C.BHOGILAL WESTEND 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 WESTEND 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!
We at Maison Valentina, through Design Talks, had the pleasure to interview Mr. Kekin Shah, the responsible person for C.Bohilal Westend, one of the greatest collaborators of our brand!
Design Talks include interviews with leading architects, interior designers, and showrooms to discover and discuss what’s trending and the whole creative process of any project!
According to your website, C Bhogilal was founded in 1914. Can you tell us a little bit more about these more than 100 years of history and how did you get to be the pioneer in the supply of high-end bathroom products in the country?
So, hello guys, my name is Kekin Shah from C. Boghilal Westend Group. Yes, we are a 108-year-old firm and 4th generation in the business. We start 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. We expanded all the years and started doing printings on tiles in the ’80s and 90’, we were more a tile company than a sanitary brand or faucet company.
In 1998 imports were allowed in the country in a big way, we started importing tiles and sanitary from Italy, England, and Germany and we tried to work with many 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. In a bit of time, in the last 10 years, we have been pioneers, we are leaders in our city of Mumbai, we expanded to Delhi and Bangalore and I believe we are leaders in our business. We have a difference, we are not a product company, we are more of a service company. We have great industry and service installation and we have great teams helping clients do the installation of the bathroom and the water finishes. We understood also that there is a great niche, India being a developing country, great niche, extraordinary work with eternize with the niche bathroom industry.
Ok, so, the fourth generation, it is incredible! You are indeed part of the history of this industry and in India. That question of the niche, was why you decided to focus your services and products on the bathroom space, right? Because you understood it was really something to look for and probably there was not enough offer or quality offered in your area?
We are in a traditional family business. In the ’90s with a thought about investing in the kitchens but we said “That’s not our focus”, we were leaders in our cities in the ’80s and ’90s, and now we are leaders in the country. We kept our focus on the bathroom businesses, instead of focusing on another thing and losing our focus.
From what I know, C. Bhogilal West End has been cooperating with Maison Valentina since 2015, being one of our oldest clients and most loyal clients. Why the choice of this brand to complement your company’s offer?
So, you know, 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.
We are very happy to cooperate with you as well. As I said, you are one of our oldest clients, Maison Valentina was founded in 2014 and you were with us right from the beginning, we are thankful for your trust in our brand and we hope there is more to grow from now on.
We will cooperate for a long, long time
Is there any particular Maison Valentina or any of the brands that we work on with Home’Society that you consider your favorite or that is a best-seller in your showroom?
It’s difficult to define a single best product of Maison Valentina, but if you ask for a single one, KOI is my favorite. KOI’s design is brilliant.
Yes, it’s one of our best sellers indeed and it is inspired by the design of our sister brands, that is BRABBU, and we also have the tables, dining tables, and consoles. Most people agree that is indeed an exquisite design the one that you see in KOI.
Your company has worked on some great projects. What have been some of your personal
Highlights, so far?
Being an old company and 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 is four bathrooms, all the consoles, all the showers, and all the basins. It was a great project, I really enjoyed working there.
What are you working on at the moment? From what we know, you will be opening a new showroom in New Delhi very soon
Yes, I think we will be opening the Delhi showroom by June 2021. The interiors already started, I think we should order Maison Valentina’s products in the next couple of months. We are excited for working in the Delhi market, it’s a larger market with bigger homes, bigger spenders than the western part of India, we are quite excited to take Maison Valentina there.
And why did you choose New Delhi to expand your business, any particular reason?
Well, as I said Delhi is the biggest market in the northern part of India and it covers most of the north and northeast of India, that’s a very large market, with lots of industries there. People reach out from these smaller towns to come to Delhi to shop for their houses. It is quite a distance, about two hours flying from Mumbai, so people from India will fly for Mumbai. So in the western part of India, all cities are covered by Mumbai and in the northern part of India, they are covered by Delhi. So we are expanding to Delhi, and we hope it to be a huge success.
Yes, we hope so too. It has a very strategic decision, to make sure all market is covered. Besides India, do you have any other international clients that go to C. Bhogilal West End to buy your products and services?
So, there are lots of Indians staying in Dubai, lots of Indians staying in Africa. So every year, lots of them come and shop in India. We ask them “Why India when you have 20% import duties? “And they said the kind of service available in India and the hard-working staff, you won’t get it in other places of Africa and Dubai. So yes, we have at least 8 to 10 clients coming from these countries every year.
That’s great. Do you have any favorite current trend that has been around the interior design world? Something that you really like about bathroom design or other spaces?
I think 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, colours 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 in coloured faucets and exaggerating and it is exciting. Instead of some dull colours and tones, that’s very exciting for us.
And for Maison Valentina as well, we have lots of golden and even silver to complement those bathrooms as well. Do you believe there is any fundamental difference in the design process or favorite interior design styles and taste between Europe and India?
The way I see in Europe, and I work with a lot of European designers, 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.
It makes sense because with the customization you can adapt much more to people’s taste, to your client’s taste. If you have that option, that’s good people take advantage of it just to complement their styles better.
So, in the last few days, C. Bhogilal West End was part of the renowned India Design 2021. How did it go? What are your thoughts on the event, even if it is online?
So, I was pretty skeptical being online but I saw the reports stating there were at least 50 000 architects and designers logging in, so it was very exciting. In the previous weeks, we did our shoots and interviews and it ended up being a super success. But I still want the exhibition to be in person, you know, people coming in and talking, that’s what I enjoy.
Yes, totally. Were most designers present there from India or from other countries as well?
Lots of designers from Europe and Asia too, lots of interviews of designers from Europe and also Asia as well.
What is your design motto and philosophy? Could you describe it to us? If there is something that you really like to put in your work and you believe makes the difference?
Well, my motto to all my customers is 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.
I think that it what makes the difference, the service, not the product
The product can be done by anybody, anywhere. But service is something… If you have a good service company, you will be present for 100 generations more.
Yes, like C. Bhogilal West End has shown us, four generations and probably four more to come. We hope so.
Thank you so much
Thank you, Mr. Kekin, we hope to hear from you again. A soon as you have more information about the opening of your showroom in New Delhi, please tell us. We will be glad to share it on our social networks and our blogs, just to make sure everyone knows about it
Of course, we will send the pictures of the opening.
It was an incredible honor to able to interview Mr. Kekin, and we hope you, the reader, enjoyed this article and that you follow closely the developments of this amazing company!
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