Recently, we interacted with Mr. Palash Agrawal, Founder / Director, Vedas Exports – an innovative brand in the décor industry, offering handmade products that are crafted to perfection.
Here are the interview highlights:
Tell us about Vedas Exports, the brand’s origin, what it does, and its journey.
Vedas Exports is the culmination of my desire to revive the brilliance of Indian metal handicrafts inspired by the Vedic times and medieval royal history. We have been in operation for nearly a decade, and the journey initially started with a single product range. However, Vedas Exports has developed a product portfolio comprising thousands of items over the years. We have created an unmatched fusion of medieval craftsmanship, Vedic era designs, and contemporary sensibilities to create products such as planters, vases, wall décor, wall art, metal showpieces, and gift items. We cater to various industries such as home décor, catering, restaurants, libraries, etc. The Vedas range of products has something or the other to offer to everyone, including affordable to high-end products. Vedas’s exceptional quality and customer service have led to rapid growth for the brand, and we are now available at various modern retail outlets, including Hometown, Metro Cash and Carry, and standalone décor stores. Further, Vedas Exports products are also available in international markets in gift and décor shops and online.
What motivated you to venture into the decor industry?
Coming from a business family, launching my venture was a natural progression. I have traveled to more than 90 countries, and it used to amaze me how people used their creativity and skills to develop beautiful crafts. Being well-versed in the artistic brilliance and rich heritage of Indian handicrafts, I decided to start Vedas Exports, and the journey has been incredible so far.
Vedas is a sustainable brand, please tell us in detail about this.
We have consciously focused on using recycled metals and environmentally friendly colors in our manufacturing processes.
How are you taking Indian Handicrafts to the international stage, and which global markets have you entered?
We have expanded the reach of Vedas Exports’ products to various parts of the world. Large audiences appreciate and look forward to acquiring Indian art and craft décor, and we are making it available to Western buyers. The only difference is that we provide our services as a white-label provider in the US, UAE, and European countries, but we don’t sell under the Vedas brand name outside of India.
How is the international market response different from the domestic market?
The domestic and international markets are entirely different ball games. The domestic market enables us to ship the products promptly and gives much greater ease of control on inventory, and selling the products is less challenging. However, the global market necessitates securing orders, negotiating delivery timelines, and identifying locations where the products must be shipped to ensure a smooth experience.
Another significant difference is that the orders from the domestic market are limited in terms of product range, SKUs, and quantities, whereas overseas orders are usually large quantities. While the reception to our products has been good generally, we have witnessed a bit of a slowdown due to recent events such as the recession in the US and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Where is Vedas present, and does Vedas have an omnichannel presence?
Vedas’ products are available in over 50 shop-in-shop stores and at Shoppers Stop and Hometown outlets across India. We plan to establish flagship stores in bigger cities, beginning with Delhi and expanding to Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. You can also buy our products online on the brand’s e-commerce website.
How has the reception of the brand been at a global level?
We witnessed a great reception. While there has been awareness about Indian handicraft and metal décor in the international markets, the excellent quality of our products contributed to this warm reception. However, the global markets are facing headwinds due to events like the Russia-Ukraine war and the economic slowdown in the US, which has also affected our business.
What has your journey as an entrepreneur been like thus far?
It has been a fantastic journey wherein I have experienced steady growth of our brand. At the same time, there have been several lessons learned. The first and foremost thing is to believe in oneself. When you think something is achievable, you can make exemplary efforts and make it happen. You can’t just hope everything will work out as planned in business. You must trust your abilities and be ready to solve problems when they arise. Ensuring the product is high-quality is essential for a product-driven business like ours. The markets are competitive and challenging. You would come across entrepreneurs who might say that the market is not profitable or there is no growth, but one must trust their vision and find solutions that can help in overcoming setbacks or challenges. That’s the approach that has worked well for me.
What strategies do you employ to maintain a positive and content customer experience?
The home décor segment is highly dynamic, with changing customer behavior patterns and trends. In such a scenario, predicting what customers want is not easy. Further, seasonal changes and festivities also make a lot of impact on the kind of products and trends that prevail. During the summer, people tend to move houses, and we see a spike in wall décor, vases, and planters getting sold. On the other hand, during the Diwali season, corporate gifting takes precedence, and the biggest demand is often for candle holders and lights. Similarly, December witnessed a spike in Christmas-themed products demand, such as stars with red and white color mixes. As a process, we undertake design evaluation and exploration process during March when school exams are on, and that’s when we finalize our offerings for the upcoming seasons.
We have also maintained a very high level of customer service, including return options, which is almost unheard of in the décor market. Most players operate on a ‘once sold no responsibility’ model. In contrast, we provide support, such as fixing a product if it suffers minor damage and returning it to our regular customers. These are aspects that make Vedas Exports a preferred brand for customers.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
You must ensure the long-term commitment of your team. This can be achieved by caring for their needs and making them feel happy at work. When a company has high employee churn, it spends a lot of time and resources on training, which could be between 3 to 4 months on average. This can not only affect profitability but also the company culture. This emphasis on employee welfare and happiness has resulted in positive outcomes for us, and I believe every aspiring entrepreneur must pay great attention to it.
Can you share a specific success story or memorable moment highlighting your brand or products’ impact on your customers or the community?
In the due period, we have seen various successes, such as actress Taapsee Pannu, who used our products in her house. Then we have seen our products used in multiple OTT shows, movies, etc. But the most significant high for us is the repeat purchase by our customers; this is a validation of us doing the right thing.