an architect, did the same in 2010. She designed her own house with a shoestring budget and incorporated a contemporary theme. This design managed to gather a lot of accolades, and designer-savvy eyes started making enquiries. This is how the startup opportunity came in the mind of Akshata Menon Vig and Dev Vig and De Space came into existence.
The market research begins from here!
This is how they started doing further research to understand the taste of the high-end customers and the market. The consumers were unaware of the deals as they were entirely dependent on the local contributors. This is the reason why they started spending a lot of money on decorating their home. Nowadays, people don’t have any idea that home décor can be cheap as well.
Akshata and Dev understood the market problem and started taking action accordingly. They started eradicating non-transparency, unskilled labour, and unnecessary work delays from the market and made everything transparent by giving them quick solutions. The best part was they never involved the customers in the operational aspects as they started handling everything with utmost professionalism.
The USP of De Space!
De Space focuses on two thriving areas, positive and great customer experience and innovative designs. This is the reason why success is absolutely consistent for them, as they have been focusing on these two ideas since 2010. This company started with a team of five members, and now they have the strength to accumulate 75 members, and all of them proudly accomplish their job by satisfying their clients.
The biggest challenge faced by De Space
When they entered the market, they assumed that high-quality interiors were the gaps in the market. As a result, they started focusing on customized designing to fulfil individual needs in the best possible way. They were right. Yes, it was one of the biggest gaps That could not be fulfilled without fulfilling the skilled labour gap in this industry.
They started going exponentially in the early years. They created a whole new team with adept professionals, and this is how they built a strong foundation. However, their success journey started at a slow pace. The best part is they believe that one should be known for the quality of one’s work and not the quantity of the work.
Products that capture the market with uniqueness
De Space doesn’t offer standardized products, but unique solutions. They know how to use a particular space efficiently and effectively. While providing excellent interior designing solutions, they focus on space planning in advance. This is one of the significant challenges faced by homeowners, and they have a cure for it. After understanding the space, they create a standard design. Apart from that, a strong focus on client experience and outstanding design make them one of the pros in this particular field.
Exclusive Interview with Dev Vig
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
Akshata being an architect, designed her own home in 2010. Though designed on a minimal contemporary theme and a shoestring budget, the home interiors still earned a lot of accolades and led to a lot of enquiries. This gave us an idea that residential interiors is picking up in India, and can be explored as a startup opportunity.
On doing some further research, we understood the market is highly unorganized with local contractors ruling it, and consumers who are unaware of the details, often end up spending money on what they were not even aware of. We talked to a lot of homeowners and figured out that they faced issues such as non-transparency, delays, unskilled labour and had wanted to hire someone who would give them a turnkey solution without them being involved in the operational aspects. This showed a clear gap in the market in terms of professionalism and we decided to do our bit in filling up this gap.
The fire inside to create our own designs and the desire to bring them to life in a professional manner drove us to start this company.
When did you start your business?
We started the business in 2010
What does success mean to your company?
De Space thrives on two focus areas – Innovative designs and a positive customer experience. Success for us is the consistent achievement of the above two. A happy client at the end of the day is what we define as success.
For us, Success is to be known as an initiative that focuses heavily on client satisfaction, space planning and high-quality execution. This has been our vision since day zero and all our expansion plans revolve around these three parameters
How are you performing currently?
De Space started with a team of 5 people and now boasts of a strength of 75 people today, all of them are busy servicing the clients.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
The market is overcrowded and highly unorganised today, and hence a lot of players delve into wrong practices to win orders (by offering lower prices using low-quality material without informing the end customer). A lot of clientele approach us after having a bitter experience with their providers, and while there is a possibility of losing customers on the basis of false promises made by other providers, we see it as an opportunity to educate our customers in detail of what quality to expect, what to use and what to avoid.
What are your plans for the funding?
De space is our baby, and we believe in nurturing it on our own rather than outsourcing to an outsider who wouldn’t care as much as their own parents.
Funding isn’t really our aim or target as it might dilute our USP which is our personal involvement in each of the spaces we create. So we prefer to do the best in our capacity and walk as far as we can.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
We entered the market with an assumption that high-quality interiors are a gap in the market. We focused a lot on customized designing, catering to the requirements of individual clients. While this definitely was a gap, we soon realized and learnt that it is extremely difficult to get skilled labor in this industry.
Hence, in our early years of inception, we decided not to grow exponentially. Rather, we focused on creating a team that would help us to scale while not diluting our principles of high-quality offering. While it might have made our journey slower, it helped us to ensure we built a strong foundation, and it’s that foundation today, that has helped us to reach where we are today. We strongly feel one is known for the quality of work s/he has done, not the quantity of work.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
In today’s startup world, there is a lot of emphasis on exponential growth. When we started our journey, we were also advised to achieve numbers. But we strongly felt the opposite. We always believed one is known for the quality of work s/he has done, not the quantity of work. Hence, we focused on creating a team that would help us to scale while not diluting our principles of high-quality offering. While it might have made our journey slower, it helped us to ensure we build a strong foundation, and it’s that foundation today, that has helped us to reach where we are today.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
The market is full of providers today who provide standardized products without taking into account how to treat the (available) space effectively and efficiently.
De Space on the other hand offers a turnkey interior designing solution with a lot of focus on space planning, something that is a challenge for the majority of homeowners. We treat every home as unique and don’t offer standard designs at all. The designs are prepared after a thorough understanding of the space available, as well as understanding the client’s requirements at length.
Apart from this, there is a strong focus on client experience. We have invested a lot in building a strong team at the backend, comprising of skilled labourers, project managers contractors, carpenters that have helped us in delivering quality service and experience to our clients.
Where are your start-up services spread?
We are currently operational in Bangalore, India
What does it feel like to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel to get up every morning and getting on to work?
It feels great to follow your passion, and turn your dreams into reality. But the journey isn’t easy at all and also brings in a lot of responsibilities. But as long as you have done your homework, have trust in your vision, and take the right steps, things surely fall in place.
Today, as our business has settled, we look forward to seeing it blossoming every morning. We still believe there is a lot of scope to improve, and we wake up every day with the motivation to get better at what we do.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
We intend to grow organically in the coming years. The focus will be to get better on our core offerings which are “Effective and efficient space planning and designing” and “an enriched client experience”. We strongly believe one is known for the quality of work, and not the quantity of work done. We do plan to expand in the cities of Hyderabad/Chennai/Mumbai, provided we get the right set of teams in these cities
Who supports you to stand this business and how?
Our biggest support is our team who has understood our vision well, and has worked very closely with us to achieve it. Our other support would be our clients, who also become our brand evangelists. It’s because of them that our sales pipeline is always full, and we don’t need to use any sales or marketing channel to create awareness about De Space