The Self Motivated CEO
Meet Pranjal Agrawal, the 26-year-old multi-faceted second-generation entrepreneur, and the CEO of Hèrmosa Design Studio and sister company Furnmill, that cater to bespoke luxury home decor solutions. Born out of the young and dynamic leader’s passion for originality and the desire to create products for every home, the home decor labels have boldly redefined industry trends. Pranjal’s futuristic vision for solutions and alliances for making the latest in interior design accessible to two-tier markets serves as the driving force for these brands. He also serves as the CEO of the parent company Oriental Power Cables Ltd. and zealously performs his duties as the co-founder of Jiffy Eats, a venture of Emote Foods.
Born and brought up in Kota, a small city in Rajasthan, Pranjal completed his Bachelors’ degree in Banking from Jai Hind College. From the very beginning, Pranjal knew that this is what he was going to do. “There was never a question of confusion or choice,” he affirms.
From childhood, Pranjal saw his parents Rajendra and Aparna Agrawal working, and was exposed to a hardworking and workaholic environment. After his fourth grade, he started accompanying his father to his office during his summer vacations every year. Observing him for hours, young Pranjal learnt the key aspects of the brand and its functioning. He began his entrepreneurial journey with his family group Orilite, a building solutions manufacturing brand, based in his hometown.
Pranjal worked as the project manager at Orilite, a building solutions manufacturing brand, and was gradually promoted to the rank of CEO. Orilite, which was founded in 2011, was not doing very well at that time. That’s when Pranjal decided to convert it into a profitable venture, and sure enough, the brand soon saw a 120 per cent year-on-year growth. In 2016, the father and son launched Orilite Life Spaces, a real estate company, which makes co-living spaces for students in Kota. Currently, it is tied up with 320 residential units in the city.
Life as a Student
A key learning for Pranjal was being the co-President of the Student Council during his college days. Pranjal was an active part of the core committee that would organise an entrepreneurship festival. As a part of this, he would approach multinational companies and pitch ideas for marketing. As a part of this initiative, they took on various social initiatives including a projection for Lenovo at the Air India building in Marine Drive.
After his second year of college in 2015, Pranjal decided to utilise his summer break of three months to launch a short-term social entrepreneurship project of installing toilets under the umbrella of the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. At that time, the government gave a subsidy of Rs 14,000 to anyone building toilets in their home. So, along with the team of his company’s construction block, Pranjal began ideating how to create a toilet in under Rs 14,000—in order to amplify the product’s reach. Not only did they manage to manufacture the product, they also installed more than 3,000 toilets in and around Kota.
Spreading his Wings
Working on Orilite gave Pranjal the confidence to take risks and start early. He was only 19 when he made his dreams a reality by launching his own venture. In 2017, Pranjal and his team founded Hèrmosa Design Studio, a bespoke elevated home décor label that caters to crowds beyond the large metropolitans. Back then, it was a 40,000 square feet workshop which only did panel processing. During the pandemic, Pranjal scaled up the production unit and installed a workshop space of 3 lakh square feet, and also began exporting to the US and UK. The unit has state-of-the-art machines and equipment sourced from various countries across the world. “Modern Rajasthan is revving up and being urbanised at an accelerated pace. People of Jaipur like experimenting with new things, which is what makes it the perfect starting point to tap into the tier two markets,” he points out about Hermosa’s flagship outpost in Jaipur.
In 2021, he launched Furnmill, a smart, modern and functional brand for the domestic market. “The goal was to create products that fulfil the desired functionality as well as appeal to the senses. Our furniture is built for comfort and durability and cracks high quality designs at affordable price points. We choose only the best raw materials to ensure every single piece is as durable as it looks,” says Pranjal. The only furniture brand in India whose entire catalogue is of solid wood, Furnmill has six dealers in Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Raipur, Indore and Jaipur. Within the next 6-8 months, they aim at touching more than 20 dealers. Furnmill has its own e-commerce portal, an engaging digital medium that affords customers an experience akin to a physical shopping spree.
The road to making his dreams a reality is paved with actionable milestones, and tempered with intuitive foresight about the future of the market. Pranjal elaborates, “We are looking to explore augmented reality and artificial intelligence in manufacturing, to make it smart and sustainable.” To that extent, they envisaged their soon-to-be-launched e-commerce portal, an engaging digital medium that will afford customers an experience akin to a physical shopping spree.
Learnings and Inspirations
The dynamic leader has had some crucial learning along the way. One of those is that teamwork—and people—must always be at the heart of whatever one does. He states, “Never chase money. Instead, chase your small goals. That’s what gives satisfaction. Money will follow.” Pranjal believes that this is exactly what makes the Marwari community and culture exclusive from the others—the fact that it’s not just about money or financial numbers, rather about money as well as relationships with people. “It’s about helping one another, irrespective of what their background is,” adds the entrepreneur who is also fond of travel and photography.
Among the biggest inspirations in his journey, his father comes right at the top—as his mentor and guide. Other than that, he counts Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as another inspiring figure, for his ability to solve many of India’s problems in a simple manner and with immense kindness.
He recently got married to Dhruvi Agrawal, a designer from NIFT, and also involved in the running of Furnmill. His sister, Mugdha Bhagchandka, whom he is very close to, is also a passionate and ambitious professional, and works with one of the family’s group companies. She handles one of their food brands called Meal of the Moment.
Pranjal strongly believes that being glocal is the sustainable way to grow. “One needs to be at pace with the world’s latest technology, yet remaining local at heart,” he explains. Needless to say, carpentry that hails from India, particularly Rajasthan, is famous worldwide. Pranjal’s team of local artisans is recruited from various small cities in the state, such as Kota, Churu and Sikar. Every three months, the team is trained on global, new-age power tools, hardware and infrastructure. In other words, they are provided a one-of-a-kind platform that results in a more efficient creativity of their inherent talents. While the design team follows global trends, there is an Indian flavour at its heart.
In light of the pandemic crisis, he undertook several philanthropic activities such as getting a 24X7, 30-bed quarantine centre created in the campus for staff and their families, distributing ration kits and getting people vaccinated. His was also one of the fastest double-vaccinated companies, a feat achieved by organising camps and explaining the benefits of the vaccine to people in the rural areas. He aided the local administration by donating steam cleaners, sanitation equipment, PPE kits, masks and medicines to the government hospitals in Rajasthan, donated 60-70 delivery vehicles to the local administration and arranged meals for the larger community in huge numbers.
Guided by his father’s thoughtful leadership philosophy that prioritises big picture thinking, he was recognised as one of the youngest members of the Entrepreneurs Organisation, Jaipur and CII – Young Indians. That’s Pranjal Agrawal for you, the self-motivated entrepreneur with impeccable leadership skills.