The flooring market is indeed growing in India, but there are only few brands which deliver as they promise. Vitofloor is one such brand Surfaces Reporter roped in Avtar Bhat, MD, Vitofloor, to spill some beans about the brand’s emerging success.
Tell us something about the journey of Vitofloor? Please elaborate how the brand has evolved to become the success it is today?
Vitofloor is a culmination of an idea we had to provide a complete flooring solution in India that could compete with any world-class product. When we started our parent company Lotus Kaleen, it was a small operation with a few handlooms making carpets. But our vision was more than just selling carpets. We always felt the need to be introducing more modern, more millennial products, so to say. Slowly but surely, we started the process of manufacturing our brand of wooden floorings, with a major focus.
How do you think the flooring choices of Indian consumers have changed in last few years? What type of flooring remains the favorite now?
Any industry we consider goes through an evolution pattern and flooring industry is no different. Until some years back the only choice in flooring we would know of in India would be tiles. Consumers didn’t really have any alternative at that point. However today we see different forms of wooden floorings being used in the residential sector, hospitality sector and even the educational sectors. A lot of it has to do with the growing awareness and accessibility to new and upcoming products, coupled with the rising demography of the Indian middle class. Although quantum wise, laminate flooring would be seen as a popular choice – I feel Hardwood Flooring would always be a favorite irrespective of it being the most expensive products in the market.
What is your USP of Vitofloor? What really sets you apart?
I think what sets us apart are two things - the absolute one to- one experience and high quality at great pricing. We are hands on in every project. It is never the case that we take up something and the customer is made to deal with phone executives or something like that. Providing the best experience to the customer and being available to them at all points is the most imperative and critical part of our working. And then, we go out of our way to maintain quality control. The product has to be of superior quality, no matter what.
Vitofloor has the largest collection of Bamboo floorings that stand to be the most ecologically friendly hardwood floorings.
One thing we keep asking ourselves is, are we being globally competitive? This may be a function of scale, or product design or something else, but the critical question is: can we be globally competitive in giving the customer a product equal or better than what he or she already has access to? You see, what happens is that in the process of operations, many times companies learn a lot, but at the cost of the customer. We never want to do that.
For the majority, 2016-2017 so far has been extremely eventful in India. Your opinion on GST and the expected after effects on the industry?
GST was something in the making for a while so it didn’t really throw us off-guard as we had assumed it would cause a temporary slowdown in sales until all stakeholders understand the new method of functioning and operations. Yes, our certain core products are placed in the highest tax bracket but that stands the case industry wide then. In the long run I’d hope it proves better for everyone, suppliers and consumers.
What is your forecast in terms of trends in flooring for 2017-18? What are the flooring innovations that we can see in near future?
The use of environmentally friendly products will continue to gain momentum in a big way. Vitofloor has the largest collection of Bamboo floorings that stand to be the most ecologically friendly hardwood floorings. I also feel Engineered flooring, produced by the use of woods from sustainable forests, will continue to grow in popularity. After all it’s natural, stylish and long lasting, all at the same time.
What are the future plans for the brand – Vitofloor ?
From where we see, Vitofloor today is an established brand, recognized in the metros and its satellite cities. Our focus now is to expand and create brand awareness in the third tier towns and have an unparalleled geographic presence. We are also looking at export markets in some countries. We have set certain goals, the chief being ‘to slowly go global’, not just to increase our turnover but also to go to places where we could create a meaningful presence. Over the next five to seven years, we will have to start looking seriously and strategically at creating brand awareness for ourselves in new geographies, and at how we are going to grow our businesses commercially and strategically in these regions.
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