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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Meet the couple that built Rs 60cr furniture & home decor business from scrap

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Hritesh Lohiya and his wife Priti Lohiya started  a business that makes furniture from scrap items. The company called, Priti International, now clock a Rs 60 crore turnover.

Hritesh Lohiya lost several thousands of rupees in two enterprises he established as a teenager shortly after graduating from college. But, because to his never-say-die attitude and perseverance, his fortunes changed when he and his wife Priti came up with the notion of obtaining money from garbage. In 2005, the pair began creating furniture out of metal waste.

Ambassador Car Sofa and Rajdoot Bar Table are two of their spectacular scrap inventions.

Priti adds, “We repurposed ancient Rajdoot bikes into bar counters to store wine jars, bottles, goblets, and glasses. The firm also manufactures a variety of home décor items. We typically employ blankets and army uniform garbage obtained in bulk at relatively affordable costs from the Jodhpur military recycling yard.”

Today, they manufacture a wide range of furniture and home décor goods, and their firm, Priti International Ltd, is listed on the NSE with a yearly revenue of Rs 60 crore.

Their products are shipped to 40 countries, and they have just began to concentrate on the home market.

“It was not an easy route to success. I failed at every business venture I attempted, but I never gave up “Hritesh, 50, was introduced to business at a young age when he began aiding his father while attending college. Hritesh and Priti comb a container yard for scrap metal.

His father had a firm that manufactured chemicals for textile processing equipment.

“Shortly after that, I began dealing with granite stones in the South India region, having researched the sector before to launching my stone cutting operation.”

His company bought stones on credit from wholesalers in Jodhpur and sold them to merchants in Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru.

However, his firm also struggled owing to late payments and customers’ refusal to complete Form C, forcing him to pay 24% sales tax instead of 12%. He left the granite firm after two years, in 1996, and experimented in stock market trading with a friend. He married Priti the same year.

“In 1997, I sustained significant losses and became bankrupt. It took me five agonising years to recover from it all,” Hritesh explains

During that time, he worked at his father’s chemical business. Around 2002, he spotted the empty chemical containers lying around at his father’s workplace and had a bright idea.

He had the idea of repurposing the drums into functional furniture and shared it with Priti, who quickly stepped in.

The drums were converted into sitting stools by the couple, who added a leather seat on top. They also converted discarded materials into Nagara tables, kitchen hutches, sofas, and seats.

Fortunately, we were contacted by a consumer from the United States.” The US client showed an interest in visiting Jodhpur and inquired about Hritesh’s production facility.

“I lied to him and claimed to run a factory. In fact, I had no notion he’d be visiting Jodhpur from the United States,” Hritesh explains. That irritated him greatly.

Loren Spendlove, an entrepreneur from the United States, placed the first purchase for Rs 25 lakh worth of furniture in 2004.

Hritesh recounts how he closed the contract with no factory setup or money in hand: “I didn’t have any money to do the task. I told him about my predicament and that I required his assistance to complete the purchase “

Loren continues to assist them in growing their business. Hritesh says, “Loren is my godfather in our business.”

He requested Hritesh to accompany him on business visits to China and see how the Chinese functioned.

“The Chinese were creating antique furniture. They produced new versions of antique furniture as well as renovated old furniture,” recalls Hirtesh, who now manufactures similar products at Priti International.

“Our furniture combines elegance, ethnicity, royalty, and tradition to create an appearance of brilliance in any location.”

In 2008, they gained a significant boost to their company after attending the Handicrafts Export Promotion Council event at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

With orders pouring in, the firm began hiring in 2007.

They had previously outsourced manufacturing to external parties. Today, the firm employs 300 contract workers and 80 full-time employees. In Jodhpur, they have three manufacturing units.

“We didn’t need to borrow any money to pay the extension; we paid for it all ourselves,” Hritesh explains.

Priti International became a publicly traded firm in 2017, and its revenue is expected to reach Rs 60 crore in 2021-22.

Priti International Limited is currently concentrating its efforts on the domestic market, with ambitions to open locations in Jodhpur, Bengaluru, and Pune.


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