Inside Franchise Business - - Contents -

In this new con­cept, stor­age is king.

In a new con­cept for the fur­ni­ture seg­ment and fran­chis­ing, stor­age is king - by­pass­ing ware­houses full

of stock with data stored in the cloud.

Af­ter 15 years of trad­ing, Vast Fur­ni­ture & Home­wares has come up with a new ap­proach to run­ning the busi­ness which founder Ross Clay­ton be­lieves will shake up the fur­ni­ture re­tail scene.

It took more than four years to shape and test his con­cept, which three com­pany stores are now us­ing, and he is ready to roll it out for new fran­chise stores. His present 22 fran­chisees have been given the op­tion to adopt the new model, and Clay­ton says the costs of im­ple­men­ta­tion will be coun­tered by a drop in on­go­ing stor­age costs.

The brand spe­cialises in ver­sa­tile, be­spoke fur­ni­ture rang­ing from ta­bles and bed­room fur­ni­ture made from dis­used ship­ping tim­ber, to ve­gan leather so­fas. Tra­di­tion­ally the mar­ket has been the 35 years and older de­mo­graphic, but with an ac­tive so­cial-me­dia pres­ence the brand is at­tract­ing a younger crowd.

Clay­ton says mil­len­ni­als are also be­ing drawn to the busi­ness be­cause of its ar­ti­san, hand-made ethos. “We’re about sus­tain­able hard woods with a hip­ster vibe,” he says.

So what has changed? It’s all about greater ef­fi­cien­cies.


His fran­chise model is based in the cloud: a sys­tem that can store all in­ven­tory in­for­ma­tion cen­trally and or­gan­ise di­rect de­liv­ery from man­u­fac­turer to cus­tomer, by­pass­ing ware­house over­heads. In­stead of fran­chisees hav­ing to build their own sys­tem from scratch or be ex­pert im­porters or ex­porters, each busi­ness has in­stant ac­cess to the en­tire range of sup­pli­ers.

“One of the big­gest chal­lenges for fur­ni­ture re­tail­ers is the lo­gis­tics of bulky goods,” says Clay­ton. “It’s an in­cred­i­bly com­pet­i­tive seg­ment, and ware­hous­ing costs are in­creas­ing.”

He be­lieves his ini­tia­tive to re­move a layer in the sup­ply chain makes it eas­ier and more cost ef­fec­tive for fran­chisees. Al­ready, de­liv­ery times have been cut by 80 per cent, plus he says over­heads are down 70 per cent on the tra­di­tional in­dus­try model.

“I have been in the in­dus­try for many years and one day sim­ply ques­tioned why we spend so much money on stor­age, wast­ing time in terms of de­liv­ery and lim­it­ing our over­all re­sults. I knew there had to be a bet­ter way.”


“We’re aim­ing to open 20 fran­chises across Aus­tralia over the next two years,” says Clay­ton, who is look­ing for peo­ple with pas­sion, great cus­tomer ser­vice, a happy per­son­al­ity and a youth­ful at­ti­tude.

It costs an av­er­age of $150,000 to buy a store in an exclusive ter­ri­tory. Set-up and stock will cost about $200,000.

There are also plans to take the brand over­seas, ex­pand­ing from its sin­gle store in N ew Z ealand a nd b reak­ing i nto t he Asian, UK and US mar­kets.

“Pre­vi­ously we needed some­one who was a born cre­ative busi­ness whizz or a cashed-up ge­nius to make their fran­chise a suc­cess. Now any­one who wants to be in­volved in the fran­chise busi­ness can be set up for suc­cess with this model,” says Clay­ton.

“We b elieve t he f uture l ies i n b eing more ef­fi­cient, pro­duc­tive and cost ef­fec­tive, and by pro­vid­ing a fran­chise model that ticks all these boxes we of­fer in­vestors a very real chance of keep­ing our in­dus­try alive right here in Aus­tralia.”

Any­one who wants to be in­volved in the fran­chise busi­ness can be set up for suc­cess

with this model.

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