Jodhpur firm Priti turns junk into tables, chairs, wine racks
Does an old military truck or a dismantled part of an old car or a broken bicycle have any place in a restaurant or a lounge bar where one would go to enjoy food or wine? Shouldn’t these things belong to the junkyard and stay there?
No, if you ask 44-year-old Ritesh Lohia. You give him junk and chances are high that he would turn it into a piece of furniture that attracts attention due to its unorthodox design. That his creations are already exported to nearly 40 countries only corroborates that there is indeed a demand for his furniture that originates from junk.
Mr. Lohia is one of the promoters of Priti International, which he started along with his wife Priti Lohia, after whom the company is named. Since starting the recycling business around 2010, the husband-wife duo has transformed parts of old trucks, cars, bicycles and various machines into dining and coffee tables, bar stools and chairs, lamp shades and cabinets among other things.
“We started the company in 2005 for making furniture and handicraft items but hit upon the idea of recycling only around 2010-11. Since then, the business has taken a strong positive turn. There is a lot of demand for the things we make,” he said.
The firm exports to about 40 countries and boasts of a regular clientèle numbering more than 50. “We have a customer in the U.S. who has around 200 stores there. In Europe, we export a lot of furniture for bars and cafes. We even export to Asian countries, including China, where we also have a warehouse,” said Mr. Lohia who, before starting his furniture venture, dabbled in chemicals and stone-cutting businesses but fared poorly.
The couple struck gold in their own junkyard while figuring out what can be done with the waste that their factories generated. What started as an in-house recycling project quickly transformed into full-scale recycling that now contributes to almost 70% of their production.
“We had an advantage in terms of location. Jodhpur has a big defence installation and a military auction house. We started purchasing old trucks and machines that were being auctioned there,” said Mr. Lohia.
Priti International has to its credit many unique products such as wine racks made from tractor parts, bar counters made from parts of trucks, autos and scooters, bar chairs made from industrial iron and pipes, sofas made of car parts, industrial leather and old saris, wall shelves and cabinets, again from industrial iron.
While diversifying into textile products, the firm has started making cushions, pillows, aprons and bar accessories such as bottle bags and coasters of cloth and leather. “In the U.S. and Europe, people look at furniture also as investment and are ready to pay a premium.
“That trend is slowly picking up in India; we plan to make furniture from sesham, mango and acacia woods for the domestic market,” said Mr. Lohia.