Meet the Mumbai family that built a Rs 25 Cr business by bringing German luxury kitchen brands to India

In 1998, while visiting Japan, Hamendra and Rati Sharma would walk to the train station every day and see a store by Poggenpohl, a leading German kitchen brand.

Captivated by the luxurious designs on display, inspired the couple to start a business that would bring luxury and modular kitchens to India.

The duo made this dream a reality in 1998 by starting SIS Imports in Mumbai, bringing Poggenpohl to the Indian market. In 2015, the business was rebranded to Plusch, and is responsible for introducing several German luxury kitchen, wardrobe and furniture brands to India.

Their daughter Sukriti Sharma, who is a partner at Plusch, tells SMBStory, “Not many people believed in my parents’ dream because no one felt there was a market for luxury kitchens [in India]. But we pioneered the movement and brought brands like Poggenpohl, Eggersmann, and Beckermann for kitchens; Interluebke and Schmalenbach for wardrobes; and COR, Draenert, and Walter Knoll for furniture.”

She claims that Plusch is presently raking in an annual turnover of Rs 25 crore, and has 80 employees across India.

Enduring a difficult start

Originally from Kanpur, both Hamendra and Rati grew up in families that dealt in the manufacturing business. While Hamendra’s father was in the steel business, Rati’s father worked in the plywood industry.

To start SIS Imports, the couple got their initial investment from their families and took up a small kitchen design store in Mumbai on rent, and imported the kitchen displays and appliances for Rs 25 lakh.

At a time when luxury kitchens were almost unheard of in India, it was unsurprising that not everyone took kindly to the business.

“People would enter the showroom in Mumbai and hurl abuse at my parents for selling a kitchen as expensive as a house in the city,” says Sukriti.

The entrepreneurs also faced challenges in getting customs clearances for the imports. Educating potential premium buyers about the feasibility and advantages of using a luxury modular kitchen made in Germany was an uphill battle as well.

As a result, it took the business six months to make its first sale. Since then, there has been no looking back as word-of-mouth brought more customers to their doorstep, helping them grow.

family business

Hamendra Sharma (left), Sukriti Sharma (centre) and Rati Sharma (right)

Joining the family business

Sukriti became involved in the business when she was just 18-years-old.

“I was studying at King’s College in London, where I interned with Poggenpohl. During my summer holidays, I would work with my parents and assist in training employees on the shop floor,” she says.

After her graduation, she came back to India to formally join the business. Setting up a showroom in Hyderabad, she spearheaded the rebranding of the organisation from SIS Imports to Plusch.

According to her, rebranding the business to a German-sounding name complemented its drive to bring more German brands to India.

“Our clients were happy with the product quality of the luxury kitchens and started requesting us

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Juventus Cleaning House, Terminating German International

KEY POINTS

  • Khedira likely to leave Juventus
  • Juventus trying to curb down wage expenses
  • Khedira not short of suitors despite his injury history

Juventus FC is tightening its belts and it appears some players will be let go. One of them is said to be Sami Khedira who played in only 18 games last season. The 33-year-old went through a struggling season filled with injuries and it appears his time is up over at Allianz Stadium.

According to Goal, Khedira is no longer in the plans of new head coach Andrea Pirlo moving forward. With Juve out to cut their wage commitments, the German international was singled out as one of the likely casualties. Another name mentioned is Gonzalo Higuain although the Napoli striker is set to make the switch from MLS to Inter Miami.

As for Khedira, he will have his work cut out for him. He is coming off surgery last December for his knee, played but ended up with a tear in his adductor muscle. It has been a struggle from there but this episode could make it hard for other clubs to consider him.

If Khedira does go out, it would save Juventus roughly $7 million in terms of annual salary. It would also give Pirlo some leeway with new faces in the mix. Among the new players coming in include Weston McKennie, Arthur, Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey.

There is no lack of interest for Khedira if ever he is let go. But one thing he is unlikely to want is to move to a less competitive league.

As for McKennie, it is a dream come true to join Juventus. He is everything a modern eight needs to be although he has a lot of room for growth. David Muller of the Wasserman Group agency shared some thoughts on the switch of McKennie from Schalke to Juventus via the club’s official site.

“Weston loves this experience, day after day he shows more and more enthusiasm. It is a dream come true. He has always been a player who likes competition and challenges, we are sure he will become a better player in this environment. So far the club has been fantastic in the support they’ve showed. We are very happy,” Muller said.

Sami Khedira Sami Khedira’s services are set to be required at Real Madrid for the remainder of the season, ending the possibility of him landing at Arsenal in January. Photo: Reuters

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