Evolvex and Luxmy Furniture in the Sydney Morning Herald
We are so excited to be featured on the SMH today!!! Head over to www.evolvex.com.au to see what the fuss is about.
A new twist for father and daughter team
January 25, 2012 – 10:22AM
Starting a new venture is never an easy thing. Taking an idea from conception to launch and beyond can be a recipe for pressure, angst and frustration.
Throw in a family member and you never know how things will turn out.
The father/daughter combination of Sudhindra and Priyanka Rao have thrown caution to the wind with the launch of Evolvex, a sideline to Sudhindra’s commercial furnishing company Luxmy.
Evolvex is an online furniture store with a twist. Consumers design their own pieces – say cupboards, tables or chairs – and decide on everything from size to colour. They can also add to, rework and remake pieces years later.
“When customers go to the website and design something, it is actually saved on the site, so when you come back three years later, you see what else can be done with it, add to it or make it into something else,” says Sudhindra.
The 58-year-old began working in the furniture industry when he launched Luxmy in 1997.
That business has grown an average of 15 per cent each year since its conception, and staff numbers have increased from 14 to 40 over that time.
The idea of Evolvex was originally born out of frustration. In 2009, while helping his youngest daughter move out, Sudhindra became frustrated with the quality of the furniture, and thought he could provide retail furniture that was much better.
“The quality of what we bought was so bad that in transit it actually broke, so I to bring it back to our factory to put it together,” he says.
Around the same time, his daughter Priyanka was completing an MBA assignment that got her thinking about product customisation and delivery.
“We’d seen a few traders of this concept internationally taken online. For example LEGO. At the LEGO factory you can design your own LEGO online and have all the parts delivered to your door,” says Priyanka.
“When Dad was talking about this experience of purchasing furniture and how frustrating it was we just thought it could be something we could take on, forward and plan for an online release.”
Despite the potential pitfalls of working with family, the two vowed to make communication a priority and launched Evolvex last November.
“The combination works really well, there is always a bit of a learning curve when it comes to accepting direction though,” says Priyanka.
“But it works really well because he knows me really well,” she says.”He’s patient and he’ll put up with any mistakes that I make more than I think most bosses would.”
Before Evolvex, Priyanka, 25, had a successful career in the consumer marketing department of record label EMI music, but was looking for a change.
“I had finished my MBA and had an inkling to do something a bit more entrepreneurial,” she says.
“Dad and I had been throwing this idea of Evolvex around for a few years and we were going to push forward with it but we weren’t sure.”
After much consideration and planning, getting their idea from the drawing board into practice presented its own challenges but both Priyanka and Sudhindra felt the time was right not just for them personally but for online retailers.
“So we had to come up with something that would make our idea possible. We’ve got a really great team,” he says.”We put our heads together and it took us six months to come up with a system.”
The pair chose to use wood Australian manufactured wood that was forest certified and had a low formaldehyde content.
Sudhindra believes that the quality of Australian wood cannot be beaten and having something homegrown and eco-friendly are high on consumers’ priority lists.
“At the same time we have to keep the prices reasonable, we can’t expect people to pay 10 per cent more for Australian made products, it’s not going to work,” he says.
While Evolvex is still in its early stages, the pair are already planning how to grow the business and add more products.
So far, both Sudhindra and Priyanka are enjoying the experiencing of working together and hope to maintain a long and successful business.
“When you get to work, you need to stop thinking about them as family. That is the key, its not a matter of respect, but you won’t really listen to each other in the same you do with colleagues or a boss,” says Priyanka.
“We had an understanding. Generally if you’re working for your Dad, he’s the boss, but the flipside of that is I can challenge some of his thinking more than an ordinary employee would.”
For Sudhindra there is nothing better than working with family.
“For me, it has been a fantastic experience and I enjoy it. After 15 years in the business it has brought me new life.”