5 Questions with Dr. Andreas Hettich and Andre Eckholt on Hettich’s meaningful ties with India as a new flagship store opens in Mumbai

APR 10, 2024 | By Aditi Singla
Dr. Andreas Hettich, Chairman of the Hettich Group Advisory Board; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India
Andre Eckholt, Managing Director of Hettich India, Middle East, Africa & SAARC; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India
Inside the new Hettich flagship store in Mumbai; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India

It is through the power of great design and engineering that a furniture brand spells distinct styles and provides unique retail experiences. There are only a few players that stand out in this arena and Hettich, a German lifestyle brand is undoubtedly one of them. It swiftly rose to become a leader in Indian furniture fittings and hardware solutions with the advent of 13 flagship stores strategically termed as application centres.

The opening of their new flagship store in Mumbai marks the era of new-age innovation and practicality in interior design. This next-level application centre marks the debut of the new look and format of their Hettich Application Centres in India. Designed with a keen eye on the latest trends, it serves a dynamic immersive experience showcasing Hettich’s diverse product range, live cooking demos for consumers to witness the functionality of the built-in appliances, trend-setting furniture designs and fitting products recognized for their optimal functionality. 

Inside the new Hettich flagship store in Mumbai; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India

The launch event, attended by Hettich’s team in the presence of Dr. Andreas Hettich, Chairman of the Hettich Group Advisory Board and Andre Eckholt, Managing Director of Hettich India, Middle East, Africa & SAARC, provided us with an exclusive opportunity to interview them and learn some secrets behind Hettich’s success, its futuristic vision and of course the new store experience. 

Could you provide us your insights into what Hettich stands for in terms of its beliefs and design ethos?

Hettich isn’t just a company, it’s a family legacy. For 136 years, across generations, its foundation has remained steadfast, originating from the visionary ambition of my great-grandfather. And today, it is focused on ensuring that this legacy continues for generations to come. The dream is simple yet profound: to build a business that will ideally last forever. 

Andre Eckholt, Managing Director of Hettich India, Middle East, Africa & SAARC; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India

Our interior solutions play a very crucial role in enhancing people’s lives and workspaces. By constantly evolving and adapting to market demands, we strive to make everyday living more efficient and sustainable. One of our core strengths lies in maximising space utilisation. This means that a modest 50 sq mt apartment can feel as spacious and functional as an 80 sq ft one, saving the customer money and resources. While providing a unique brand experience is important, collaboration is key to our success. We work closely with the design and architecture community to address real-world needs. Through these fruitful collaborations, we take pride in maintaining high engineering standards in the development of all in-house products.

As Hettich unveils its next-level Application Centre in Mumbai, what emerging trends do you observe in the Indian market? How do you cater to them? 

One big trend in India is re-urbanisation. With more and more people flocking to major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Meghalaya, space scarcity becomes a pressing concern. Concurrently, the post-COVID digitalisation wave has catalysed a transition towards remote work and lifestyle adjustments.

A discernible trend emerged as people increasingly started gravitating towards rural areas, where spatial constraints pose less of a hindrance. Looking at this multifaceted phenomenon, we recognise the diverse needs that emerge from different regions and demographics. What’s particularly interesting about India is that there is not just one trend dominating the scene. It’s a big country and there are varied design preferences among people residing in bustling cities and serene countryside. Our design solutions are tailored to resonate with them.

Dr. Andreas Hettich, Chairman of the Hettich Group Advisory Board; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India

What sets the Mumbai store apart from the rest of the stores across the country?

At Hettich, we often refer to our robust network of stores as application centres, which are strategically located in all major cities across the country. But I wouldn’t label the Mumbai store as an application centre, rather it is more of an experience centre, designed to immerse visitors in innovative interior solutions.

Beyond showcasing products, it has ample space intentionally designed for events and gatherings. From live cooking demonstrations, interactive workshops, or lively celebrations with our clients, business partners, architects and interior designers, each visit is an opportunity to forge meaningful connections. The space is characterised by sleek red lines adorning the floor that guide visitors through its dynamic layout. This unique blend of functionality and hospitality sets the Mumbai store apart. 

The new Hettich flagship store in Mumbai; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India

Over the years, how have consumer preferences in India changed? And how has Hettich navigated through these changes in the market? 

India’s growth trajectory is undeniable, it is fueled by the growing middle class and strong GDP growth. This economic upswing has led to a shift in consumer behaviour, with an increased willingness and ability to invest in quality products and living standards. Reflecting on the past two decades, the transformation is extreme. What was once a landscape of chaos and limited infrastructure has now rapidly evolved into a modern, organised nation.

In parallel, industries like furniture and kitchens have undergone a revolution too. I would say 95% of the unorganised sector was dominated by small-scale artisans who followed subpar installation practices. Hettich has played a role in this journey, not only by providing wondrous furniture solutions but also in the skill development of over 50,000 carpenters over the years. Our efforts and commitment to driving positive change highlight our dedication to supporting India’s journey towards prosperity and progress.

Inside the Hettich application centre in Mumbai; Photographs courtesy of Hettich India

And the last question is, what’s your vision and where do you see Hettich in the next five years? Globally and in India. 

Beginning with a global perspective, we find ourselves fortunate to operate in an industry experiencing natural growth in terms of people having more household incomes and demand for quality solutions. In regions like Europe, where income levels are stagnant, Hettich’s growth relies on innovation. Here we continually introduce new functionality, enhance designs and improve economics to drive the company’s growth.

By prioritising innovation, we maintain our competitive edge and expand our market presence effectively. Fortunately, 90% of the world’s population is outside Europe and that is good for us. We can capitalise on both natural growth and innovation to ensure consistent expansion for not just 5 years but over the next 20 years, targeting double-digit growth annually. Our focus increasingly shifts towards emerging markets, and India is at the top of this list. We aim to strengthen our position by doubling or tripling our turnover while investing in initiatives that contribute to India’s development. In essence, we have aligned with India’s Make in India concept. 

Hettich deeply understands and addresses global trends and continually introduces novel ideas in furniture lights, cargo wire products, drawer systems, door hardware, shelving solutions and a lot more. The brand has already made a valuable contribution to every furniture environment and will continue working on intelligent multifunctional solutions for the most futuristic consumer experiences.

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