The smell of new furniture, bold yet sweet scents, stacks of linen and curtains, a myriad of kingsized beds, mood lighting and a calming concoction of candles and incense fragrances welcome us as we enter the newly opened @home — the retail division of Nilkamal’s second store — in the city. The brick-and-mortar store located on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai (above KIA s h owroom), Ekkatuthangal was inaugurated on Sunday by actress Aishwarya Rajesh. The city’s first @home outlet is at Aminjikarai. “Nilkamal Limited took a big leap and entered into the home furnishing and decor industry in 2005. We opened our first showroom in Pune... since then, there’s been no looking back.
This is our 23rd store,” said Chetan Kumar, GM (Retail), to CE on the sidelines of the launch. We took a quick tour of the store spread across two floors. You’ll be spoilt for choice with a plethora of furniture, homeware and accessories, lifestyle products, crockery, itsy- bitsy candles, paintings and knick-knacks on display. K Madhusudhana Rao and Saji Sebastin, directors, @home by Nilkamal, Ekkatuthangal, said, “We run the KIA motors showroom in Ekkatuthangal. We were looking for another brand that sinks with KIA’s sensibilities and ideology to stitch it with the showroom.
That’s when we came across @home’s franchise opportunity. Everything synced and we became part of it. We are happy to join hands with @home, which has the best of all products.” Talking about the changes and progression in the home furnishing industry, Chetan said, “In the last 15 years, the home furnishing industry has progressed. To keep up with the times, our design team, on a weekly/ monthly basis, brainstorms ideas. We get inputs from popular magazines, designers and architects — about designs, colours and interior trends.
The aim is to bridge the gap between the eclectic market and what customers want. Based on the needs, we customise it to suit Indian needs. There is a huge demand for eco-friendly decor and furnishing front and we are looking to tap on that.” Each @home store has a skilled inhouse team of designers to assist customers with interior planning solutions — by means of proprietary three-dimensional imaging software at no additional cost. Professional guidance in buying the right products, loan options, convenient home delivery and installation are other value-added services that @home offers. Aishwarya Rajesh spoke about the affordability factor of the products @home.
“I have an eye for furnishing, and enjoy working on setting-up my home. What I like the most about this brand is the good-quality products they provide for an affordable rate. I think that’s how brands should work — they should cater to all kinds of people. There should be a balance, and @home does it efficiently,” she said.