If you happen to pass through Dr P Shivgaonkar Road located in one of the lanes between 18 June Road and Menezes Braganza Road, there’s a store called ‘Ismail Electrical Enterprises’ that is quite intriguing. After dusk, this modest-looking shop comes to life with its brightly lit lamps that adorn the walls and ceilings.
Step inside and there is a variety of decorative lights that one can choose from – gate lamps, garden lights, pole lights, wall brackets, chandeliers, light hangings, you name it. But what’s more interesting is its history.
“There were hardly any shops when the shop was started in 1989 by my father Ismail Khan. Later many people entered the market. We are one of the oldest stores to start selling decorative lighting,” says proprietor Afzal Khan.
He says that the store first started selling electrical items, while decorative lights were introduced later. “Although we didn’t focus much on decorative lights initially, we had a variety of items that were only Indian made products. However, today we exclusively deal in decorative lights only and all most of our products are imported,” says Afzal.
Demand for decorative lighting, says Afzal, is mostly from customers who are building their own residential houses. “Usually people who have the money will come and buy such products, however, budget-conscious tend to use up all their money after building their homes and therefore don’t have anything left to spend later. There is a perception among people that these items are not a compulsion for their homes and therefore tend to go with simple lighting solutions like tube lights,” says Afzal.
According to him, the decorative lighting business is good. The market for such products is growing and will expand in the coming years, he says. Sales are from direct walk-ins with Christmas and Diwali usually being a peak time for him, he points out, while the monsoon season is a slack period.
When queried about competition, Afzal is unfazed. “Everyone is playing their own game at their own level. We are not affected by our competitors as we have our own repeat customers.”
Depending on the product, the prices can range from Rs 8,000 – 10,000. Rising Import duty tends to push up prices of such products occasionally, he adds.
“While choosing items in both exterior as well as interior categories, customers look for new patterns and designs that normally tend to change every 2-3 years. The current trend is LED lights. These are expensive compared to CFLs and incandescent bulbs, but I am sure people will start buying LED products in the near future,” he concludes.