Neeraj khandelwal- Founder and Director of Vesna inc
GREAT COMPANIES: Can you commence by telling a little about your start –up?
NEERAJ KHANDELWAL: We are into manufacturing of stone veneers, which is a natural stone at just 1mm. So I always get this question " How is it made?" No we are not slicing, but waxing. We use a strong adhesive to rip off the first layer of the stone onto a sheet. Our brand S-tilestone- the world's thinnest stone is distributed in over 25 countries, with Asia and Europe being our main markets, although we do have distributors in USA and Middle East region too. Despite the product has been around for many years and facing some competition, we have made a name for ourselves, by providing high quality products and also a large number of different surfaces, such as slate, marble, metallic, translucent, 3D DIY wall panels and in fact even now during the lockdown we are working on more new concepts.
GREAT COMPANIES: How do you plan to increase your marketing?
NEERAJ KHANDELWAL: Our product is very niche, yet it has many applications. One would think this is a wall decoration/cladding product and that's about it. However, the product has limitless possibilities and uses. Our marketing line is "Limited only by your imagination with unlimited applications." We have made phone covers, stone art, stone diaries and much more. We usually market through exhibitions, attending conferences and print ads through our channel partners in different countries, however; during this time of Covid-19 coupled with the uncertainty of how long this will last, we are looking to increase our online presence, through online exhibitions, partnering with material library websites such as Material District and Archiproducts, and more social media marketing. I think this is also great time to start developing a virtual online showroom.
GREAT COMPANIES: How do you provide services to your client?
NEERAJ KHANDELWAL: In order to provide the right service to anyone, one must understand the clients need, we first ask our clients a series of questions based on which we suggest the relevant product and application method. Since S-tilestone is a natural product it has many characteristics and also colour differences, we divide this into different lots ensuring clients get what they need. We always ask the client to send us the image of the product the end client has approved, because if the end client is not satisfied, we have not done our job. After receiving this we send images of our lots of the stone and only once we receive a go ahead from the client in writing we proceed to pack the order. We take quality extremely seriously and have a very stringent quality process. Firstly, we procure from the most reliable and reputed suppliers. Secondly, we conduct various quality check/tests. In India, we have a team of trained installers so we can not only supply the material but also execute the project for them.
GREAT COMPANIES: How do you manage your clients?
NEERAJ KHANDELWAL: So other than India, we have an office in Japan and support office in the USA as well. We divide the clientele based on geographic location. Again in exports as the customer cannot see you, you and your staff have to be well-trained to handle situations accordingly. Handling a potential, new and old client all have very different strategies. While having a strategy is always good, I have learnt that just being honest with the client, most of the times works wonders! You would be surprised that we have many clients who have never met me or anyone from my team, but still have sent us 100% advance payments, this is largely due to the way the clients was handled during the very first call/email. It may be a cliché but "First impression is the last impression." Building that trust right at the initial stage is crucial.
GREAT COMPANIES: What do you see your company in five years?
NEERAJ KHANDELWAL: We would like to be selling to 150 plus countries in the next 5 years, but as a company we want to constantly raise the bar of R&D and bring more innovative products into the market. If we are able to increase both the variety and application of our products, I am sure we will be able to achieve this. People in the design industry are always looking for new ideas and only those companies who keep up with that pace succeed. We want to be recognized as a company who has a wide range of innovative materials for the designers in any industry.