UAE to UK: Dubai-based Veloche expands
The UAE has given interior fit-out firm Veloche, founded by Debanjali Kamstra, a platform to expand to the UK and globally
Dubai-based Veloche Contracting and Technical Services LLC has been a key player in the industry for the past 10 years with approximately 1,200 projects,
growing every day with its highly motivated crew of more than 100 employees. But what sets them apart amongst Dubai’s interior fit-out players is how easy its journey towards global expansion was. With Veloche’s new operations in London, UK, last year, it has entered the global arena of interior fit-out and exhibitions.
Debanjali Kamstra, managing director of Veloche, started the company in 2012 and its multiple interior fit-out projects with UAE Government bodies and projects. At Veloche, a good relationship is integral to the success of a project, so spending time building a rapport and understanding the client is key. As with any relationship, a clear line of communication is essential, and this is maintained throughout, whether sharing positive updates or realistic news. This also helps with negotiations as the client will trust that Veloche’s choices are for their benefit. “I have worked with many of my clients in Dubai multiple times and I truly believe that valuing these relationships is as important as the projects themselves. There is no rule that hard work, excellent and efficient designs can’t be presented with warmth. People like passionate people,” says Kamstra.
“Sometimes, clients aren’t too sure about what they want the finished product to look like. As an interior fit-out company, it’s our job to help guide them through the creative process. The best way to avoid any confusion further down the line is to establish a really clear brief from the offset so that everyone is on the same page. Creating a mood board also really helps to communicate your interpretation of what the client is asking for visually — that really helps in Dubai,” she added.
People are attracted to companies who are passionate about their niche, prepared to take risks with them. It is about taking the client on a journey; some clients are so disconnected from the creative world that whatever companies introduce them to, whether veneered, laminated or polyurethane (PU) paint finish, that will be eye-popping for them —is sometimes equally terrifying. The learning curve never ends, so companies must communicate what works best in their clients’ budgets.
E-commerce has also gradually entered into the interior design industry. For many years, people have been looking for interior design ideas as a whole without any cost. However, globally, people are willing to pay for designs, and human interaction is required for interior fit-outs as it is not easy to give an approximation through virtual site visits. This trend of paying for design is also entering the region, slowly but significantly making a difference and starting a new trend as customers are more serious with what they want once they pay for it.
The interior fit-out industry is constantly evolving as a result of social, technological and fashion trends. Within the design industries, everything is linked, from fashion to interiors. According to Kamstra, colours are becoming much darker and dramatic both in interior design and in fashion, while some people on the other hand like lighter colours. Wider societal trends have a huge impact on interior fit-outs’ day-to-day work. For example, Instagram has started to influence how commercial projects are designed, especially within the hospitality industry where it’s become increasingly important to have spaces that are ‘instagrammable’. Technology is also a massive factor within the commercial space in the UAE, with the general trend towards smart offices altering how people navigate their spaces and how interior fit-out companies design them.
Kamstra stresses that it is important to never underestimate how much time it will take to develop a design, particularly the technical Computer-aided design (CAD) drawing pack side and contractor specifications. One needs to be careful to have specialist trades, such as plumbers and electricians, sense check all of the design drawings from a practical and compliance perspective. Equally important is double/triple-checking heights of furniture when sourcing for projects, such as the seat heights of sofas and armchairs next to coffee tables. And lastly, to spend time checking the suitability of products and materials when specifying them — this includes the durability of work
surfaces, textiles rub, upholstery and fire ratings. Exhibitors/clients have different kinds of demands especially the ones with last-minute stall installation requests have been quite plenty in the business but that is slowly changing.
Primarily Veloche’s design and project management sector is expanding to London, UK. Kamstra looks forward to having a full-fledged production facility in London operational by 2024. It has already ventured into Turkey and caters to customers in Europe.
Kamstra sheds light on why Veloche chose the UK, “Design is a luxury product and interior design is a thread in the overall tapestry that is the UK economy: connecting thousands of designers, contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, raw materials suppliers, workshops, weavers and mills, tradesmen and more employed directly and indirectly. There is a clear ‘exist’ strategy aimed at getting all businesses back to work. As they say, ‘if you are a milliner, making hats is essential work’. So, the UK is the best place to begin expansion right now. We want to give a new flavour to the UK design market.”
With the steady growth in the demand for real estate over the years, the interior turnkey solution market has witnessed a progressive trend in the sector. As commercial space demand surges, the sector is expected to witness a tremendous opportunity to leverage soon. Along with commercial spaces, the residential sector is also expected to adapt to this new concept of integrated solutions. Besides redesigning commercial spaces’ blueprints to include creative spaces, the residential segment has also seen an increase in technology-led designs, using simple ergonomics to define the comfort in living.
Using customer insights and future projections inform Veloche’s growth plan for the next decade. “As part of our growth plan, we have evaluated our project performance and we see that our team needs expansion to meet our growth targets. Veloche believes every learning is good learning and your critics are always your best friends, who help you to get better,” states Kamstra.
With global partnerships and new opportunities paving way for Veloche, it is no doubt that its focus has taken them to this global expansion.
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