On the occasion of entry of Sixinch Design in India, Co-Founder Michel Sels talks about the journey of the company which is now a global leader of foam-coated furniture
Their designs are synonymous to panache and never-ending creativity and are just as unique as their name—Sixinch Design. The brand is brought as Sixinch India to the country by franchise owner Namrata Seth and Gagan Deep Bhatia. The name ‘Sixinch’ originates from the distance between our ears. The company Sixinch Design is globally known for creating, designing and manufacturing high-end foam coated furniture and architectural products.
Talking about the journey of the brand, Michel Sels says, “The company is the brain child of both me and my partner Pieter Jamart. We were working and experimenting with this new innovative material, and decided to team up since the current suppliers 15 years ago were not able to match the quality level we needed. If nobody can do it we decided to do it ourselves. It was an innovative idea that if improved upon could serve many purposes. It has been many years of handwork, lots of research and development towards the entire technology and process to make this product stand where it does today.”
The company started almost 15 years ago, when the two partners met. “I was looking for an interior architect and during his solicitation we spoke about coating and the mutual interest lead to the making of Sixinch,” Sels reminisces.
Like any other successful business, Sixinch too had its initial hiccups. Talking about the challenges, Sels says that getting the quality of the product to the standards of the target group, which comprised leading architects and designers, was the challenge. “The product will sell only if we prove that the quality is superior, so we had to do a lot of research towards the correct formulation of chemicals and sourcing the required machinery, which was a difficult task.”
For the first few years the company focused on keeping afloat and for that all they needed was an attractive website. “Initially it was only a struggle to survive because we were working on a product which was new and unheard of. However, in second phase marketing was included in the list of required business strategies and we started simultaneously with local productions and collaboration with international partners.
The brand has a wide range of products to offer. Right from a seat that becomes a piece of art to wall coverings, or ceilings for acoustic and landscape furniture. Whatever an architect or designer wants or envisages, the brand provides that.
Much delighted to share the success story of the brand, Sels says that the response was fantastic from both domestic and international markets. Designers were happy that they got something new and fun to work with. The technology also gives them freedom to design a space without any compromise in quality.
Commenting on the technology and material, he says, “It depends on the type of coating, however, generally speaking, the main part is 2d or 3d cut out of foam on which we use a multiple layer coating system that combines several chemicals into one.”
Pieter Jamart curates the collection for the brand, however the core business is ‘foam coating’ for which a special process is developed. Apart from having their collection, the brand also focuses on customization of projects. The control over production process offers infinite possibilities to the target group. “In order to have an international flavour we work young upcoming design talents from all over the world. One of our co-workers, Rainer Mutsch has brought us several successful products,” shares she.
When asked the expansion strategy and brand awareness in Indian market, he says that the company has big plans but they are at a nascent stage in the country. Elaborating the same he says, “Our main focus is to find quality raw material in New Delhi. We have to see what kinds of foams are locally available and how to fine-tune them to match our standards. Apart from business, we also want to spread awareness about the brand and technology through exhibitions, personal visits, workshops. We have already worked with a few good companies to start with.”
One of the things on to-do list of the company is to find a good local designer who can help them create and curate a collection that reflects Indian culture. Sels was confident that Namrata Seth and Gagan Deep Bhatia will take care of that aspect.
A long and a hard journey of Sixinch Design was full of big and small accidents some trials and error and some successful moments. “I firmly believe that success is built on the base of failures and we are an example of this,” he signs off.