Plüsch being at the forefront in India has introduced globally renowned and opulent lifestyle brands to the Indian market, particularly in the kitchen and living segments. With a commitment to embodying international standards, the company ensures precision and perfection in showcasing these leading luxury brands. In the kitchen, wardrobe, and furniture categories, Plüsch caters to the Indian clientele, delivering exceptional service and a commitment to excellence. In this edition of Expert Talk with BuildingandInteriors, Sukriti Sharrma, Partner, Plüsch, discusses the company’s journey from introducing premium German brands like Poggenpohl to expanding its extensive portfolio, the opportunities and challenges in the premium living space and insights into active product segments.
B&I: Plüsch has a collection of premium brands from Germany. Poggenpohl is the first brand you brought to India. How has the journey been from kitchens to (now) a fairly extensive portfolio?
Sukriti Sharrma: The Plüsch journey has been very interesting with how things have panned out in terms of expansion and change. For 15 years, we were known as just Poggenpohl India, and that’s how we have built the brand in India. Eventually, we realised that our discerning clientele sought more from us through the years, and Plüsch was conceptualised to deliver the same holistic vision under one roof. They are happy with our service and after-sales, which is our utmost priority, and how we continue to grow is through word of mouth – clients, friends, and friends of friends- coming back for their second and third kitchens.
Plüsch was built as a brand that is a one-stop solution with an extensive portfolio for every client looking for high-end German products for their home. Today, Plüsch houses kitchen, wardrobe, and indoor and outdoor furniture.
B&I: What are the opportunities and challenges you see in the premium living space in India?
Sukriti Sharrma: The Indian market is currently experiencing rapid and substantial growth opportunities. Post-pandemic, people have started investing significantly more in their homes. They want a bigger space, they want to live well and spend on goods that last a lifetime. Well-traveled clients, equipped with in-depth product knowledge, simplify collaboration by reducing the necessity for extensive product value explanations. This enhances the overall ease of working with them. They can perceive the distinction and comprehend its uniqueness, allowing us to customize our products to their vision.
Digital Media is a massive opportunity in the design space, as one can showcase their work so easily on Instagram and YouTube. All these various channels can help touch base with millions of people, and it’s a great way to grow a brand if done right.
Challenges are inherent in every business, with its share of ups and downs. For instance, global politics and trade policies can always be challenging in such a volatile scenario. The impact of euro fluctuations, global market dynamics shaped by conflicts, and the surge in demand due to social media trends present significant challenges. Additionally, adapting to the dynamic world of Artificial Intelligence and virtual reality in design requires proactive adaptation to stay ahead of the curve, emphasizing the importance of trend-conscious engagement.
B&I: The specifier community – architects & interior designers play an important role in this category. What ecosystem does Plüsch provide to them when it comes to pre-sales and post-sales technical support?
Sukriti Sharrma: For us, after-sales and client satisfaction are of utmost importance. That is honestly the only way we have grown. I am always part of WhatsApp groups with clients, allowing me to monitor project progress from inception to client handover. This ensures comprehensive oversight of every stage. If a client raises a complaint, they know our technician will reach their site in 24 hours. At Plüsch, we handle counter installation and fabrication, ensuring an end-to-end solution for clients and designers. Our goal is to ensure that our clients have zero headaches for the space that is being handled by Plüsch.
We ensure that we constantly update our work, client testimonials, new installations, and clients who have been using our kitchen for over 10 years. The value of the product is something you will truly realize 10-12 years down the line when everything is working seamlessly and as perfectly as the first year.
B&I: Having solutions that are imported from Germany, what are the typical lead times for a project? Can you run us through a typical sales process?
Sukriti Sharrma: From the date of finalizing the order, we take 4 months for the products to reach the client’s site. Our on-time delivery rate is almost 98%, which has been the case even through Covid. We did not have delays even when the markets were volatile.
Our sales process begins when we receive an enquiry and receive the AutoCAD plan from the client. Following that, we engage in a detailed discussion to understand how they would like us to plan their space. We explore appliance choices and inquire about design preferences, such as Vastu considerations, specifications, and finer details.
We follow a comprehensive checklist in collaboration with the client. After that, we proceed to design and provide a project quotation. After multiple changes and iterations, once the design is finalized, we move ahead to discuss the mood board and prepare the 3D renders for the client. Once the design quote and 3D are closed, we take the site measurements, make the final document, and on approval, we place the order with our respective brands abroad.
During the time it takes for the products to arrive, our team communicates with the client’s site, ensuring readiness. They verify electrical and plumbing points, making sure that the site is prepared according to our booklet. Only when the site is fully ready for installation do we move forward with the process. Once the shipment arrives on site, we begin the installation and fabrication work.
B&I: Which are your most active product segments? Retail versus projects – what is the split like?
Sukriti Sharrma: At Plüsch, the kitchen segment is the most active, closely followed by the wardrobe segment, showcasing the highest levels of engagement and demand. With over 25 years of specialisation in this field, our success is further accentuated by our core team’s steadfast commitment, each member having been with us for over 15 years. Their dedication and growth alongside us are integral to our position as the best in what we do.
The retail vs. projects split varies by city. The retail segment is stronger in most cities because we offer highly customized products for individual clientele. In Mumbai, followed by Hyderabad, we have a stronger ratio of the number of individual residences and projects.
B&I: What are your growth targets over the next 12 months? Are there any new categories you are looking at?
Sukriti Sharrma: We are looking to automate more operations for a seamless backend working in our organization. Additionally, there is a focus on boosting sales efforts. This year, we’re launching a German furniture brand called Bullfrog, specializing in indoor/outdoor furniture. We are eagerly anticipating the reception of Bullfrog within the design fraternity.
The kitchen is a crucial room in the house, and its setting is very personal. From a small kitchen setup to a big one, everyt