The inspiration was taken from a gap in the market: to provide unique products and luxury wares that could not be sourced in the country. So when luxury sanitaryware company Casa Milano broke into the home furnishing scene with a business model that catered to 360-degree luxury bathroom requirements, the company wasn’t too surprised with the exceptionally warm reception.

The key, says Azhar Sajan, the company’s director, was to understand what the customers really need and focusing primarily on the world’s top brands.

"It will generally take at least three years for a business to get a foothold or break even, but Casa Milano proved its mettle in the first year itself despite the pandemic," says Azhar. "I remember my father’s words clearly on the launch day of my showroom. He said, ‘your first task of opening the showroom is well done, but your real challenge starts from tomorrow when you open the doors to your clients. My first target was to create brand awareness of Casa Milano’s showroom to the right audience, as we were targeting a very niche category of people."

Luxury products from around the world

Understanding how market gaps can be an amazing source of inspiration and opportunity, Azhar took a deep dive into the niche market and reached out to potential customers through different digital media, including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as print media. "Our sales started picking up from the initial month," he reveals.

Casa Milano, which celebrates its first anniversary this month, offers a diverse mix of uniquely designed washbasins, showers, mixers, tiles/slabs and solid surfaces manufactured by over 40 of the world’s top-notch brands, including Tonino Lamborghini, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Villeroy & Boch, Maison Valentina, Grespania, Corian, Quartz and Corà.

"Our showroom is designed to give our visitors the complete feeling of being surrounded by a congregation of world-class amenities," says Azhar. "It boasts a touch-and-feel concept and this attribute is intensified by the state-of-the-art, exquisite products such as 24-carat gold tiles, diamond bathtubs, hands-on experience of live showers, bathtubs, and Corian, which are rarely found."

New mindset

The company’s strong momentum from the outset helped cushion the impact of the pandemic, but Azhar also noted that the stay-at-home regulations have shifted the priorities of many people. "It made them think as to how they can improve their homes," he says, adding how this change in mindset was reflected by an uptick in the company’s sales. "Covid-19 gave an opportunity to a lot of people to modify their house as they got enough time to think of revamp plans."

The company was also strategically positioned to take advantage of opportunities during this period. "Covid-19 definitely impacted a lot of businesses in the UAE, but what separated us was that we had kept certain levels of stock for each item," reveals Azhar. "We had more of those products that were hot and urgently required in the market, which were disinfectant products such as touchless dispensers and sensor mixers."

Moreover, it remaining actively in touch with the different market segments was also crucial for the company. "The construction might have slowed down but it never stopped. Our outdoor sales team reached out to all the construction sites and ensured that our products were specified by the consultants and approved by the client," he says. "Also, we reached out to niche areas like Emirates Hills, Dubai Hills and Downtown Dubai, where individual owners were refurbishing their houses.

"Luxury is like selling dreams, and my goal is to fulfill the dreams of all our clients."

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