Laskasas brings you an exclusive interview with Clove Republic studio CEO, Uditha Illeperuma. This is one of the most exclusive lifestyle brands in Sri Lanka and today shares its style and concept with us: “Clove Republic is our dream, an endeavour born out of love and our deep desire to share our talent for bringing ideas to life”.
Exclusive Interview with Clove Republic
Clove Republic turned many heads when they first ventured in to the scene. Affiliated with some of the world’s top luxury brands, Clove Republic relies on delivering the highest level of quality through their unique concepts, in establishing long standing relationships with an elite base of discerning customers.
One may be wrongly led to assume that Uditha’s fine eye for detail is a result of formal education in the discipline, as his learned expertise in applied sciences places him light years away from where his current profession lies. Interior architecture for Uditha has always been a natural extension of his persona.
Clove Republic brings together elegance, comfort, and pleasure. What led you to develop an interior lifestyle concept of this sort?
We wanted to bridge the gap in the interior architecture industry, as companies that are able to develop such high-end concepts were absent in Sri Lanka.
Our credo is to provide complete lifestyle solutions to clients so that they don’t have to go through the pain and hassle of dealing with numerous vendors, or bear the worry of potential inconsistencies in the outcome. The brands and products we carry are all internationally renowned, which is a testament to the high level of quality that we strive for.
How did you spot the market gap when it came to the luxury lifestyle interior space in Colombo?
The idea of a concept interior is still quite new to the Sri Lankan market. Most often the focus is on the property and structure. The interior space is considered last. There is a good balance that needs to be struck when appointing your interior.
Very few people have the capacity to source from abroad and even then, without the right guidance you could end up making regretful investments. These market problems have been around for some time and once the pattern became more and more pronounced, it was evident that there was a clear need for the kind of services we offer; which is luxury lifestyle interior concepts – from retailing individual items to complete conceptualization, and layout staging.
A snapshot of successes and adversities?
As we launched, there was a general market concern in relation to our high prices. But as we continued to engage customers and educate them on what our value proposition was, they soon understood the reasoning behind the cost factor.
From material to logistics, and expert consultation; our operation is one that prioritizes quality above everything else, and great quality obviously comes at a higher cost. But it’s great to see more and more people considering concept-based interiors for their homes. Growth is slow, but I believe that we have done a decent job in opening up market potential.
One problem we continue to face however, is the tendency some market players have in copying and replicating our work. But we are resilient and have a very loyal clientele. So, we are not too worried at the moment but understand the possibility for stiffer competition in the future.
What is the hallmark of Clove Republic?
As a practice and principle, we don’t replicate concepts created by someone else. We work with over twenty-five different vendors around the world; therefore, we are able to provide our clientele with a vast array of choices that are also unique. Like I mentioned earlier, our focus is always quality above everything else. The customer experience as a result is unmatched.
What sets apart your product range from the rest?
To put it across in one word, I would say quality. Clove Republic strives to offer clients something that will stand the test of time.
And when you focus on quality, durability comes into play as well. At the same time, we operate exclusively with high-end brands, that in their own right have decades and sometimes in even centuries of market equity. Bringing all of this together has created a unique positioning few can hope to match.
How does your architectural experience play a role in strategizing?
As a self-taught interior architect, my education is neither in architecture nor interior design. But looking back, I have always dabbled in these two disciplines purely for pleasure.
This recreational form of learning ended up giving me some invaluable hands-on experience; the kind you can’t learn from text books. Additionally, traveling the world and getting exposed to different cultures also helped broaden my understanding of how interiors dynamics differ from culture to culture.
So, when you say strategizing, my though process is that I look at a client’s personality, and draw from an extensive library of ideas I’ve absorbed over the years, and pick something that clearly resonates with that person.
The target market for your offering is a niche one. What is their profile, locally?
We are a luxury brand, and our prices reflect that. But, if someone is willing to, and can afford to spend, then that someone will really be getting their money’s worth. Our clientele enjoy a heightened state of living, experienced through signature concepts and products. Remember, they are not spending on mere pieces of furniture, accessories, or fabric.
They are spending on a lifestyle upgrade that ultimately serves to uplift the state of mind, in creating a space of their liking within their own home. Our target market is basically anyone that really understands and values this concept.
Do you have any plans for international expansion?
We do not have any international branches. As an individual, I am involved in some international projects – functioning in the capacity of an interior architect and product designer, where I undertake the designing and space planning aspects of the project.
At present I actually don’t have an idea of taking Clove Republic international, since running the business locally and my commitments to family take up all of my time. But let’s see what the future holds…
ABOUT CLOVE REPUBLIC
Clove Republic features bespoke furniture and accessories as well as total interior design solutions. From the drawing board to the finished product, everything is carefully chosen.
From fine furniture in an array of styles to accessories, furnishing and bedding to wallpapers even fragrances, Clove Republic has the best from the global luxury brands they represent.
Thank you for the exclusive interview with Clove Republic.