Reshma Chhabria, Founder Creative Head at HIIH brings together artisans from India and Japan to create unique designs and products

Reshma Chhabria,Founder of H2H

Interview with Reshma Chhabria, Founder Creative Head at HIIH

Reshma Chhabria is a design entrepreneur who, after 14 years of practicing interior design, decided to dabble into design retail with her store HIIH (House to Home).

Having lived between Tokyo and Mumbai, HIIH was conceived when she was exploring design in Japan. 

HIIH has Decor pieces crafted in gorgeous Japanese style and their ceramic and glass range of décor has hints of Japanese aesthetics blended with local materials sourced from around the country.

HIIH first launched in 2015 and then shifted shops where Reshma recently launched a bigger experiential store at Mumbai’s Raghuvanshi Mills.

The brand has also recently introduced exclusive rugs by designer Vikram Phadnis as well as a gorgeous home linen collection by designer Wendell Rodericks.

Reshma’s professional repertoire includes working with eminent designers such as Arch Shaukat Mukhi & Ar Pronit Nath before starting her own practice in Design right before launching her brand HIIH.

We request you to consider a brief virtual meeting with Reshma to talk about her design entrepreneurial journey at your convenience.

Tell us a little about yourself

Reshma Chhabria: Born and brought up in Mumbai, I am a single child. My father used to repair dams and bridges and my mother partnered in a small denim factory in Delhi.

I have done my schooling at BAF Petit Girls school and High schooling at Mithibai, Mumbai, following which I pursued my diploma in Interior Design in PV Polytechnic (SNDT). 

Kindly brief us about  HIIH (House to Home), its specialization, and the services that it offers

Reshma Chhabria: H2H is a Design-Led Artisan-Crafted accessories Brand. We design most of our products in-house and all our products are hand crafted by artisans across India and Japan.

Our accessories are carefully designed and crafted to blend utility, aesthetics and detail. Working with artisans in their space and not having our own factory, allows us to work with a wide breadth of materials and skill sets, enabling us to bring more than 1000 designs to our customers. 

Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey

Reshma Chhabria: In the past, I have had the good fortune to work with Arch Shaukat Mukhi as an intern and was called right back there after my design course.

After 6 years of working with him and before starting out on my own, I  had also done a short stint with Arch Pronit Nath ( Urban Studio).

In the course of my practice as an Interior designer, the passion for designing and crafting accessories grew immensely.

At that time, there were very few stores and brands that catered to good quality accessories when it came to accessorising a space.

Clients used to have this impression that Indian accessories were, in fact, too Indian and would not work for a modern space.

They would rather consider China and Italy for the same. HIIH was born out of the urge to change this very mindset to create an understanding that when given designs, Indian artisans could create world class quality accessories. 

What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur?

Reshma Chhabria: I think entrepreneurship came naturally to me as a part of my growth footstep. I have always wanted to create with freedom and being an entrepreneur allows just that to me.

What is your biggest USP

Reshma Chhabria: Our main USP as a brand is that we have products designed in house by Interior Designers. We are a 100% handcrafted company made by artisans who’s skill sets are highlighted. 

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

Reshma Chhabria: I wouldn’t call them failures, instead I think of them as my learning curves. The first of these learnings has to be the understanding of the economics of a business.

As creative people, we tend to overlook a lot of aspects about finance. Being from a service background, I did not think I knew enough prior to starting with HIIH.

This journey with HIIH involving manufacturing, inventory and trying to retail products, came like a degree in finance in itself to me!

The 2nd one was about  people management.  Artisans are equally as creative who come with their own whims and mood swings.

Learning and managing a set of people, each having a wide range of emotions of their own was definitely an everyday learning experience for me. 

Third is about being at peace with what your product stands for. You will have people who would think the products are well-priced/affordable but you will also have people who would think they are a bit too expensive/over-prized.

Justifying the product’s details with utmost honesty is something that was a part of my learnings throughout my journey.

As a startup, every sale is important. The lost ones used to be painful in the beginning but slowly and steadily, we have built and continue to build a community of people who understand and value quality and handcrafted well done products.

What made you choose this type of business?

Reshma Chhabria: It came from the constant feedback that Indian artisans crafted well, but could make products that looked very Indian in their aesthetics.

However as a designer, I was very confident that the artisan’s skill could be explored for any international looking décor piece. 

Your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs

Reshma Chhabria: The few things that I have learnt and I feel every budding entrepreneur needs to as well is to learn how to adapt to change.

There are things that will never be in your control, you and your company need to be fluid to adapt to those.

To preserve and be patient would be my advice to all. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I believe nothing of value can ever really be.

Hire well but also know every aspect of running a business. The most important of them all is to be able to communicate with your consumer. I believe the right language and connection really helps build a complete holistic company/brand.   

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