From Sreejith, With Love
SCALE takes you on a journey of discovery of the life of design curator, owner of DTALE DÉCOR, Sreejith Pathangalil who has a stupendous success story to share. His success story continues with the soon-to-be-launched DTALE MODERN, an online decor curation of contemporary, chic, and functional furniture.
It is difficult to believe that the person you are speaking to is Sreejith Pathangalil, the designer and owner behind Dtale Decor one of the most successful decor showrooms in Kerala. Voice laced with sincerity, as he takes you through his fairy-tale-like success story and tells about his endearing wish to keep his mother happy as his principal goal in life; Sreejith is humble to a fault. His down-to-earth conduct doesn’t give us a clue to his undeniable eye for exceptional designs that are far from ordinary. But one look through the experiential showrooms in Kochi and Thrissur, which is home to contemporary, and one-off crafted furniture pieces and you will have a measure of the talent that is Sreejith’s own. Sreejith’s life is inspirational but then it is his irrefutable love and passion for arts and designs that made him persist at what he is best at.
Fine art student, Sreejith’s entrepreneurial journey started from humble beginnings with Rs5000 as an investment borrowed from his mother to start an art gallery, Galleria Synagogue in Mattancherry in the 90s.
“I maintained the gallery for nearly two years. But that was at a time when people were not aware of art as an investment tool nor was there any support for art as a creative field. I persisted only because of my interest in it,” says this self-made man who wishes to call himself an artist-entrepreneur who moved on from art curation to design curation, all for his love for these mediums.
“I had curated one of the best art exhibitions in the two years that I maintained the Gallery by getting many well-known artists and curating the show with a popular writer. All this was much ahead of the times and that perhaps could be the reason why it did not make monetary success,” says Sreejith.
He would have continued but for the lack of investment, with his only financier, his mother, having to resort to selling her gold necklaces to fund his dreams. Finally, Sreejith moved on to designing interiors which were slowly getting popular at that time. From homes to finally large-scale projects, Sreejith became known for his discerning panache which prompted architects to use his expertise to complete their projects.
“Whatever work was handed to me, I have tried to give it back in value that was at least 10 times the money invested in it through designs and workmanship,” he says.
Fast-forward to now, he employs 400 employees, from designers to convert ideas into drawings and employees in his factories and warehouses spread over an area of 1,60,000 sq. ft, and has won many awards from the Indian Institute of Interior Designers for residences.
As an establishment, Dtale Decor Pvt Ltd, interiors fit-out brand was started in 2000 has executed over 1 million square feet of luxury interior spaces for high-end hospitality and residential spaces. Their roster of clients includes global hospitality majors like The Sheraton, Novotel, Dunes, Samroha, Saptha Hospitality, Holiday Group, Ananda Living Retreat, Gokulam Hotels & Resorts, Corporates, and high-profile individuals and celebrities.
“Our folio of contract assignments includes high-end contract grade furniture involving over 10,000 unique pieces using over 200,000 CFT in wood. Our philosophy of design craft inspires both passion and attention to detail in projects worth 25 crores to a single artifact that would be worth over 1 lakh rupees,” he says.
What would the secret behind this stupendous success, we cannot help but ask?
“Diligence in keeping contacts and following up on requests and associations and then fulfilling it in the best possible way,” says Sreejith, adding that the prayers of his mother and family must have also aided his continued success, for even when the world went through a recession, Sreejith says he has always had an influx of orders and work.
“There have been occasions when the architects have been so happy with my work that they paid us more than the agreed amount and then asked us to help them in their projects abroad and thus we have completed work in Doha, Dubai, and many other Middle East countries.”
Extensive manufacturing infrastructure and trained human resources lay the foundation for the delivery of high-quality products, according to him. “Our manufacturing infrastructure consists of mechanized production facilities at Edayar Industrial area of 1,25,000 sq. ft and a centralised warehouse at Marathakara, Thrissur spread over an area of 35,000 sq. ft,” he explains.
Sreejith’s first outlet of Dtale Decor which is both an art gallery and a furniture boutique was in Kochi where “we invite homemakers to spend hours, to nurture the designer in them. We curate each space according to clients’ requirements”.
The second outlet is in Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala and soon outlets in two Indian cities, Bangalore and Hyderabad will be opened. But all this is just the beginning according to Sreejith, who finally agrees that he is doing “impressively well” though his modest nature says that it is not entirely his doing but the blessings of his mother and the need in the market that has made this success possible.
Dtale Decor is taking another big step into the online retail world with a highly curated, functional, chic, and distinctly Kerala-inspired line, that is being worked on. “We are planning to host an online platform called DTALE MODERN to showcase these handcrafted pieces soon,” he says.
“The market has a lot of international furniture brands, but what is missing is work by Indian artisans who give a unique character to each piece and Dtale Decor fills that void,” says Sreejith who has now over 22 years of experience in the decor industry, working with architects from all over India.
“All architects and designers have the need for designs that are currently not available in our retail markets and hence they resort to buying from the international market which caters to this design-discerning clientele which India has in abundance. I have the facilities and I ask the architects to curate designs that are made in our mechanized factories where we maintain the highest of standards.”
What Sreejith has succeeded in bringing to Kerala and soon to the rest of India is furniture and design solutions that are made-to-order, solutions that are exclusive to your needs to create homes that are truly unique.
“Our showrooms are mostly experiential,” says Sreejith, who can be credited to have bought this unique philosophy of giving unique designs a new contemporary elegance that is in close in comparison to Italian crafted decor that architects from around the world rely on to make their designs come alive, “These showrooms give ideas to explore and dream which are later realised through our facilities.”
And it is this new business venture, which does not sacrifice design or detailing in its pursuit for easy profits, that makes what Sreejith does, exceptional. Of giving respect to creativity and a mind to dream on to greater things, in homes or lives, just like the creator Sreejith does.
Meanwhile, he has fulfilled his wish of buying jewellery his mother and his family of four, dutiful wife and two talented daughters, aspired for and some more.
We cannot help but say, “Touch Wood,” as we wish Sreejith all the best in his latest venture that will revolutionise the online industry of decor.
All Images Courtesy DTALE DECOR