Images Retail - - COVER STORY | FOCUS -

Stel­lar Fur­nish­ings deals in fur­nish­ings (cur­tains & up­hol­stery) and floor­ing along with all re­lated ac­ces­sories like drap­ery rods, bed cov­ers, bed sheets, cush­ion fillers, cush­ion cov­ers, blinds, wall to wall car­pets, de­sign (cen­ter) car­pets, lam­i­nated & hard­wood floor­ing, fur­ni­ture, lamp shades and ex­clu­sive show­pieces in­clud­ing photo frames, can­dle stands, can­dles, ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers, flower vases etc. Ree­shab Agar­wal, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Head, Stel­lar Fur­nish­ing & Schillere Fur­ni­ture Kolkata talks about the franchising jour­ney of the brand. Let’s talk about the chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with franchising in In­dia? The chal­lenge as­so­ci­ated with franchising in In­dia is nepo­tism. In the in­dus­try peo­ple have their favourite brands and the ma­jor chal­lenge lies in the ef­fi­ciency of the franchising com­pa­nies. What makes your brand a fa­vorite with fran­chis­ers - things that you do for re­la­tion­ship and busi­ness build­ing with them? We op­er­ate on the Fran­chise Owned Fran­chisee Op­er­ated (FOFO) ba­sis. We are no stock busi­ness model, so the fran­chis­ers don’t re­quire in­vest­ing in the stock and this makes us pop­u­lar. What­ever the cost they have to ad­here is ma­jorly for mak­ing of the show rooms or buy­ing the sam­ples. Sec­ond thing what we do for them is the store set up part. From ini­tial mak­ing to the fi­nal de­sign­ing of the store, every­thing is done at our end. All the MRPS and the mar­gins are given from us to the fran­chise owner. The ma­jor point that makes us as a brand favourite is in spite of op­er­at­ing on a no stock model we are giv­ing them a mar­gin of around 45 to 50 per­cent on all prod­ucts. As a fran­chise, what do you ex­pect from the fran­chis­ers? We ob­vi­ously ex­pect that they ad­here to our in­vest­ment mod­els. Apart from this, there is one more thing that we stand firm on and that is that we do not want it to be a staff run show. The in­dus­try needs a per­sonal touch and we re­quest fran­chis­ers to run stores them­selves. Per­sonal in­volve­ment is very im­por­tant for us to sur­vive in the tough­est of mar­kets. Based on your ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise, what do you have to say about the un­der­stand­ing of franchising in In­dia, es­pe­cially if you have to com­pare it with the sys­tem seen in Eu­ro­pean or Western coun­tries. We have been in the fran­chise busi­ness for the last three years now and have suc­cess­fully de­liv­ered about four fran­chisees. We are plan­ning to de­velop an­other 10 stores in the next 2 years. We as a com­pany would like to go in for a fam­ily-run busi­ness sys­tem even in the fran­chisee busi­ness. I think stock and ware­house sys­tem in In­dia needs to be im­proved more and there is a vac­uum over there and in com­ing years we would be able to re­move that as well. What ac­cord­ing to you are nu­ances that are typ­i­cal to franchising op­er­a­tions in In­dia? The franchising com­pa­nies in In­dia do not have a very good net­work but I think with new play­ers com­ing, there should be more mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­ity, more op­er­a­tions, more suc­cess­ful ex­hi­bi­tions where fran­chis­ers can have the op­por­tu­nity to have suc­cess­ful con­ver­sions of clients on the spot. There is also a set­back in terms of tech­nol­ogy. With new tech­no­log­i­cal gi­ants com­ing to In­dia,op­er­a­tions would be­come easy in fu­ture. Tell us about the franchising busi­ness of your brand, high­light­ing the key mile­stones that are dear to the com­pany’s jour­ney. The key mile­stones of the com­pany jour­ney is that we suc­cess­fully opened two new stores in Delhi. Cur­rently, we have five stores in Kolkata, two in Delhi and one in Bhubaneswar. We are also for­ay­ing into Sin­ga­pore soon as well as in Bangladesh and some more new mar­kets.

We are in­tro­duc­ing a new brand by the name of Siyaara Fur­nish­ings which would be cater­ing to the most eco­nom­i­cal seg­ment of the mar­ket and we are hope­ful of snar­ing a large mar­ket share in the com­ing years. The other key mile­stones what com­pany aims to have in the near fu­ture is that we are aim­ing to open ap­prox­i­mately 15 stores in the next two years.

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