As CNBC-TV18's special show, Young Turks, reaches destination London, Faiza Seth, Indian born, US raised entrepreneur shares her story of Casa Forma.
A graduate from Stanford, Faiza Seth took the road often travelled but soon realized her heart was not in the business of using money to make money. She decided to pursue her passion and her love for luxury with Casa Forma. Originally set up as a property development firm, Casa Forma reshaped its business model to luxury design after the 2008 financial crash.
Today with her team of 14 designers Seth claims she created designs that combine comfort with luxury and functionality with finish. In less than four years, Casa Forma has designed homes, residential complexes, clubs, stores and even yachts. Growing 40% year on year Seth now has designs on the growing luxury markets in India.
Below is an edited transcript of Faiza Seth's tÍte-ŗ-tÍte on CNBC-TV18ís Young Turks. Also watch the accompanying video.
Q: How important is the Indian market for you because on the luxury side, the market specifically is seeing a surge whether itís luxury cars or luxury brands? How much of a chunk of your revenues do you actually see coming in from India as oppose to the UK currently?
A: Indiaís luxury market is growing. In 2010, it grew at 20% to USD 5.8 billion but still India is in very nascent stages. Only 2% of global luxury market revenue comes from India whereas China is over 20%. There is a great demand for it. We have a few projects that we work on India. In India, we are targeting clients who appreciate very luxurious and higher standard of product and design. We get 10,000 hits on our website a month and we get so many enquiries.
Q: You are a private company but give me a sense of where you actually see your revenues and your profits. I do imagine that mountains in your business are much higher because you are dealing with the luxury end of the market. So, in that sense you have perhaps been more recession proof than other businesses. What kind of margins are we talking about?
A: Our revenues have grown 40% year on year. We want to get into furniture manufacturing and making and designing and get into retail as well. So there are just so many areas that we can grow and integrate backwards or forwards. We are looking at all these opportunities and assessing everything.
Q: What kind of investments do you have lined up and will you possibly look at India as your manufacturing hub or will you continue to look at using the UK as the hub?
A: We will be using the UK as a base for doing our furniture design but we will be manufacturing things from everywhere.
Q: So, would it be fair to assume that even going forward the focus will continue to be on the residential side of the business as oppose to the commercial side?
A: Now, we are primarily focusing on high end luxury residential spaces but in the future we are looking into getting into doing airplanes and yachts and getting more into hospitability and commercial. We will be assessing the opportunities, evaluating them and going towards the one that we feel is the best and in line with our values and the aesthetics of our luxury designs.
Q: At the start of your entrepreneur ial career you were faced with the 2008 financial meltdown, you had to change your business model, you have to realign the way that you actually looked to the company and you have to take a pay cut. What's been the biggest lesson for you as an entrepreneur ?
A: The biggest lessons I have learnt through Casa Forma is you have to always adapt. I have also realized starting your own business at a relatively young age you just have to be a leader, make decisions, learn from your mistakes and motivate your team is the only way to survive.
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