Shreyas Kulkarni

What is Furlenco, an online furniture rental startup, doing in the subscription space? 

A quick chat with Tintu Saleem, its head of brand marketing and creative, to know more about this move.

The COVID pandemic-induced lockdowns proved to be a boon for paid subscriptions. As we were locked inside our homes, we opened ourselves to the digital universe of audio and video streamers, online editions of newspapers and magazines, and tons of newsletters.

Joining the subscription offering brands is Furlenco, a young online furniture rental startup from Bengaluru.

Incorporated in 2019, Furlenco competes with the likes of RentoMojo, CityFurnish, Voko, among others, in the rental furniture market, which, as per RedSeer Consultancy, is worth Rs 33,500 crore.

It is a burgeoning market and we were surprised when Furlenco announced the launch of ‘UNLMTD by Furlenco’, a subscription plan for furniture, on July 15, 2021.

It offers two plans. There is Premium, for which you need to shell out Rs 4,999 every month to subscribe to 15 products. Then there is Elite, under which will have you pay Rs 3,999 every month for nine products. These plans offer you a choice of over 150 products and appliances. As of now, you get a 45-day window to swap furniture you don’t like for a new piece.

The subscription services come from a point of view of “what’s next for people when it comes to how they access furniture,” says Tintu Saleem, Furlenco’s head of brand marketing and creative.

Tintu Saleem
Tintu Saleem

The brand has two types of customers. One, who moves frequently, say, every year. Second, who moves from one city to another every 2-3 years. “Rental is meant for them,” remarks Saleem.

There are also folks who will stay in their homes and may not move for a while. These folks have had the opportunity to scrutinise their homes in the past one-and-a-half years, and wonder how they can make their home as comfortable as possible.

UNLMTD by Furlenco is targeted at such customers, who want to spruce up their homes, but money often becomes a challenge. Buying furniture can cost you “Rs 3-4 lakh, but you will get the same thing you get in the subscription ecosystem for Rs 60,000,” Saleem points out.

Furlenco’s TG remains millennials and Gen Z. But most of them have left the cities for their hometowns and live with their families. We wondered if Furlenco would take the aid of its core TG to reach out to older folks, like their parents.

“Absolutely,” quips Saleem, and went on to remark that the category has a “lot of scope in building reach, awareness and relevance.”

She also mentions that while there was reverse migration happening last year, “people have moved back to the cities and are discussing how life is going to be for a while. So, this is not a stop-gap arrangement.”

We’ve seen Furlenco advertise by insertions in media content from Pocket Aces, TVF and Uber, and major production houses like Red Chillies and Dharma Productions. The latest rage for young startups is influencer marketing, but it does not seem to have lured Furlenco too much.

“We started activities with influencers recently... It comes from the marketing strategy, not only for UNLMTD, but Furlenco, to begin with. And the reason behind it is that you have to join the conversations happening online. That’s the way to build relevance for the category,” reveals Saleem, adding, “… but digital is our bread and butter.”

Furlenco won’t venture into TV, as of now, because all its customers are online.

The subscription service is currently available in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Hyderabad and Chennai.