Niraj Johri’s home décor business started small. Casa Décor now clocks a Rs 100 crore turnover.
Niraj Johri’s small concept in home decor has blossomed into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. Around 13 years ago, he and his brother Pankaj Johri spent a few thousand rupees to purchase several examples of ceramic knobs from Khurja, a village in Uttar Pradesh famed for its ceramic-ware.
Niraj, whose father was involved in furniture exports at the time, explains, “We got these ceramic doorknobs from Khurja for Rs 15-20 and realised it had a big potential to be used as knobs for cabinets and drawers, as they liven up the furniture. Around the same time, in 2009, I began exporting ceramic knobs. We only required a sample to secure the order.”
The major break came when they took the samples to the Ambiente trade show in Germany and sold them for a great profit while also bagging orders to make more. The products were rapidly sold out.
Niraj says, “The reason for our success at Ambiente is that, while doorknobs were accessible in the market as accessories, no one was doing it as a core product, thus it piqued consumers’ interest.”
The brothers now operate Casa Décor, a Rs 100 crore revenue Noida-based home décor firm that sells a diverse range of handmade products, employing over 125 people and collaborating with approximately 10,000 craftsmen in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Casa Decor’s headquarters are in Noida. According to Niraj, our products are reasonably priced, with prices starting at Rs 50.
The company sells over 5,000 goods, including furniture, cookware, metal and wooden sculptures, photo frames, globes, and other ornamental things.
Casa Décor’s popularity has resulted in the development of livelihoods for several families of artisans in the country, who would otherwise struggle to sell their wares.
Their main headquarters and factory are both in Noida’s industrial region of Kasna, where the products are packed and sent.
They also have locations in Delhi, Moradabad, and a few locations in Rajasthan.
Their units employ a large number of women, with the Noida unit alone employing roughly 400 female contract workers. According to Niraj, these women worked on construction sites and are now happier. They work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and have a pleasant working atmosphere. He claims that these women also do hand painting.
Niraj says, “Our handcrafted items are truly (80%) produced by hand. Machines are only employed in a restricted number of ‘hand-made’ products.”
Niraj Johri was born in Ramgarh, Rajasthan, to Kamal and Suman Johri. Pankaj Johri, who is Niraj Johri’s business partner and a Director at Casa Decor, studied business administration and management at the University of Purdue in the United States.
Niraj recalls of his not-so-successful jewellery venture, “It required a lot of investment, and we didn’t have the means to sustain the business.” It was at this point that the notion of ceramic knobs occurred to him.
Khurja, in Uttar Pradesh, around 85 kilometres from Delhi, is a ceramics manufacturing centre. He made the decision to get the knobs from there.
According to Niraj Johri, “Sparkling Hues Gems Pvt Ltd was established in 2008, and we began selling these knobs, For our items, we registered the brand Casa Décor in 2016.”
In 2011, they had a turnover of Rs 1 crore, and ten years later, they had a turnover of Rs 100 crore.
Between 2013 and 2018, the company expanded its operations by establishing relationships with large purchasers and renting three units for packaging materials in Noida.
In 2016, they purchased a facility in Noida’s industrial region of Kasna, where they established their primary unit in a 3,000-square-metre space. It was a watershed moment when the brothers decided to sell online as well. Niraj was in charge of product design and the domestic market, while Pankaj was in charge of exports and sourcing.
Nijaj Johri says, “We have expanded our product, but knobs have remained stable for the past ten years.”