Design Talks is the newest project of Home’Society. This collective of well-renowned brands, such as BRABBU, Maison Valentina, and Rug’Society, aims to give a complete solution to everyone willing to create unique interiors within the modern contemporary style. Its goal is to be the reference in the design and interior design world, by creating a platform with a new vision of micro and macro trends within the interior design industry, generating added value for the design lover community.
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Design Talks include then interviews with leading architects, interior designers, and showrooms to discover and discuss what’s trending and the whole creative process of any project. For its first interview, Home Society interviewed Mr. Kekin Shah, the responsible of C.Bhogilal West End firm.
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C.BHOGILAL WEST END is an organization that works in retail, with a 5000 sqft area showroom in Vile Parle (West), Mumbai. The company has specialized in ceramic tiles, sanitary, Fitting & Faucets among other bathroom items. C.BHOGILAL WEST END is a family-run business, and each project has a specialized team that will attend small and large projects, taking into account all of the project’s particularities. If there is one thing to be sure, is that this company will always know what kind of product perfectly fits your bathroom!
The showroom is the pioneer in the supply of high-end bathroom products in India and has worked with a large number of renowned brands like Hansgrohe, Kohler, Duravit, villeroy&boch, Dornbracht, among others.
The success of this company is truly impressive, and their mastery has allowed them to focus “on client relationships and working with at least 60% of the top clients of our country”, which is incredibly impressive! The company has been a pioneer in all things bathroom products, and its 108-year-old history is only complemented by the family that has been continuously catering to the company’s needs. As Mr. Kekin Shah explains “We started a small showroom on the south side of Mumbai, trading mostly tiles and bathroom accessories from England and Italy and slowly we started bringing some artifacts from Italy and selling them to the maharajas and royal families of India.” And with the advancement of the years and the flow of the decades, they were able to become more than a sanitary brand or faucet company, they started to also become a tile company, delivering only goods of the highest quality!
In 1998 imports were allowed in India in a big way, and the company started importing tiles and sanitary from Italy, England, and Germany and we tried to work in conjunction with other companies. “We did a good job but in 2010 I realized the world was getting smaller with the internet and you can get any product in the world. I looked at the bathroom industry and the interior industry and I said “My company is more than 80 years old, we will get lost”. So we get up the value chain and started doing niche luxury bathroom faucets and small finishes.” The company then started to direct its work into specific niches and was able to greatly expand and grow.
Being this a family business, it was important to focus on what the company’s offer was, they decided not to invest in kitchens and decided to turn themselves into country market leaders in the bathroom business. As Mr. Kekin so politely points out: “We kept our focus on the bathroom businesses, instead of focusing on another thing and losing our focus.”
Being focused on the bathroom business, it was only natural that C. Bhogilal West End would eventually come across Maison Valentina, forming a partnership that started in 2015 and will, hopefully, be lifelong.
Regarding the specific choice of Maison Valentina, Mr. Kekin Shah said that “looking at the companies in the ’90s and 2000, we saw that one of the most luxury bathroom boutique companies was Maison Valentina. They have great production, great quality, great finishes, and fantastic communication with the team. That’s why we decided to work with this company, and we love the design, its aesthetics. We have been working with each other for 5 years and we are very happy.“
Mr. Kekin was asked about how he felt about Maison Valentina’s products, mentioning the Koi collection as the stand-out of all of the companies designs! And the truth is, we couldn’t be prouder of this dazzling collection!
The company has had some fantastic highlights over the years, being an old company that is very focused on client relationships “and working with at least 60% of the top clients of our country, there is not a single client I would specify, but I remember two years back a top Bollywood actor’s house. We decored his four bathrooms, all the consoles, all the showers, and all the basins. It was a great project, I really enjoyed working there.” Truly an amazing highlight that positions this company firmly in the high-end luxurious business.
At the moment, however, Mr. Kekin mentions that the company will open a new showroom in Delhi in June 2021! “I think we should order Maison Valentina’s products in the next couple of months” he kindly adds! The great thing about New Delhi is, as he mentions, that the market is larger, with many more cities and markets covered by Delhi, and bigger with more money and influence involved, and that means greater opportunities!
The companies borders also expanded to the world, not only India, and given the number of Indian immigrants staying in countries like Dubai come to bargain for products in their home country, the company can firmly say they are represented in both the African continent and the European one. When asked about favorite trends, Mr. Kekin mentions that he thinks that “some little classic is coming back.
After years of some contemporary and minimalistic interiors, I think classic is coming back. People want to see more rich luxury, colors like gold and silver. Because with the PVD technology in the faucets, you have 10 to 15 years with faucets without being scratched, so people are getting back into colored faucets and exaggerating and it is exciting. Instead of some dull colors and tones, that’s very exciting for us.“
The C.BHOGILAL WEST END leader also states that regarding the style differences in the design processes between Europe and India “there is a very systematic way of working. Everything is pre-designed, pre-ordered with a styling, including bathroom cabinets, bathroom showers, bathroom enclosures, everything is pre-designed pieces. In India, we have almost 90% of the products being customized, including the bathtub, the shower enclosures, the floor, everything is customized. India has very skilled and not so expensive labor, so we can do customized products very quickly and it won’t be that expensive. Doing anything customized in Italy or in Portugal will cost you five times the price in India. Customization is the key to doing business here.”
When questioned about the prestigious India Design 2021, he mentions that he was skeptical about being online but then he saw the reports stating there were at least 50 000 architects and designers logging in, and everything became more exciting and rewarding.
Regarding his work philosophy, Mr. Kekin described his motto as “saying I am not in retail or product space. I am in the services space. I tell all my salespeople and my after-sales people that we are in the service space, to give them the best service possible. This is the foundation and what makes us stay ahead of the race.” He ends up adding that the service is what, in the end, will make all the difference in assuring the client’s trust.